Apocalyptic Sky … Carr Fire

This morning the sky had an apocalyptic pall over it. Colors were shifted from the smoke filtered light. Ash had fallen on our property. Now our home isn’t close to the fire. We aren’t in any danger. Most of our friends are much closer. Many have had to evacuate. With Google Earth I was able to determine that we were 22 miles from the fire as the crow flies. That’s how far the ash had traveled.

Based on latest hot spot map the fire may have spread south of Highway 299 near Redding. This is a terrible development. Hopefully the firefighters can stop the spread. Fortunately, it didn’t reach the forecast high of 113 today. It just made it to 111. Nevernind, I just found out it did reach 113.

Wild Wednesday … Opossum!

It’s been a quiet week around the osprey nest. They’re hunkered down and sitting on the eggs. It’s a good week to share another one of our locals. I ran into this youngster out behind the log decks. I can never guess what animals I may bump into around the mill. Wildlife will exploit habitat wherever they find it.

 

If you like opossums and you want a great children’s book about an opossum I highly recommend Oh No! Baby-O. Written and illustrated by Mary A Livingston.

 

Wild Wednesday … Osprey Nest Update

On Monday morning an osprey returned!

Osprey

He came with no fireworks, no fanfare and no eagles.

The week prior the eagles were notably absent and the osprey hadn’t arrived. Last Monday when he did arrive the eagles had been gone for a week. They must have a nest elsewhere and were using the osprey nest as a private getaway. You can see the eagles here.

Now that he has arrived his vigil begins. The female is fashionably late every year. More osprey news to follow when she hits town.

Wild Wednesday … Wood Rat’s Nest

Bliss and I were out marking trees a few weeks ago when we came upon several wood rats nests. They build these large stick pile akin to a beaver lodge on land. They are very industrious creatures. They are also an important prey species for forest predators.

Bliss, wood rat nest

Bliss was very impressed with this massive collection of sticks. So impressed that she claimed it for herself. Sadly for her it wasn’t going to fit in my vest and she could only carry one stick at a time.

This clever rat built its nest in the trees. No sticks for Bliss from this one.

Bliss found a deer skull under the nest. “No Bliss it’s not a rat skull and no you can’t eat it!”

Wild Wednesday … Eagles Nest?

This is week that the osprey customarily return to their nest in the electrical tower at the sawmill. I haven’t seen them yet. Usually the male shows up a week or two before the female. This year they will be in for a bit of a surprise. A little over a month ago a pair of eagles moved in. I’m not sure how this will go, but the eagle are a lot bigger than the osprey. I’d have to put my money on the eagles. Click on the gallery to enlarge to photos and get the dirt.

Below are a few of the osprey posts over the years.

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/948

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1056

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1090

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1703

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/2659

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/4017

 

Where There’s Smoke

I was in the Trinities this week and there was thick smoke everywhere. It’s burning season in Northern California. We had quite a lot of rain in late November. I assumed that some agency was doing a large burn project. However, I couldn’t see where the smoke was coming from. It appeared to be drift smoke.

During my drive down from the mountains I heard a news report. They reported that smoke from the Thomas Fire was drifting up the coast. I checked Google Earth that evening and the smoke had drifted nearly 500 miles from the Thomas Fire in Southern California to north of Redding. The residue of so many homes and so much wildland was adrift in this smoke.

wildfire, forestry, smoke, Thomas Fire

The late afternoon sun filtering through the smoke in the Trinities.

Billys Peak, Trinity River, smoke, wildfire, Thomas Fire,

Looking north toward Billys Peak across the old dredge tailings along the Trinity River.

 

reflection, forest, sun, smoke

Smoke tinted sunlight and trees reflect on an old dredge pond.

Wild Wednesday … Birds Around the Mill

I started this post last June, but never finished it. Better late that never. Here are just a few pictures of our birds that make their home at the Mill. It defies conventional wisdom that so much wildlife makes it home at an industrial complex and thrives. It’s all about the habitat.

wood ducks, ducks, birds, wildlife, nature, photography, sawmill

Wood Ducks.

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Osprey

wild turkey, turkey, hen, birds, wildlife, nature, photography, sawmill

Wild Turkey Hen

killdeer, birds, wildlife, nature, photography, sawmill

Killdeer

great blue heron, heron, birds, wildlife, photography, nature, sawmill

Great Blue Heron

black pheobe, pheobe, birds, wildlife, nature, photography, sawmill

Black Pheobe

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Cattle Egret

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Blackbirds on a pole stack.