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.
This is the sky we woke up to this morning.
The sun was a big red ball through the smoke.
This was the view from Anderson on Monday afternoon soon after it started.
This is the same view today.
When it broke out it was big enough to create it’s own weather. Huge cumulus clouds formed over the smoke column.
A lone airtanker heads toward the fire on Monday. The planes have been grounded for the last two days for lack of visibility.
Conditions on the fire improved enough for the airtankers to get back into the fight this afternoon.
Updated hot spot map Thursday afternoon.
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.
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 recommendOh No! Baby-O. Written and illustrated by Mary A Livingston.
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.
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 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!”
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.
Nice looking birds.
He seems to have staked a claim here.
I keep waiting for them to gather sticks, but the haven’t. I not convinced their serious about nesting here.
These are all osprey pictures from previous years.
The osprey have inspired art from yours truly.
This has been an osprey nest literally for decades.
It’s a prime location for fishing birds with its grand overlook of the Sacramento river.
It hasn’t been without struggle. last season it rained so much the nest grew a garden before the birds arrived. They had to weed it.
When the summer heat get over about 106 the parents shade the chicks.
Two years ago the male osprey was struck be a helicopter blade and died. he was trying to defend the nest from the helicopter that was inspecting the tower.
The osprey have raised many generations.
The osprey probably won’t be too happy with the new residents.
Stay tuned to see how this turns out.
Below are a few of the osprey posts over the years.
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.
The late afternoon sun filtering through the smoke in the Trinities.
Looking north toward Billys Peak across the old dredge tailings along the Trinity River.
Smoke tinted sunlight and trees reflect on an old dredge pond.
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.