This past Monday, I had planned on getting a few things done around the house and catching up on some work but Mother Nature had other plans for the day. The Weather Channel had a wind warning for the whole day, so we knew that there was a pretty good chance we would be losing power. This was our second wind storm this month and all we could do was keep our fingers crossed that we wouldn’t be without electricity for days on end. A large eastern white pine had taken down the power lines up the road from us during the last windstorm earlier in the month and we were without power for two and half days. It had also been raining on and off this past weekend and I was sure that it wouldn’t take much wind for the trees to become uprooted and coming down throughout the state. The wind started sometime during the early hours of the morning and blowing just hard enough to keep me alert and waiting for our dreaded fate.
Later that morning, we knew it wouldn’t be safe enough to go for our daily walk in the woods, so we stayed in the backyard away from the trees. After walking around for a while and two powerful gusts of wind later, I went back into the house where I discovered we had indeed lost power. Being we are no strangers to this routine, we knew the power would at least be out for a day or so. It had been reported that wind gusts reached up to 50mph in some parts of the state and the storm had caused significant tree damage and hazardous conditions. Thousands of Mainers were without power through most of the day and into the next day as well.
A short video of some of the less dramatic wind gusts of the day.
With my change of plans and nothing else to do in the house, I went back outside with my camera. Although the clouds rolling in had brought a few falling snowflakes and the gusts of wind at times were quite powerful, it turned out to be a beautiful day. The temperatures were somewhere in the thirties and the sun decided to make an appearance for the rest of the day. With the whole day to spend outside in the yard, I figured I would be able to spot a bird or two. Now is a perfect time for bird watching during spring migration.
A few brave souls were out and about and on the plus side, if I had been stuck in the house, I would have missed the chance at seeing and photographing these beautiful birds. These two species of birds will be heading farther north for the breeding season.
I haven’t seen any American tree sparrows (Spizella arborea) this past winter and I spotted this one perching in one of our apple trees.
Although I have seen a couple of common redpolls (Acanthis flammea) over the winter, on this particular day, I had a whole flock visiting the backyard. They enjoyed the afternoon feeding on black sunflower seeds, suet, and nyjer at my feeders. I enjoyed getting the chance to finally photograph them and I haven’t seen them again since.
The dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) will most likely stay in the area for the rest of the spring until they head up north to breed as well.
Song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are resident to medium-distance migrants and will stay here in the area to breed.
Even though some of my black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) will be here in the area, there will be fewer of them at my feeders. They tend to stay in the woods and I can look forward to seeing their return in the early fall with their young.
The following day, we were able to get back out in the woods, and surprisingly enough, we discovered there were very few fallen trees and branches on the ground. I suppose what would have come down this time and already fallen during the previous storm. Toward the end of our walk and to no surprise after all of that wind, we found that an eastern pine tree had fallen in one of the trails. We weren’t too surprised as many of our trees have come down over the past few months. I suppose this is just the way things go in nature.
This time, our loss of power was due to another fallen eastern white pine up the road, but this time it was just a leaning tree on the power lines. I suppose this all just comes with the territory. They don’t call Maine the Pine Tree State for nothing; over 80% of the state’s total land is forested or unclaimed, the most forest cover of any state in the U.S. Now that is a lot of trees!
Thankfully, our power was restored around ten in the morning the next day. Another cold front along with more wind and a significant amount of rain is moving in for this April Fool’s Day and hopefully, Mother Nature will spare us from her wonderful sense of humor and keep the wind to a minimum this time around. It would also be nice if we didn’t lose power once again anytime soon. If we do end up losing power, though, at least I have my camera and the beauty of nature to keep me captivated.