A Light Snow and the Pleasures of Home
January 23, 2016
Severe weather and rainstorms blowing into Atlanta had led to the closing of Georgia State University at noon yesterday in view of approaching freezing precipitation. Rod went in to GSU for an 8am lab for the Physics of Music and Speech course. He is trying to judge how to help with the transition to Ben McGimsey teaching the course without getting in the way. He has taught this course on musical acoustics for 45 years after taking it over from Brant Jenkins in 1970 and completely restructuring it. In that long period the computer revolution has happened and the course text for the past several years has been the HyperPhysics DVD which mirrors the website. The content on sound and acoustics in HyperPhysics is now considerably more thorough than any of the textbooks marketed for such courses, and of course with it packaged with their lab material they get the text and lab material for a quarter of what they would pay for a textbook. The last textbook used for the course cost about $110 and has gone up considerably since. After the lab he went to swim in the newly reopened pool, getting in a swim just before the closing of the University. After lunch with Howard Deutsch he headed for home to make sure he didn't get caught in a major snowjam like that one in 2014.
Late last night we started seeing snowflakes on the monitor cameras, but at breakfast time there was little accumulation. By 9am this shot of the back yard shows enough snow to outline the paths the girls had raked in the back yard leaves.
As the snow continues to fall, the finches collect at their favorite feeder in the side yard.
I was pleased that I had gotten out to fill all the bird feeders yesterday afternoon in anticipation that we might get snow. At this time there were probably 30 birds on our side yard feeders. Dark-winged juncos hopped around in the snow.
As the snow begins to stick on the back yard, we have a collection of sparrows, cardinals and juncos at the back yard feeders.
Just yesterday, we were talking about the fact that we hadn't seen any juncos this winter. So there they were this morning, and Brenda commented "they were just waiting for the snow". It indeed has been true that during the snows of previous years is when we have seen the most of them.
For the normally ground-feeding cardinals, our little platform feeder is their favorite.
By 10am the gentle snowfall had covered most of the back yard. Sometimes there were gusts of wind that blew the snow off the roof and made a dramatic display.
This cardinal blessed us with a visit to the butterfly plant just outside our window while we were sitting having coffee and watching the celebration of the birds outside.
When we get views of the cardinals like this, I feel well-compensated for my efforts in keeping feed out for them.
The sun came out and the snow started melting. The bird activity continued to be high. The favorite feeder for the finches was covered up with what I call the "finch mob", with red, brown and even a couple of goldfinches. At right are a couple of juncos of the lighter gray variety.
The juncoes are quiet, pleasant little birds that almost invariably feed on the ground.
Having not seen a junco this year, I was delighted to get this close view of one of the dark variety of juncoes.