Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer of '12

We've had our ups and downs this summer. Around July 4, east Tennessee was dry but not quite as dry as rest of the country. Come the day of celebration, we almost had rain that night.

We're lucky. No two ways about it. It rains in the mountains and we get the benefit. I saw a drought map on which the general western Virginia / Blue Ridge region was getting plenty of water with this little tongue of rainy area that dropped down along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. That's us!

Our rain gauges went from negative three inches to positive three inches during the month of July. We had a new record for precipitation.  A few years ago, the southeast was really dry. We visited Lake Monroe in South Carolina in October that year, and the lake was so shallow the excursion boat was docked for the season.

The birding has been mostly around the house and Johnson City. Lots of very regular sightings. I did have, finally, a screech owl in July. I don't know if they've been hiding or what. We had Spring count, of course, got my first view of Whip-poor-will and then a Barred owl set down on the road at about 4:30 in the morning.

The whip-chuck count went behind schedule because we had too much rain. It's one of those adventures where you get lots of calls early on and then nothing for hours. One of our search areas is on Buck Mountain and Long Pond Mountain which is so very far off the map.