December 15 – Dog Decreases Darkness

Not really – no matter how much fun it is to play with Caster, our new dog, nothing can change the fact that today there were exactly 5.5 hours between sunrise and sunset. But the fun and demands associated with a new dog can certainly make one forget how dark it is most of the time. Caster has taken up much of my time lately – watching him, walking him, playing with him (he is VERY playful), trying to keep him from lunging at the backyard Mallards, saying “no” to him as he thinks of new things to chew or do that we don’t find acceptable, and repeat. He is settling in to our lives though, the pluses usually outweighing the minuses.

Birdwise, things have been slow. The weather has been breaking high temperature records, most snow in our yard and much of it on the mountains melted and then was covered by only a thin layer yesterday (though more is forecast). Many days have been cloudy but the sun does appear every now and then.

The woodpeckers are infrequent at the suet and also at seeds, and the Pine Grosbeaks have been rare. The chickadees, magpies and jays are regular but less common than in colder weather.

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Of course, the Mallards are very regular, no matter what the weather. As I drive around our neighborhood, it appears that the ducks are also spending time in the yards of a number of our neighbors.

Tomorrow is the Anchorage Christmas Bird Count. Hopefully there will be birds somewhere.

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