Sunday, October 3, 2010

Is It Fall Yet?

Couple of days ago the temps were in the 90's.  Still in the 80's today.  Record warm low temps in the mornings.  Terrance spends some time digging out his burrow, the one he's used the last 3 years for hibernation, but he wanders off sometimes. He's stopped feeding, so maybe he's just thermoregulating.  Clearly, it's day length, not temperature, that drives him under ground.  All that said, he's a healthy 174 g. 

Meanwhile, the Hibiscus is still blooming, hummers still humming, and plenty of bumble bees.  Just no honey bees in sight.  And the little "sweat bees" are nowhere to be seen either.  Even the wasps are weak.  I'm guessing CCD is taking its toll.  Bummer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Late Summer Weight

Terrance has been pretty easy to track this summer.  He most commonly spends each night in one of his favorite burrows:  at the west end of the Vinca, under the Fescue in the Hidden Garden, or behind the rosemary in the Bodhisattva Garden. 

Because of that, I've gotten another good series of data on his weight.  Most recently he clocked in at 384 g (13.48 oz), just a gram short of his all-time heaviest. 

Sometime within the next month, as Terrance prepares for hibernation, he'll stop eating and clean out his alimentary canal.  There's always a weight drop associated with that, but it's necessary if he's to avoid fermenting all winter long. 

Although the above graph shows fairly little variation in weight due to the y-axis scale, the version below amplifies the week-by-week fluctuations. By scaling the axis to the interval 345-390 g, we magnify the 11 g annual difference this summer.  Also apparent is the weight loss with last year's hibernation. 

Meanwhile, he continues to get frequent snacks from me, usually strawberries.  His discriminating palate continues to amuse me. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Terrance Sighting of the Summer

Terrance turned up Saturday May 15 on a warm afternoon snuggled into a sunny spot in the Vinca.  No doubt he's been rumbling around in the Vinca for a couple weeks since I found his evacuated burrow.  He weighed in at 13.1 oz, a very reasonable weight for post hibernation.  He immediately tucked into a plate of strawberries that I sliced up for him. 

This of course makes the Terrance Alert Level red

Good to have you back, Terrance.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking Hibernation

Even though it's still in the low 40's at night, it looks like the Terrance Alert Level is Orange--a Terrance siting is imminent.  Checking his burrow this afternoon found it to be open and as far in as I could reach, no Terrance.  There was a tunnel in the tangle of Vinca heading west, so he's likely in there, snacking on WUGS, filling up after a long winter's nap.  I've got strawberries and shrimp in the fridge, two of his favorites, for when he shows up in public.  Stand by for photos and the first weighing of the season. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Terrance Alert Level

It's spring in NM and that means one thing:  you can't tell one day's weather from the next.  We've been up to 81 last Tuesday, yet tomorrow's high will only be 46.  Sunny one minute, cloudy the next.  Every time we go up to White Rock to work on the folks' house, it seems to snow.  Don't get me started about the wind today....

Right now it's 3:30 a.m. and the wireless remote thermometer at the mouth of Terrance's burrow reads 43.  Looks like he knows better than us what the weather forecast will be like.  Last year he didn't break hibernation until 3 May.

Of course, in years previous he's been out in early to mid-April.  We'll just have to see what transpires this year.

For now, I've devised a Terrance Alert Level and color coded it.  Today's Terrance Alert Level is Green--Terrance sighting is unlikely.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Candelaria Nature Center

We took the folks down to the Candelaria Nature Center on Saturday for some bird watching.  After all, it is the weekend of the Great American Backyard Bird Count. 

The feeding station near the entrance trail was full of activity with chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and assorted small brown birds.

The pond behind the visitors center was full of action.  Wood ducks, coots, ring-necked ducks, mallards, and geese were there in abundance.  Also out enjoying the day were, to our surprise, turtles.  As you can see in the photo, there were red-ears, sliders and soft-shelled turtles sunning themselves on the logs in front of the viewing portal.  Did someone forget to tell them they're cold-blooded?  The water must be only 50 degrees, yet here they were, able to swim up, clamber onto a log and catch some rays. 

Trust me, Terrance hasn't gotten out of his burrow this winter despite the sunshine.  With temps near 20 at night, he's bundled up tight underneath the Vinca.