Posted by: atowhee | July 30, 2014


For the second straight day we’ve had a thunderous storm come across the Siskiyous to the south and blow through Ashland. The dark gray clouds form a background for the jagged white lightning. Each flash followed by the world’s loudest kettle drums as thunder shakes the house and the trees around it. The strong gusts of wind blow tiny twigs, dead branches and weak limbs onto roofs and gardens. Before each storm front the birds grow quiet. Both before and after the rain the Red-breasted Nuthatch is assiduous in attending to our suet logs. rbn-J1


Today I watched as the storm rumbled northward toward our house. Just on the leading edge, driven along by the weather’s bellows came a quartet of Vaux’s Swifts, driven down from the treetops at a higher elevation. Can’t catch insect in a driving rain after all.

The Jays are the first into the garden as the rain stops. Followed rapidly by Junco, Spotted Towhee, Anna’s Hummingbird. The hummers are mimosa addicts but also spend a respectful amount of time at the blooming buddleia (butterfly bush).

This is at least the fourth major thunderstorm of the summer here, strangely Midwestern weather for this part of the country. After this second storm in as many days Ashland Creek was running at high spring levels, and the water was dark. It reminded me of the St.Croix River where the water is clear and black at once, stained by the tamarack bogs. Ashland Creek must get its summer storm color from the many millions of particles of rotted leaf scoured out of thousands of roof gutters across the town. Not sure if these storms continue it will alleviate our drought but it allows me to turn off the irrigation which is a costly luxury in dry times.

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