November has been a warm month with record temperatures. The beautiful weather has kept birds in the valley and they flock to my feeders. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opens for ski season with warm temperatures, high avalanche danger and rain. November is the month of gratitude as we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s also the time to comment as the federal government considers raising park entry fees to popular parks and recreational fees for local guide companies.
I have had tremendous joy watching birds this month. Numbers seem more abundant with various species and rare sightings. I moved back to the town of Jackson six years ago and hung bird feeders. I was told that the habitat wasn’t ideal so don’t expect much variety. One thing I know, you can’t predict Mother Nature.
Most species arrive in the spring and depart in the fall. Chickadees, House Sparrows, and Pine Siskins have always been taking advantage of the seed. Occasionally, I see an Evening Grosbeak and Townsend Solitaire. Over the summer, nesting Cassin’s Finch, White-crowned Sparrows and Chickadees provided great entertainment as the young learned the tricks of the trade.
This fall, I was amazed to see an Eastern Blue Jay. Yes, a Blue Jay! I was blessed with a morning visit and took a blurry photo to prove its’ presence. I also have Clark’s Nutcrackers taking advantage of the nuts. They hang on the feeder and stick their long black beak into the holes and fling seeds everywhere. Their habitat is open coniferous forests so an uncommon visitor in town. I currently have a resident Red-breasted Nuthatch. I feed sunflowers and a seed mix and will be adding suet. Such fun!
I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Ohio with my family. Temperatures were in the fifties and sixties which was unusual but quite pleasant. The time was spent laughing, playing outdoors, reconnecting with the joy of family and the bounty of the season.
Jackson had record temperatures in November with record lows to start the month and record highs to end it. We had twice the average precipitation as rain fell in the valley and snow in the mountains. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened on November 24 with warm temperatures and rain. I have yet to ski but I know that everyone is ready for winter and white snowflakes.
The Department of Interior has proposed to change the fee structure in 17 of our country’s most popular parks. This change will greatly affect the entrance fees in Grand Teton and Yellowstone and the cost of a guided tour/commercial use. This proposal will adversely affect tourism in Jackson Hole. I propose that the needed revenue be equally generated through the entire park system and not just a select few of our 417 parks. Currently only 118 of these parks charge a fee so why not generate revenue by a minimal increase to all park land and not just the most popular? Many states will oppose this change. Make a comment, it is time to be heard: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=83652.
December begins with hopes for more snow and cooler temperatures.
What’s in the woods
11/1- Jackson- birdfeeder- pine siskins, chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, house sparrow
11/2- fresh snow to the valley floor, winter weather advisory
11/5-Wilson, WY- herd of cow elk in morning mist
11/5- drive to Utah- herds of mule deer, pronghorn, golden and bald eagles, rough-legged hawk, ferruginous hawk, red-tailed hawk
11/9-Jackson- backyard birds- pine siskin, red-breasted nuthatch, black and mountain chickadee, eastern blue jay!- rare in the area.
11/13- sunny and cold
11/15-Northern Yellowstone, near Gardiner- bull and cow elk, herds of pronghorn and mule deer, bison, big horn sheep
11/16- winter storm advisory
11/24- warm, rainy, high avalanche warning, opening day of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The valley is still clear of snow so the inner park road in Grand Teton Park is a fun place to recreate. You access this road near Taggert Lake or Signal Mountain. Valley trails have been muddy but freezing temperatures will help walking conditions. Conditions are variable in the backcountry as temperatures fluctuate. We are still in the season of transition and anxiously await the white landscape of winter.