Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gnats? Gnuts! And, what the hail?

Saturday was a pretty nice morning here in the metro. The temperature was 58 degrees when I started my run, and after 12 miles it rose to 62! Quite pleasant, abundant sunshine, and a slight dose of humidity; this is what it should be like all the time.

One of the side effects of nicer weather is insects. While running along the trail today, I encountered the occasional cloud of gnats. Of course, this led to the inevitable; inhaling them, choking, and even getting a few bugs stuck in your eyes. Ugh! But that was my only gripe. The run was great, and the birding even better.

I stumbled upon a common yellowthroat, the cutest little masked warbler. I have not seen one of these in years, so it was truly a treat to watch him flutter about in the swampy grasses along the lake.

There also appears to be a pair of loons that have made their home on my lake. This is a neat thing, as the Twin Cities is really on the far southern end of the loon's nesting range. It will be fun to see if they have babies.

And finally, I found a nesting Eastern kingbird along a section of the trail. She made her home in a small tree that sits in an open area. The nest is kind of funny because it appears to be too small for her. She is really crammed in there, and you can see her tail sticking up out of the nest! Good stuff on a beautiful day.

Of course, being Minnesota, the weather can change in an instant. A tornado warning got issued for my county, so things got pretty interesting late in the afternoon. I was watching Christine Clayburg on the FOX 9 news to follow the track of the storm. I rag on the weather folks all the time, but giving credit where credit is due, she did an excellent job dissecting the storm and predicting its path. The "hook echo" of the super cell seemed to be heading straight for my apartment. So I scuttled down to the parking garage to take cover! There was no tornado, thank goodness, but my neighborhood did get pummeled with anywhere between dime and golf ball sized hail. It was insane!

WCCO has a slide show of yesterday's hail storm, and a few of the shots are from my city. Today on my run, I did not see too much storm damage except for a lot of leaves and twigs down on the trails, so we were fortunate.

Some hail stones from my deck

Following all of that excitement, last night's pizza was pretty tasty. Pancetta, pepperoni, fresh tomato, and four kinds of Italian cheese. Awesome!

Until next time,

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