January 17, 2005 [LINK]

First snow!

Song sparrow Snow fell last night in the Shenandoah Valley for the first time this season. (I also noticed snow falling in Gillette Stadium on TV yesterday evening, perhaps giving the hardy Patriots the extra edge they needed against the "sheltered" Colts.) This comes rather late, since mid-January is typically the midpoint of winter. The weather here has certainly been a lot milder than in California or the Ohio River valley region. This Song sparrow found plenty of good eatin' along our back porch this morning. Song sparrows are fairly plain, but can be distinguished from the more common House sparrows (a non-native import from Europe, often considered a pest) by their brownish streaks and a dark spot in the middle of their chest. They are aptly named, as they sing boldly and frequently, from February until late summer, and sometimes even in the colder months.