Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sugar Fix

My favourite rodent, Reddy the red squirrel, is enjoying a sweet treat these days. Sap is flowing up from the roots of trees and into their branches. Taking advantage of this, he is nipping the branches of the soft maple tree in my yard and then lapping up the sweetness when it oozes from the little wounds he has inflicted. Being a bit of a copy cat, I'm inspired to snow shoe back to our bushlot and tap a hardwood maple tree for myself. Coffee made from fresh maple sap in lieu of water is absolutely delicious! Thanks for the tip, Reddy! Now where did I store that tapping spile and drill?

Nip, nip, nip .....

... gnaw, gnaw, gnaw ...

... slurp, slurp, slurp ...

... yum, yum, yum!!!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

More Welcome Sights

Each day now brings new delights as feathered vacationers return from the south. This morning I watched the sky's 'homecoming' parade. Ribbons of Canada geese were passing over as well as a Great Blue Heron, a Turkey Vulture and a Northern Harrier.

A posturing male Red-Winged Blackbird.

This robin is declaring his intentions to stay.

Northbound chains of Canada Geese.

The Spring flood appears in a drainage ditch.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Very Welcome Sign

After weeks of anticipation, my backyard was finally treated to the arrival of this year's first robin. Despite what the calendar and thermometer say, I now feel that winter's grip had finally been broken and Spring is truly at hand. Welcome back little friend!!!

A newly returned male robin surveys my backyard.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Community Dish

Last night, three patrons came to my "Community Dish" for meals. On offer was dog kibble, chicken skins and a raw egg. Of course, it's always first come, first serve and late arrivals may be out of luck. The feral and quite wild orange tabby, I've named Oscar, always arrives first and usually revisits the dish several times during the night. By morning the dish is clean, except for the tell-tale muddy traces from the skunk's paws.  My trail camera captured the following images.

Hey, is that any way to show your gratitude?!?

Monday, 9 March 2015

Grubbing A Living

This afternoon a female Pileated Woodpecker flew in to explore my backyard's old softwood maple tree for grubs. Downy, Hairy and even a Red-bellied woodpecker have all been excavating at the decayed wood but this flamboyant and crow sized pecker is in a league of her own!

This decaying old tree is a magnet for peckers.

Adding a few more chips to the growing pile at the base of the tree.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

That Certain Scent

The day after I noticed raccoon tracks leading away from the barn, I spied a new set of fresh prints in the snow. But these were made by a different species.

The foot prints of a skunk on my backyard snow.

My trail camera confirmed what I already knew. Jimmy Skunk has broken hibernation and is up and about and looking for a meal. For the past few days, I've been noticing a certain faint but oh so familar scent outdoors. Eau de Jimmy.

Each skunk has slightly different markings. This one has a straight face stripe.

A summer of grubbing will fill out that tummy.

Having no problem at all finding a meal, Reddy is nibbling on tree, shrub and cane buds.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Marching Forth

Spring is slowly marching forth on this day of March the fourth.

There is still a bit less than three weeks before the Spring equinox arrives but the signs are unmistakable. For the first time since January 23rd, the temperature here has reached above the freezing point. I can hear snow melt water from the roof trickling into the basement cistern. Crows have quit flocking and are instead making plans for nesting. The meandering tracks of a raccoon snake from the barn. And suspicions run to a raccoon perpetrator as I discover that, overnight, the lid was removed from my garbage bin and the contents rifled through. 

This morning I listened at the top entrance of my honey bee hives and heard reassuring humming from within all three. As I stood there enjoying the sun, a bee flew confidently out of the strongest hive and disappeared into the blue. If the colonies can survive this record cold winter until the trees and flowers bloom they will have accomplished a considerable triumph

The outdoor thermometer finally registers above freezing.

Evidence that a raccoon has left the barn to explore outside.

Ringo and his lady friend enjoy a snack on this milder day.

Reddy is on full alert against possible seed thieves.

Ellie Mae seems to have an extra sparkle in her eyes as Spring approaches.