Saturday, 19 March 2016

Spring Snaps

Spring has arrived. Yay-y-y!

Well, technically it has but today's sub-freezing temperature still feels like winter to me. Last week though, we had a nice preview of Spring with warmish days and nights. Waves of birds returned from their southern vacations and filled the air with their excited chatter. It's wonderful to again hear their dawn chorus. The fields are lakes of snow melt. We used to merrily say, "Floods up!" I bought a spiffy new pair of high topped rubber boots to replace my old and leaky ones. Long and soggy rambles are in the cards. Warm weather is on the way and we all have our welcome mats out.

My night camera reveals that an elegant fox has been paying regular night visits to my woodshed/garage. The animal shows particular interest in an area around the woodpile where I've seen a red squirrel frequenting. In addition, a couple of cottontail rabbits are frisking about the yard, so I'm sure the fox smells dining potential hereabouts.

Also tripping the camera's motion sensor are various neighbourhood tom cats, skunks and raccoons. One raccoon is distinctive in that it has no tail, without which it somewhat resembles a koala bear. 

One of two cottontail rabbits that are frisking about my backyard.

The red squirrels are still enjoying sweet drinks of tree sap.

A cardinal filling up on black oil seeds that have spilled from a bird feeder.

A robin checking the sad remains of a sumac bob. These seeds have been very popular.

A fox with a beautiful tail and a raccoon with no tail at all.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Family Unpleasantness

It happens in the best of families. Sometimes things just get a bit unpleasant.

A couple of years ago I was walking through our bush lot when I heard a strange racket. Curious, I walked toward the sound. All was revealed. A young raccoon, born the previous year was trying to get into a tree cavity with it's mom. But she was having none of it. She growled and tried her best to drive the youngster away. It bawled and begged and pleaded. This sort of thing happens every spring when moms are getting ready to start a new family. The last thing she needs is another mouth from last year to feed. I could still hear the noisy argument until I was well out of earshot.

So when I checked my night cam this morning I was not surprised to see a mother skunk trying to shake off last year's kit. You have to feel sorry for both parties when youngsters become surplus to requirements.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

As Spring Approaches

I first heard and then saw my first robins of the season this morning. They seemed to only stop for a breather before winging further north. There was also a boat-tailed grackle picking through one of my feeders. It only had a brief feed before heading north as well. Then came a special treat -- the sight of a large V-formation of Canada geese, honking and winging strongly northward. Welcome back all you brave little travellers!

An ice storm we had some weeks ago left a lot of damage, but also opportunities for sap lovers such as the woodpeckers and my three resident red squirrels.

One of my red squirrels enjoying a sweet drink of soft maple tree sap.

This boat-tailed grackle made a brief fuel stop before continuing north.

One of two robins that stopped by my yard this morning.

A honking flock of Canada geese making their way north.

Overnight, a couple of locals made sure the community dish was licked clean.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Dregs of Winter

Only a couple of weeks remain before our Spring Equinox arrives. On average, this winter has been fairly agreeable. I only had to use my snowblower three times.

There are unmistakable signs of a seasonal changeover. Woodpeckers and crows are performing territorial displays and today I saw my first returning red-winged blackbirds. Lemon yellow patches are appearing in the olive coloured winter plumage of goldfinches. Raccoons and skunks are becoming more active. Near store entrances, packets of flower and vegetable seeds beckon from cardboard displays. An extended thaw is forecast for next week. My thoughts are turning to new rubber boots.

This Madagascar Jasmine was a grocery store impulse purchase. Wonderful fragrance!

Lemon yellow is slowly replacing the olive on goldfinch winter plumage.

Red-winged Blackbirds pause their journey for a fuel stop. Father and son perhaps?

Day or night, Ellie Mae can watch live theatre from her window perch.

Woodshed visitors from my night cam in the last few nights.