Saturday, 31 December 2016

A New Zealand Gem




Only hours now remain of 2016 and old man winter is serving up an all day snow storm driven by a cold east wind. My thoughts turn to hot popcorn and a good movie.

On Netflix, I did find a gem -- a 2016 New Zealand film called, Hunt For The Wilderpeople. The stunningly rugged scenery of New Zealand's wilderness was reward enough, but the characters were all quirky and likeable. The story is based on the book, Wild Pork and Watercress written by Barry Crump. I chuckled throughout and whole-heartedly recommend this film to everyone. Guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy!


 


Friday, 23 December 2016

A New Ginger Tabby

Well, it may not exactly be a tabby in the feline sense, but it does resemble a ginger tabby kitten to me -- except for the beak -- and for the feathers. But it does hunt mice and see well in the dark and is very, very cute!!

Over the years I've had the pleasure of watching gray morph eastern screech owls use my winter roost boxes but today I had my first tenant with a reddish tint. In my region, the rufous morph is less common. I don't know it's gender, but I think of this one as female. It seems larger than the slightly smaller males. To me, she looks like a pretty little miss with bleached tresses. I'm reminded of the old Miss Clairol ad -- "Only her hairdresser knows for sure."

Their common name of 'screech' owl is misleading. They do not screech at all, but call with a low, descending whinny and a muted trill. Lovely music to my ears!
 
The rather kittenish face of a rufous morph eastern screech owl.

There are tabby-like markings atop the owl's head.
We gaze into each other's eyes. Her's appears judgemental.'
From an old box on an old tree, she peers at something on the snow below.
What delicate blush work on those cheeks, my dear.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Br-r-r-r-r, Surprise!

Our winter solstice is almost here, so it was no surprise to wake up to a very cold morning. Minus 31 Celsius! The snow really crunches underfoot at these low temperatures. A fresh and clean sound. The air was very dry with little breeze and so not unbearable for the warmly dressed.

Because of this dry and cold air, the bird bath had evaporated quite a bit overnight. Still, the heating element kept the water tepid. This source of liquid is much appreciated by the birds for drinking and as in summer, the bowl needs to be cleaned and refilled daily. 

But the surprise, and a delightful one it was, came near the end of the day as the sun had almost set. From the entrance of one of my roosting boxes was the sight I had been hoping for since last winter -- the cute little face of a screech owl! My favourite feathered friend is back and will keep me in good company this winter.

The lemon yellow eyes of a gray phase screech owl scan for prey items.

He or she seems eager for the nighttime hunting shift to begin.

A cold morning regardless of which scale you prefer.

A pair of jays start their morning with a sunflower seed feast.

A tepid drink of water on a sub-zero day must seem like a luxury to wildlife.

The squirrel, with only a stump for a left hind leg, looks fat and sleek.

It's cardinal friend seems to be saying, "Hey, I want my turn at those seeds!"