2019-03-03: Topic of the month – Signs of Spring

This week I have really been trying to look for signs of spring.  Honest, I have.  But waking up today, the temperature was -29C with a high of -12C for the day, and it really does feel like spring is far away.  I have noticed a few things though.  I can see about a 6″ band of shingles on the roof of my house, from the days when it has been warm enough for a bit of melt to happen.  I noticed one lone willow tree, buried in about 4 feet of snow drift at the side of the road, starting to bud (despite the cold in was enveloped in).  But mostly, I have noticed the trees.

It has been stark white for a very long time in my back yard, and over the past two weeks, between the strong winds and the the (slightly) warming days, the evergreens have shed the huge cloaks of snow from their branches.  There are still bits of snow tucked into the crook of branches here and there, but finally when I look out my windows, I see a bit of green, rather than just white.

Pictures of bare branches in my backyard seemed a bit boring, but frankly, getting all bundled up to do a photo walk this weekend also didn’t hold much appeal.  So I went out for a short time to photograph some of the birds feasting on the sunflower seeds.  Today, only the chickadees were around, though usually there is a pair of red-breasted nuthatches plus the woodpeckers that pass through.  The chickadees made a steady stream from branch to feeder and back again; I couldn’t count them all as they were constantly coming in from every direction.

As a bird lover, one of the sad parts about the temperature warming is soon the birds will have to fend for themselves, once it warms enough for there to be a threat of bears visiting the feeders.  I think we have a ways to go before that is an issue though.

Here are a few chickadees for today; fingers crossed next weekend there are more signs of spring around.

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I saw this on one of the evergreens by the bird feeders; to me, it looks like the tree is giving the cold weather the middle finger.  But that’s just my interpretation.  To some, just an odd icicle that’s grown upwards, instead of down. 
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One of the many inquisitive chickadees in the yard.  They generally do not mind me being close by, and will even come to the feeder while I am standing there trying to fill it up.
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I can’t even explain how excited I am to see green.
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This one had been picking up a fallen seed from the ground; just a little leftover snow on the beak.

2019-01-20: Costa’s Hummingbirds

I was going to post some of these images on Wednesday last week for a wordless Wednesday post, but I was having a few site issues, and just didn’t have the patience to wait while WordPress loaded slowly.  So instead, I’ve gone through my images and found a few more hummingbird images and am sharing them all today.

While I was in Southern California, I enjoyed my morning coffee on the patio, and loved watching the hummingbirds fighting over the best spots at the feeders and various flowering bushes.  I also noticed how chattery the Costa’s hummingbirds are.  They spent a lot of time singing from the branches of the bushes in the garden.  The link below is the All About Birds page for the Costa’s hummingbird, and you can hear what they sound like there.

All About Birds – Costa’s Hummingbird

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Seeing these images makes me long for spring even more, when the Rufous hummingbirds return to Prince George for another (short) spring and summer season.

2018-07-08: Birds and a bunny

Last weekend, I had decided that I was going to carry on with bird posts for the month of July.  I was excited because a robin’s nest was discovered in the yard, and while I didn’t see the babies, mama robin was still in the nest.  I had wonderful thoughts of finding a suitable spot to photograph them, while not getting too close and intruding on their space.  Then on Wednesday morning, as I was leaving with Spencer for our morning walk, I noticed that the nest was off kilter (it was built on top of a hose reel attached to our well pump house).  When I walked a bit closer, I saw that the nest was destroyed, and there were 3 baby robins dead on the ground.

I don’t have any proof, but I believe it was a cat that lives down the road and is allowed to roam outside that did the damage.  There were puncture marks in one of the chicks, but otherwise they were untouched, which leads me to believe that whatever attacked the nest was not in need of food.  Even if a wild cat, fox or other animal was disturbed when they were at the nest, if they were hungry, I would expect them to come back and collect the chicks.  Instead, I ended up having to clean the sad mess up.  I’m not going to share any images from that sighting; no one else needs to see that.

That took the wind out of my sails a bit for bird photos.  I’ve actually decided to not have a formal topic for July, and I’ll just post what I am inspired to share on a Sunday.  Today though, I do have a few bird images from around the yard and neighbourhood.  Who knows what next week will bring.

Before I get to the birds though, there is a bunny I’ve been seeing around the neighbourhood.  It’s not the best image, but I don’t think I am wrong in my assumption that it is a descendant of the bunny that was in the area the winter of 2016/2017.  I’ve linked below to one of the posts that featured the original bunny in the neighbourhood.  In talking with neighbours, there are a couple of these little hybrids hopping around.

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The original bunny

I have been quite excited to see hermit thrushes while out on walks a few times this summer.  Mostly, I just hear them calling from deep in the bushes, but I’ve seen them on different walks hopping around on the road, sitting on fence posts, or up on the power lines like this one.  The link below has some more information about the hermit thrush, as well as a sample of the pretty song they sing.

Hermit Thrush

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The hermit thrush paused here for a brief moment, but only showed off the backside before flying off deep into the bushes.

In addition to the hummingbirds that are going crazy in the yard, I have loads of purple finches and pine siskins (as well as the occasional hairy woodpecker, some juncos and a red-breasted nuthatch family).  I’m grateful there haven’t been any bears in my immediate vicinity, so I have been able to keep the sunflower seeds out for the birds.  I have two large squirrel proof feeders (ha-ha!) that I am filling up every other day at the moment.  I’ve included links to the All About Birds pages for both the birds if you are looking for more information on the species, or want to listen to the lovely songs that I get to listen to while taking my lunch break outside, or while puttering around watering the flowers.

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A group of pine siskins dining on sunflower seeds.

Pine Siskin

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Female purple finch
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Male purple finch

 

Purple Finch

I hope you have enjoyed my selections for the week.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

2015-12-27: What I’ve seen this week

This week, all the photos were taken in my backyard, watching the birds.  The pine grosbeaks have discovered the bird feeder, and a flock of them now frequent the area; today I got distracted by the group fluttering around and lost count after 12.  I think here were around 16 or more individuals at one point.  It’s wonderful to have them close and listen to them calling to one another.

We’ve had some significant snow yesterday and today, and I’m late getting on with editing and posting as I was busy using the snow blower on the driveway and shovelling out a new pathway to the feeders.

Some of the photos were taken out the window from the basement, giving a unique angle to the feeder… I’ve had to shovel out in front of the windows to be able to see the birds on the ground!

That’s enough chatter for this evening, I hope you enjoy seeing some of the lovely birds that have visited this week (the deer have been around too, but always after dark so no photos of them this week).

The pine grosbeaks have been around in force since they discovered the feeders:

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A pine grosbeak shares the feeder with a common redpoll

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The hairy woodpecker stopped by for some seed as investigating the trees.

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The flickers have been visiting regularly, though are usually quite skittish and fly away if anyone is outside.

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The grey jays have been around frequently as well.  They are usually quite skittish but I was outside taking photos of the grosbeaks Saturday and one of the jays stopped in for a snack; previously they would fly away if they saw someone move too quickly at the window.20151227_What I've seen this week-720151227_What I've seen this week-620151227_What I've seen this week-8

I’m not a fan of the squirrels on the bird feeders (and with the set up I have, that hasn’t been a problem) but I’m happy for them to stop by and act as the clean up crew.

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