2020-06-28: Hummingbirds

For a while it seemed that all hope was lost for hummingbirds this season, as all but a couple disappeared within two weeks of showing up (that’s what Prince George weather does to you!). But I kept filling my feeders for the couple that were around and enjoyed the brief glimpses that I had. Then quite suddenly it was a flurry if activity, at one point counting 15 individuals, and I’ve been filling up 5 feeders at least once every second day, if not more often.

They don’t stick around long so I am enjoying it while it lasts, although I do call them my little piggy birds.

While I would much prefer to get shots in a natural environment, we have so few flowers that the feeders are the only attractant, and they disappear deep into the forest when not feeding.

Hummingbirds galore!

2020-06-07: Local Birds (and more)

We have had some truly dismal weather the past few weeks, so much so that almost all of the hummingbirds have disappeared, presumably to find somewhere a little more hospitable to nest. But, I have seen a fair amount of wildlife, even though I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of all of it. The western tanager couple is back, and I see them flit through the yard usually once a day. Out on my walks, there have been frequent sightings of hermit thrushes, which surprises me after all the years I listened to them singing without being able to see one. There have also been a few different warblers; the Townsend’s, which I didn’t manage to get a photo of, and the Wilson’s warbler, which I managed a couple of ID shots of.

A male western tanager
A Wilson’s warbler
A hermit thrush

In addition to the variety of birds, I’ve seen both black bear, a cinnamon bear, and I finally caught a glimpse of the lynx that I saw tracks of all through the winter. I was walking my dog early one morning and saw it at the side of the road off in the distance, and it was so far away that I needed my camera to figure out what it was! Gratefully it stayed put for enough time to let me snap one photo, and then it evaporated into the bushes.

That’s all for today, wishing everyone a wonderful week.

2020-05-03: Backyard Birds

I’ve been letting the feeders run to empty now, given the likelihood of bears in the back yard, but that hasn’t slowed down the volume of birds in the yard at all, at least not yet.  Today I spotted a new species for the first time, a Townsend’s Solitaire, and while I didn’t get a great image of it, at least it got me outside for a few minutes to capture the other visitors, before it started to rain.

The one bird I didn’t get any images of today is a hummingbird, and they have arrived back here as well.  They are one of my favourite birds to watch, and hearing them buzz and chatter from the bushes or investigate me when I am out walking the dog is one of the joys of summer.

Just a couple today, I hope you are also getting the chance to get outside and enjoy spring.

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I only got my camera out when this bird was spotted to try and snap a picture to help with identifying it.  Since it is a new species for me, I thought I would share, despite it being a bit blurry.

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A dark-eyed junco nibbling on seeds on the ground.  It is so nice not to be seeing snow any longer!

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A group of white crowned sparrows and house finches.  I am struggling to identify the brown and white striped bird in the bottom left corner.  I am pretty sure it is the same struggle I have every year!

2020-03-08: Redpolls

For two seasons in a row, I didn’t see a single redpoll over the winter, but over the last few weeks they have been in my yard in droves, jostling for position on the feeders with the chickadees and adding little flashes of colour to the otherwise rather drab winter landscape.

I still find it a bit baffling that anything would consider my area a good place to spend the winter, but I do get that in comparison to places even further north, it’s probably a bit easier to make it through the season here.

I’m enjoying their presence while it lasts, as soon bird feeding time will be over as the bears begin to emerge.  There’s still a while to enjoy the birds as we are still pretty deep in the grip of winter, despite my best attempts to will the snow to melt with the power of my mind 🙂

Here are a few images I captured a couple of days ago, when it wasn’t -20C!

I’ll keep up my mantra, spring is coming soon!  Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2020-01-19: Barred Owl

I spotted a barred owl hanging out in the backyard a couple of days ago while I was having lunch.  It spent a bit of time trying to hunt, and the rest trying to nap.  It was -28C, so I took the photos through my window, as it was just too cold for me to get out to take a couple of pictures.  Besides, Murphy’s Law would have kicked in, and by the time I got bundled up enough to head outside and take a few images, the owl would have flown away.

Thankfully things have warmed up a little bit here; still cold, but at least not bitterly cold.  I hope your week ahead is looking up too 🙂

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Trying to catch a few zzz’s

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Puffed up against the cold.

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Scanning for something to eat.

2019-12-22: Winter

Today marks the first full day of winter, and while I am very grateful that thus far there haven’t been too many bitterly cold days in the transition between autumn and winter, I know they are coming.  I find winter a challenging time, far more so now that I am living in the north than I used to.  It isn’t just the temperatures; it is the lack of colour and the length of time that the area is carpeted in snow.  Yes, the blue sky days, with the snow twinkling in the sunlight can be beautiful, but this morning, the dull grey skies and ice crystals hanging off the branches seemed to perfectly reflect how I feel about winter.  At once both dull and sharp, beautiful and miserable.

I don’t get out to take images that often in winter; I suffer from Reynaud’s syndrome and being out in the type of thin gloves necessary to handle a camera can be a real challenge unless the day is fairly mild.  Sometimes it is worth it regardless of the temperature, but those times are definitely the exception.

I spent a bit of time this morning wandering the yard, hoping to capture what I noticed while out walking my dog earlier this morning.  By the time I got out though, most of the ice crystals hanging from the moss in the trees had dissipated from the slight rise in temperatures, but those clinging to the evergreens and willows still remained.

Here are my early impressions of winter.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.

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2019-11-24: Buck

Sunday posts this month were supposed to be all about elephants, but this lovely visitor changed my plans for the week.  I can’t even explain how nice it felt to have the opportunity to get out and take a few photos, and having both weather and wildlife corporate in the process was a bonus 🙂

I’ve seen a couple of different bucks in the neighbourhood on occasion, but have lately been seeing lots of evidence of them around the yard; they’ve been rubbing their antlers on many of the willow trees around, scoring the bark off and knocking down smaller branches and limbs.

This guy was really unconcerned about me being outside with him, but I kept my distance to not put any pressure on him and cause him to leave the cozy spot he found in the sun to relax.

He’s still in the yard as I type this, and has actually been joined by another, much smaller deer.  The little ones are sometimes much easier spooked, so I am going to leave this with just the images I have so far, and let all the deer graze without interruption.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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2019-03-10: Signs of Spring

Spring is definitely taking its time to arrive here in Prince George.  It’s creeping up, little by little, but the changes aren’t really picturesque.  It is nice though to go outside at midday and feel a tiny bit of warmth to the sunshine now, and see that the snowbanks are receding little by little.

The photos I have today aren’t really a sign of spring, but I am hopeful that I won’t have another opportunity to take them again this year, so I guess it somewhat ties into the theme.

I was walking with Spencer early yesterday morning, it was quite cold and the bare tree branches were covered in frost and ice.  When the sun came up and hit the branches, it was just so pretty.  The trees were sparkling in the warm orange light.  I tried my best to capture it, but taking photos while wearing mittens (and while my glasses were fogging up) is not an easy task!  I wasn’t about to go bare handed when it was -18, so I snapped a couple of photos and hoped for the best.

Like light playing upon moving water, snow and ice sparkling in the sunlight is something that is challenging to really capture in a still image.  I think the magic of seeing it in person is a bit lost, but still, I try.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

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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.