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Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

The snow lies deep on this official first day of winter. We've had another foot of snow overnight which makes it look very wintry indeed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This Week's Featured Bird

Common Redpoll ~ Carduelis flammea

Length: 13cm (5 1/4")
Weighs 14g (0.5 oz.)

named for their red or orange-red cap or "poll"

Today the birds were fluffed up against the cold with the temperature hovering around -13C all day. It was mostly cloudy with some swirling snowflakes earlier on. I counted at least a dozen grosbeaks and as many redpolls at the feeders. There were two nuthatches on this day, numerous chickadees and our friendly squirrel.

Redpoll, female, perched in the Serviceberry Bushes.

This one is perched on the ash can lid which also serves as a platform feeder.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Sky

Yesterday, shortly before sunset

"I will grow. I will become something new and grand, but no grander than I now am. Just as the sky will be different in a few hours, its present perfection and completeness is not deficient."
~ Wayne Dyer

More wonderful skies at Sky Watch Friday

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This Week's Featured Bird

Pine Grosbeak ~ Pinicola enucleator

a large finch about the size of a robin

A number of birds gathered at the feeders yesterday while we were out clearing snow. We were all very grateful that the sun shone through after all. In between the Grosbeaks on the ground are the little Redpolls, also of the Finch family.

A female and male Pine Grosbeak eating sunflower seeds in the sunshine.

A male Pine Grosbeak eyes the buffet below before swooping down to join the others.

The Pine Grosbeak is our brightest bird of the winter.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The hoarfrost gave the landscape a somewhat ghostly appearance on this very dull, overcast day. Maybe tomorrow the sun will come out.
Pine Grosbeaks perched in a Poplar tree near the feeders.

There were Chickadees, Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls at the feeders today. Also, one Nuthatch, one Woodpecker and one Squirrel.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sky Watch - Sunset

It was an eerie sunset this evening.

There is some slash burning going on in the distance, and the smoke has tainted the atmosphere for miles around. We first saw the fires when we were coming home from the city.

The moon tonight is almost 3/4 full.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


(please click on image for a better view of the detail)

This picture of the river channel was taken last week, and as you can see, there is already some ice formed at the edges.

Watery Wednesday

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sky Watch - Winter Arrives

It has been a very snowy week with Tuesday morning being especially nice....every spruce tree decorated with huge dollops, the bare branches and twigs of the poplars outlined in white and above the charmed landscape, a promising blue sky.

Later, a breeze came up, and the snow flew off the trees in a blinding whirlwind.
It's wintertime!!!

Sky Watch Friday

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Downy Woodpecker

His feathers were being lifted by gusts of wind.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On a Fine November Day

(please click on the images for better viewing)

Last week we drove up to historic Fort St. James and had a very pleasant walk under a magnificent autumn sky.

Situated on Lakeshore Drive is Our Lady of Good Hope Church (right) which was built in 1873. The small log cabin to the left of this pretty wooden church was where Father Morice, an Oblate missionary priest who arrived in Fort St. James in 1885, printed the Carrier prayer books and a Carrier language newspaper.

Another view of the log cabin in its picturesque setting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

At the Winter Feeding Stations

Now the fun begins.
Our focus this frosty morning is a tree stump, and our visitors are:

A Red Squirrel
Black-capped Chickadees
More than one Pine Siskin
A pair of Evening Grosbeaks (female on the left, male right)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Three-toed Woodpecker

The other day we found a Three-toed Woodpecker on the newly fallen snow underneath the dining room window. Our guess is that he stunned himself when he came in contact with the glass. The poor distressed bird flew to this spruce tree just as W--- was reaching down to pick him up and move him to a more sheltered spot. He clung to the bark for quite some time and slowly recovered from his ordeal.
Three-toed Woodpecker, Male

I identified this woodpecker by his colouring; I couldn't tell if he had three toes or not. The Black-backed Woodpecker is similar in colour but has a solid black back whereas the Three-toed Woodpecker has a black-and-white barred back. These woodpeckers are year round residents but usually stay well-hidden in the trees.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Flight of the Cranes

Sandhill Cranes during their fall migration
(photos taken October 22/09)

We don't often see these stately birds, so it was truly a rare and beautiful sight when
softly, peacefully the cranes flew over
while I stood on the road with a friend.
We watched until the distance claimed
them, their strange warning calls still
resonating in our ears....kar-r-r-o-o-o,

Sandhill Cranes breed in the Northern US, Canada, Alaska and Eastern Siberia. In the autumn they migrate to their wintering grounds in Florida, Texas, Utah, Mexico, and California.

Sky Watch Friday

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Flow of Water

Cottonwood Island Park, Prince George, B.C.
located at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers
(photo taken October 19th)

The World Wildlife Fund-Canada organization recently released a report* on the state of ten Canadian rivers in terms of "environmental flows". It sites three factors that are threatening river flows:
  • climate change
  • growing water demands
  • pursuit of low-carbon energy (i.e. new hydropower projects)
  1. Skeena River, British Columbia - Mines, oil and gas pipelines, coal bed methane fields and hydropower projects all could "significantly affect the Skeena's natural flow and potentially compromise the watershed's incredible biodiversity and ecosystem functions".
  2. Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan - "one of the world's longest free flowing rivers".
  3. Fraser River, British Columbia - The Nechako River is one of its principal tributaries. "The Kemano Diversion moves two-thirds of the Nechako average flow from the Fraser watershed to the west coast for industrial hydropower generation."
  4. Athabasca River, Alberta - "The Peace-Athabasca Delta supports over 30 species of fish and more than a million migratory birds each year."
  5. South Saskatchewan River, Saskatchewan, Alberta - Canada's most threatened river.
  6. Nipigon River, Ontario - ".... flows highly regulated." Efforts are being made to "restore flows to more natural conditions".
  7. Grand River, Ontario - another regulated river with more than 100 dams.
  8. St. Lawrence River, Quebec - natural flow "drastically altered". It is in a "declining state".
  9. Saint John River, New Brunswick, Quebec - longest river in Atlantic Canada.
  10. Ottawa River, Ontario, Quebec - " of the most regulated river systems in Canada."
* Canada's Rivers at Risk: Environmental Flows and Canada's Freshwater Future

More indepth information can be found at WWF-Canada

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Autumn Morning

We were driving across the bridge last Sunday when we saw a Bald Eagle perched below the topmost branches of this poplar tree. It's an ideal spot for sitting and contemplating the water as it flows under the bridge....

with the warmth of the sun on his or her face.

the MOON at sundown
Tuesday, September 29th ~

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Foamy Windrows

It's not sudsy detergent, but a natural phenomenon that occurs when the water is churned up in windy conditions. And we've certainly had some terrific winds lately, a prelude to October weather. The airy foam deposits consist of oxygenated water and organic matter. There was no real smell to it that we noticed so we're assuming it isn't pollution.

Watery Wednesday

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I didn't have to go far to see this sunrise one morning recently. Looking out the window I had seen only glimpses of it between the trees, but...

Since I was up anyway I thought I might as well go for an early morning walk with my dog and properly greet the sun coming up over the horizon. Still, I was feeling a bit sluggish and had to rely on my feet to automatically get me to the front of the driveway. My happy little dog, on the other hand, was a bundle of energy. From the driveway, I started walking toward the first corner of our half mile rural road.

There is a corridor at this corner, a swath someone cut years ago. It gave me a wonderful focus point, and stopping partway I took this photo.

Sky Watch Friday