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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 ~