Lately, I have been seeing two Mule Deer (a doe and her youngster) on the hill behind the house. It's quiet there and relatively safe. They are usually feeding, but this morning I observed the doe lying down to rest.
2° C and lightly snowing
Update: 2:20 p.m. - At the moment, the doe is resting. She stays very alert, and a short time ago, she was up on her feet, standing very still and listening. Her youngster must be somewhere nearby, but is hidden from view.
A grouse perched in some brambles on the other side of the garden and picked at the rose hips, often stretching her neck to reach a particular piece of fruit. She then half jumped, half flew down to land on top of the snow where she sat and fluffed out her feathers until she looked quite round.
Perched in the topmost branches of a spruce tree, the Bald Eagle surveys his surroundings. It's a matter of survival for these central interior birds. During the winter months, they must also look to the land for sustenance (rabbits, squirrels, grouse).
A few snowflakes were swirling down, and it was overcast when I took this photo at about ten thirty yesterday morning. I first saw the eagle from a distance and then I had to get closer.
foraging for berries in the Saskatoon Berry bushes
I'm not sure how much nutrition the grosbeaks would derive from the desiccated berries, but the seeds would give them some energy. I saw the grouse in these very bushes a few days ago, also searching for berries.
This handsome fellow appears to be a Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker. I can't tell from his flight feathers, but the other distinguishing marks would confirm this. He has a tan face, gray crown, black moustachial stripe and a red nape crescent.
Red-shafted Northern Flickers have a gray face, brown crown and no nape crescent. The males also have a red moustachial stripe.
It snowed during the evening hours last night. It was hardly anything to speak of, really just a thin layer, and it stopped before we went to bed. The temperature however dipped below zero; currently it is -10°C.
I am always in awe whenever I see a Bald Eagle soaring. It is a truly reverential sight. This morning as I was walking on the path that leads into the woods, I looked up to see one of the Sinkut Lake eagles circling high above me. He did this over and over, and I, of course, was focused entirely on this marvelous scene. He finally came down and landed in a spruce tree where, to my utter surprise, another eagle was already perched. I hadn't seen this eagle at all! The result of this commotion was that the second eagle essentially took over the perch, and the other one immediately flew away with a loud squawk.
One gusty, cool day, I observed a woodpecker perched on a spruce tree branch. The woodpecker was fully absorbed in the routine task of preening and didn't seem at all affected by the relentless wind that played havoc with its feathers.
This is a new bird for me. I'm more familiar with the Red-breasted Nuthatch, and I was greatly surprised when two White-breasted Nuthatches arrived at the bird feeders several days ago. They were perched in the poplars nearby. I've seen one or the other every day since then.
larger than the Red-breasted Nuthatch (White-breasted Nuthatch - 15cm, Red-breasted Nuthatch - 11cm)
conservation - "Too much pruning or felling of dead wood can reduce the nesting opportunities for this species." (source: All About Birds)
White-breasted Nuthatches are very territorial and will drive out any other nuthatches. (It would be most unfortunate should this occur as the Red-breasted Nuthatches have inhabited these woods for many years. We will have to wait and see what happens.)
November 4, 2012 - The White-breasted Nuthatch is still coming to the feeders and usually makes his presence known by calling out before descending for a sunflower seed. I have seen nothing of the Red-breasted Nuthatch since the arrival of the bigger bird.
Yesterday evening the fox came into the yard again. On this particular night she was dining exclusively on black currants which are easier for her to reach than the saskatoon berries. The first night that we saw her she jumped up several times to pull down a saskatoon berry branch in order to get at the fruit. Then she discovered the currant bush in one corner of the garden. The fox continuously checked for any possible threats all the while she was eating, but even when she noticed me in the window and started running down the path, she stopped to look at me inquisitively.
The Juncos were all over the garden plot this afternoon. Last night we went to bed listening to the rainfall, and this morning we woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground. However, by the afternoon it was melting and dripping off the roofs. That's when these lively, little birds came out to play or rather to forage for morsels* in and around the garden.
It is our good fortune, in this region of the province, to be able to view these magnificent creatures during a brief stopover in their journey to their northerly summer range. It happens like clockwork every year, and we look forward to this event even as children do to Christmas.
This small falcon has recently arrived from its winter range. The crows do not like this situation at all, and it has made them very nervous. They fly close to the Merlin calling from her high perch in a spruce tree and loudly voice their disapproval of the falcon's encroachment on their territory. It doesn't seem to have any affect on the Merlin. The Merlin, rather than building her own nest, will often take over an abandoned corvid nest, and later pose a danger to young birds. So, of course the crows do not want the Merlin anywhere near them and will try to drive the bird away.