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Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

This little nuthatch is a joy to watch, but if I want to take his photograph I have to be quick.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Snowy Day

A Doe

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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ruffed Grouse Sighting


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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bird of Prey

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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Snowy Morning

More snow fell last night.  At the moment, it is overcast and -9°C.  The birds are happily flying back and forth to the feeders in a flurry of activity.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pine Grosbeak

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.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Following Tracks

we take the same path
as the deer and snowshoe hare 

snowshoe hare tracks
(bottom of the photo to the right of the twelve, above)

trace the growth pattern of the tree in the foreground

a pretty sight, all the snow-covered trees

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Northern Flicker

Colaptes auralus

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. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


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. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

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.            

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Black-Capped Chickadee

perched in the Saskatoon bushes shelling a sunflower seed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

White-breasted Nuthatch

Solitary nuthatch perched near the feeders

A beautiful, mild day - about 6°C

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bird Behaviour


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. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Varied Thrush

Ixoreus naevius

One lone bird all fluffed up against the cold on Hallowe'en day.  

The Varied Thrush doesn't usually overwinter here.  I've never seen one during the winter months, and I'm not sure what occurred to make this particular bird stay behind.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ruffed Grouse

Bonasa umbellus

This Ruffed Grouse was perched in a saskatoon berry bush trying to reach the berries.  It is amazing how such a big bird can manoeuvre along a slender branch without toppling off.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta Carolinensis

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.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mountain View

The First Snowfall

 Went out this morning and the first thing I saw was snow on Sinkut Mountain.    

Friday, August 31, 2012

Flora and Fauna

Red Fox

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.
  • Red Foxes are omnivores

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birds of the Forest

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
I believe this is a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  This is my first time seeing one.

Friday, April 13, 2012


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. 

*Juncos eat mainly grass seeds and also insects.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring is in the Air

I have seen this pair of crows many times in recent weeks.  They are always together or within sight of one another and no doubt are building a nest somewhere close by.

American Crows are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds (source: BirdWeb)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Migration

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.

Trumpeter Swans

Saturday, March 31, 2012

On This Spring Morning

I hear our largest woodpecker loudly calling from the forest.  Locating him is not that hard to do.  Here he is drumming on a hollow tree.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Black-capped Chickadee

busy shelling a sunflower seed on a sunny afternoon

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bird of Prey

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
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.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012