Monday, January 9, 2012

Hoary Redpoll

We have about 100 Common Redpoll coming to the feeders this year. Yesterday while looking through the bunch I spotted this little guy, if you are lucky if you have a bunch of Common Redpoll there will be at least one of these, they look the same almost but a really a separate species with no interbreeding. Once you see him it is easy to pick him out, much whiter overall with a white rump and very little streaking on the breast, and a light wash of pink.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Year of the Hawk Owl

This seems to be a big year for Northern Hawk Owls. I have seen 5 in the last couple of weeks. This one has been hanging around our house and today we got to watch it catch a Vole by diving into the snow and grabbing it. 2 weeks ago I had it and a Short-eared Owl close together, with the SEOW hunting over the field and the NOHO sitting in a tree watching.
One of my first birds of the new year was a Coopers Hawk, that took and plucked Hairy woodpecker at Rays feeder as we were sitting drinking our morning coffee. It spent quite some time on the ground plucking the woodpecker, before flying off to some secluded spot to feed in peace.
Our New Years day big day turned up 17 species on a cold windy and snowy day. We started at Rays feeder with 8 species, with the Coopers being the bird of the day. A trip to the dump got us Bald Eagle, Starling, and while walking out I spotted the only Pine Grosbeak we got for the day. Lou Parents fields were a bust as it was snowing and blowing so hard we could hardly see the road. The last birds of the day were 2 Eurasian Collared Doves at Kim Trombley's feeders. We called it a day at about 15:00 due to the fact we could not see or hear much in the wind and snow.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mount Pope day

Snowshoed up the Mount Pope trail today, it was a beautiful day with -4 temp and bright blue sky. The trail Was quite icy and I was tired by the time I got to the lookout at 1.5k. Quite different from 2 weeks ago when sharon and I broke trail through knee deep new snow. Sharon didn't make the walk today due to an injured foot, She was not very happy to be riding the exercise bike instead walking up the mountain with me.
There were very few birds on the walk today, heard one American Three-toed Woodpecker, a few Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees and a Piliated Woodpecker flew over calling.
the walk down was so slippery I took the snowshoes off and walked down without them for safety, I really hate getting hurt, and a fall on that trail would certainly hurt.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Bear Tracks

Went for a walk today and found the tracks of a bear that wondered through our property. This is a very big Black Bear, the lens cover from my camera is 3" wide and the track is 2 1/2 times as wide.

We walked up the Mount Pope trail to the lower lookout, about 1.3k or 7/8 of a mile. It is a fairly hard uphill walk, but we were lucky that it was very warm for the last couple of day so most of the snow has melted.
There were a few Brown creepers, Golden-crowned Creepers, Black-capped Chickadees and Mountain Chickadees on the walk, along with a American Three-toed Woodpecker and several Common Ravens. The mountain has lots of dead Pine trees so the Woodpecker population is greater than a normal year.
We walked up to the top of the Mountain in October for the third time this year, a 13k return trip that takes us about 7 or 8 hours to do. We think with Sharons 2 hip replacements and my fake knee we are doing pretty good wit our walks.
The walk up is always a surprise, we never know what we will see, this little half grown Spruce Grouse was only 5 feet off the trail along with 2 others. We also spotted a Ruffed Grouse and a Dusky Grouse along the trail.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ice Fog. Non-birding post

For the last few days we have had morning ice fog which is cold, damp and it sticks to everything it touches. This is very common in February with short cold and dreary days. When the sun comes out this can make for very beautiful crystal formations on all the twigs and grasses.

Walking with the sun sparkling over everything is very impressive with feathers of frost coating all the twigs and wires making this a real treat after all the grey featureless days days we have had this February.

This week we had a feast at the school hoasted by one of the 4 first nation clans at the school, with much good food, Bannock, different fish and traditional foods. The kitchen was very busy all morning with the cooking and prep for the feast. The school was full of good smells and fun and laughter as the food was being prepared.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Walk on the river

The Common Redpolls have taken over my feeders making me fill them more often than I want to, Getting very expensive because they like the shelled seeds and waste a lot.
Took a walk along the river this morning in -16 temps with a wind chill of about -20. I was hoping to see an American Dipper for my year list but no luck. Did see some Common Merganser
I also spotted some Common Goldeneye mixed groups. managed a few poor shots of them.
The river ice can be quite unpredictable with changing temps, sometime giving you a rude surprise. I don't know if the people making these tracks were on the ice when it broke off or not, if they were they got a little surprise. The river was quite cold with a bit of a wind blowing and everywhere there was calm waters it was frozen. The open areas looked very cold but the birds are ok as long as they can find enough to eat.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It got down to -18c last night after a couple of weeks of unseasonably warm weather. One of my chores for today was filling the woodbox, so I decided to do it in one load. This is an engineering masterpiece even if I do say so myself.
My feeders are very busy right now with the cold temps. I have Evening and Pine Grossbeaks, Many Common Redpolls 50+, lots of Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted nuthatch, Downy, Hairy and Piliated Woodpeckers and of course the Common Magpies coming to steal the beef fat I put in the suet feeders. WE only have about 15cm of snow on the ground compared to about 80cm we had at this time last year which makes foraging for food a little easier for the birds.
On my walk today there were many animal tracks on the road including Mouse, Weasel, Martin Squirrel,Snowshoe Hare, Coyote, wolf, Deer, Moose and of course Ruffed Grouse. The walk was brisk with about -8 temp, clear skys and bright sunshine Made photography a challenge with the snow fooling the exposure meter.