Friday, December 28, 2007

Birds In Our Feeder Area

Heavy snow overnight brought many hungry birds
to our feeder area this morning: three are pictured below.

a male Northern Cardinal and Tree Sparrow

female Pine Grosbeak

Monday, December 24, 2007

Red-winged Blackbird In Late December

It was quite a surprise to look out our windows this morning and see this female Red-winged Blackbird at our feeders! We had seen a couple of Blackbirds in November but they were male and we had seen very few, if any, females at our feeders this fall. I wonder where its been ? We've had very cold, unseasonably low tempera -tures most of December; readings many mornings were at -26 degrees C!. However last night was a night of wind and rain and the temperature reading this morning was at +8 Celsius in our area. I guess it flew in, or blew in, from somewhere and I'm sure our warmer tempera -tures were a welcome relief for it. It hasn't stayed around. Perhaps its taking advantage of a super, wonderful day for flying and is now moving further south. With sunny skies and above zero temperatures we will be experiencing a semi-green Christmas this year as green grass is now showing on a major portion of lawn.
I would like to wish all Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Just A Few Common Redpolls

Common Redpolls have been slow coming to our feeder area this year. Then the other day I realized probably a very good reason for that was I hadn't been providing any Nyjer seed to attract them. So off to the the feed store to buy some and while there I saw a mesh sock feeder and decided to try one of those. After hanging it; a few days later a couple of Redpolls showed up and yesterday I had four feeding from it. I noticed though that when Blue Jays flew near that part of our feeder area the Redpolls flew off and perched in branches until the Blue Jay flurry was gone. We have a lot of bigger bird activity this winter with lots of Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks, Blue Jays, two or three Hairy Wood- peckers and the occasional Starling dropping by also. I try to rearrange my feeders so that the bigger birds are concentrated in one part and the little birds in another but that is quite difficult to achieve as I only have so much space and we attracts a lot of birds some days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bohemian Waxwings

More nomadic bird visitors from the Far North arrived at our feeder area yesterday: Bohemian Waxwings! This is the first sighting I have seen of this species this season. There were two of these handsome, fruit eating birds feeding on our American Bittersweet berries just outside our windows. The name 'waxwing' is derived from the 'waxy' red tips of the secondary wing feathers. Bohemian Waxwings also display yellow and white feather edging and a cinnamon reddish-brown coloured undertail. There are lots of Bittersweet berries still left so I hope they make a return visit again soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And the Winner Is: Male Pine Grosbeaks

If I had to give an award to the species with the most surprising attendance at our feeders this late fall/ pre-winter season it would be to Pine Grosbeaks, more specifically to the male Pine Grosbeak. They are here every day in numbers of 10 or so, more or less. We have had Pine Grosbeaks other seasons but never this many males. In fact some years I hardly got a glimpse of one, and some years none, but they are lingering on this year. It used to be that as soon as all the berries from our High Bush Cranberry Trees were gone, so were the grosbeaks. This is wonderful to be able to look out my window and lesiurely take pictures of these handsome, gentle appearing birds every day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Red Squirrel

I often neglect to mention this little furry creature, this Red Squirrel, although it is a very frequent visitor to our feeder area. It loves Blackoil Sunflower seeds.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Braving Out the Storm

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Found Some! Snowbirds!

I found some Snow Buntings (aka: Snowbirds) yesterday feeding along the roadside. The problem being though is that they seemed to keep the same distance from me and my car. I moved a little closer, they moved a little further away. However, I'm going back to same location this morning for with a big winter storm looming on the horizon perhaps they are gathering their roadside seeds while they may. [shades of Robert Herrick] . With lesser traffic on a Sunday maybe I will be able to sit stationary for a while and they might come a little closer to me. That is if I can find them again!
Also maybe I can get a view of the male Pheasant that others have reported having seen within the village.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

American Tree Sparrow

If it has a brownish- rusty crown, a bicoloured bill with yellow on the lower part, and it has a dark spot on the middle of its unstreaked breast; then you are looking at an American Tree Sparrow. These little sparrows of the north migrate from their sub-arctic breeding grounds in Northern Canada and Alaska to winter in our regions as well as areas further south. These little sparrows are daily visitors to our feeder area.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Another Snowy Day: Northern Cardinal

This male Northern Cardinal is a frequent visitor; perhaps even visiting every day but as its visits are often quite brief, some days I am sure I miss sighting him. He seems to be more secure now in his surroundings and appears confident when he visibly alights upon a tree branch in full view of our windows upon his arrival. Previously when it first starting coming to our feeders it would hang around the base of the Cranberry Trees in the back portion of our feeder area.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Acrobatic Starlings

At first glance you might think that this European Starling is in the act of flying towards the suet feeder; but a click on the photo to enlarge it will reveal that its feet are actually clinging to branches as it flutters it wings to maintain balance while feeding on the bird suet in the wire cage. We have not had many Starlings at our feeder area this year but when placing the suet feeder in our trees this week it didn't take long for these two to arrive.
Seen in the composite photo above, created through the use of photo editing, the Starling's winter plumage of white-dotted feather tips on its black, glossy feathers is outstanding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Watching Deer

While having gotten out of my car to take this landscape view of the river I heard a bird to my right and upon turning to see if I could find it I encountered this White-tailed Deer watching me from the other side of the snowbank.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow Buntings

Above, from a photo taken in 2003 at Lake George, like an elusive whirlwind of snow, you just get a glimpse of them before they are gone again; swirling over the snow covered fields before alighting further afield once more. Searching for Snow Buntings yesterday I found only one group and these three snowbirds momen- tarily perched on a fence allowed me only this distant photo capture. Pictured below; one of my favourite Snow Bunting photos; taken at French Lake during the winter of 2003.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Male Common Redpoll

This handsome little finch, a male Common Redpoll, made its appearance at our feeders on Thursday of this week. Common Redpolls summer in the sub-Arctic regions of Canada but winter further south; in our region and on down to the northern U.S. The male is easily indentified as it has a rosy pink colouring across its chest while the female has little, or no red, except on its crown. Some years Redpolls are plentiful, however we had no Redpoll sightings at our feeders last year, and this is only my second Repoll sighting of this season. Hopefully I will have many more opportunites to photograph Common Redpoll as the winter progresses.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wildlife In Our Winter Woods

Five White-tailed Deer forage for food among these Cedars.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Northern Shrike After the Storm

This predatory songbird, a Northern Shrike, arrived at our feeder area yesterday in search of prey; giving an unsuccessful chase to smaller birds feeding there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fast Forward To Winter

One of the least pleasant chores of maintaining feeders during the winter is having to get out early mornings after a storm to clear away the
snow and replenish the feeders; for there are always waiting birds. It didn't take long this morning for a large flock of Evening Grosbeaks to descend upon our feeder area as soon as I had cleared away one of their favourite feeding stations.