Hello again, nice to see you all! I thought I would get anyone who follows my stories and adventures caught up on some recent wild moments.
How far are we into Spring now? Almost 3 weeks? Sure doesn't feel like it, eh? But if you pay attention to nature, despite the cold temperatures and the threat of snow, freezing rain and ice pellets falling on Toronto in the morning (April 11th), you will know Spring is here.
A male American Robin I blogged about last year has returned once again, making this his 4th Spring to be with us. I've been keeping eyes and ears open for him the past few weeks and last Tuesday he made his presence be known to me with his assertive "I'm here!" call in the yard, and racing to one of his feeding spots I've made for him over the years. We are very happy to have him back for another season! If you missed the blog from last year, here it is, just click here.
My little friend enjoying sliced grapes I've been offering to him.
And this week we had another treat. We had the very first ever Song Sparrow visiting our yard, or the first we know of. I first noticed a little bird foraging out back the other day and knew he was different, even though at the distance he was just a lil brown job as some birders say. A skittish little one he be, so it took a bit of time, but I was able to confirm him to be a Song Sparrow. I made him a Facebook status right away, and wished for him to sing to us out back. Well, my wish came true as I've been awoken the last 2 mornings to his beautiful song outside our house. And I do mean I have been awoken to it... waking up, not out of bed yet, coming to life, and my ears tune in to his song before my eyes adjust to the dim morning light. He's given me the drive to get outside almost immediately for a better listen to his song. He's not one for the bird feeders but is helping clean up the grounds of spilled seeds. And he's been belting out his song quite steadily which I am totally enjoying.
A Song Sparrow I saw at the park. Our visiting one is very skittish.
Pierre celebrated his 8 month anniversary with us on March 21st. He was very sporadic with his visits through the winter that I can only blame on the cold temperatures and threats from the hunting Hawks. But ever since I returned from my Alberta trip over Easter weekend, he's been at the back door every morning waiting. He's not keen on the attention I am giving other birds right now, like my friend the Robin, who I try to ensure eats every visit while I scare off the Starlings who enjoy much of the same foods. Pierre gets quite loud with his cooing as he tries to get my attention. It's actually quite comical to see (and hear). The eye contact, the circling around my feet or in my general area and first instant that my arm is stretched out, he is flying onto it. Silly bird.
He looks confused to me, or annoyed that he must eat off the deck, and not from my hand here while I tend to the Robin.
And what a difference in the colors depending on the lighting. He's got a very full crop in the lower photo.
Ya, what a Pierre! Who ever thought a wild Pigeon could get one's attention and steal a bit of their heart? Here's a funny couple pics. One is Pierre and I. The other is Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and perhaps his own Pierre? I laughed, and still do at that shot. Actually found it a few years ago when there was this "doppelganger" week on Facebook and people were to post celebrity look-a-like shots. Now, having this bond with Pierre, the Mustaine photo is even more of a likeness to me these days.
And over Easter weekend, I was in Okotoks Alberta visiting Angie who was out there a couple days before me, and meeting her brother and his family for the first time. Of course we got a little birding in while out there (I wish I brought the Sigma 500mm). We visited the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. I got a lifer in way of the Magpies in Calgary. Angie got a lifer in way of Bohemian Waxwings. And I feel this is a lifer as well... red shafted Northern Flicker. We have the yellow shafted in Toronto. The real difference is our male Northern Flickers have a black mustache while their males have a red one. It's enough of a difference to me to make it a lifer while some disagree. What'eva!
red shafted Northern Flicker
one of many Magpies we saw, and a lot of nest building going on with them all
A mammal lifer for me out there was the Richardson's Ground Squirrel, or as locals put it... the Gopher.
And also with this trip, Angie was delighted to be able to have her nieces hand feed some Black-capped Chickadees for their very first time ever. They enjoyed it immensely; and so did her brother and his wife! I mean, who doesn't enjoy such a personal moment with the wild world? Chickadees are awesome little birds. It's my stress reliever and escape to hang with them and feed 'em; has been for years, even before I was into birds. It's just something I did.
Last bit has to do with the little Northern Saw-whet Owl I picked up off the road the other week and buried in the back yard. Almost 2 weeks later something came along in the middle of the night, dug up the Owl and ate it! What the hell is up with that? The grave was shallow since the ground was still frozen, maybe a foot down; so I placed a couple cinder blocks over afterwards. And then comes along who knows what, perhaps a 'Possum, and dug down from both sides of the blocks, to get at the Owl's little body beneath. I found the holes the other morning and lots of Owl feathers blowing around. I was quite sad (and shocked) at first; but now I see it as the Owl has served a purpose in death by feeding another creature instead of getting smeared all over the road. If you missed that blog, here it is, just click here
Northern Saw-whet Owl. I kinda like the darkness of this photo I took.
Thanks for giving this a view. Hope it reads well as I've been up for about 17 hours now and the "Whisky Wednesday" shot is making me pretty relaxed.