Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

December 31, 2021

Happy New Year! Big News!

Just stopping in to wish you all a very happy new year.  I had a wonderful surprise today when a squirrel came charging up to me when I stepped out into our backyard.  He ran around my feet, grabbed my pant leg and looked up at me.  I thought to myself "Ripper?" as I looked down at him, trying to check his right ear for the rip.  As I knelt down, he gently jumped onto my hand.  OMFG!  It IS Ripper!

Ripper has been missing for 5 months.  I last him in the first days of August and then he just vanished.  I kept an eye out for him with my daily wanderings about the yard before work.  That's the thing about making friends with your wild neighbours, there comes a time when they just don't come back.  You never really knows what happens to them most times.

Of course I never forgot about him and was just thankful for the years he was here and all the fun we had out there.  He was a very accommodating squirrel for me with my Santa hat and Halloween mask photo sessions.

So having him show up today, on New Year's Eve day is pretty epic.  What a wonderful end to a difficult year!

Welcome home Ripper!  If only you could tell me where you have been.

Again, I want to wish you all a very happy new year.  See you in 2022 for more of my sightings and adventures.


December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thanks for following me along with my stories.  I was looking at Facebook memories the last couple days and some of the pictures from past years put a smile on my face but also pulled on my heart strings just a little.  I do my best to just be grateful for the time I had with these friends of mine.  It is a shame that they just don't live nearly as long as us.

No, not Pierre here but one of my buds that came to be in the years to follow.  He was a very calm accommodating pal during my silly moments.  We named him Sherman.

Our newer backyard pal Gulliver enjoys the one on one time too.  Not every pigeon likes the Santa hat.

Then there's Ripper.  He disappeared late this summer after over 4 years of being such a great backyard friend.  I miss him so much as he was always a great distraction from the crap in the world.

The fun with Meadow.  Merry and Molly try to be as good as Meadow; key word is try.  LOL!

Animals are an important part of my life.  I assume they are with you who follow my blogs.  Can't imagine a world without them, eh?  They make every moment special and these holidays a little more fun.

Anyway, all the best to you all.  I'm sure you have better things to do than be on here reading my blog.


December 21, 2021

Gift From Nature

For the third time in 5 years on the third week of December we have been blessed to have an eastern screech owl visit our backyard and spend time in an owl box.  Only this time around it wasn't just a one day visit as the owl came back for a second day!  Here's a little bit about the weekend with this owl.

On Friday night I had set up my trail cam down back as I am monitoring that opossum house which I recently blogged about.  So come Saturday morning, before coffee, I stumble outside to retrieve the camera in a half awake state.

I'm walking down the yard, taking in the crisp morning air and getting my bearings.  I'm listening to the first birds of the day as it's a count day for project feeder watch.  I'm mere feet from the trail cam when I look up and ahead, and notice there's an owl looking at me from the box down there.  For a moment I froze as our eyes met.  I was very surprised the owl did not flush as I was so close to it.  This box I lazily set up in the fall after I switched it out with the other newer box.  This box is maybe 8 ft from the ground which is quite low for a screech owl to be using.

After I picked my jaw up from the ground, I slowly back stepped away.  Once I was far enough away, I turned around and ran back to the house.  I had to tell Angie about our backyard visitor as well as get my camera.  She had a good look at it from the kitchen window with the binoculars.  I got some decent shots despite how dark it was outside and the snow was starting to come down.  Then I went back inside and we just monitored from the house.  The owl sat at the edge of the box for the next hour before ducking down inside.

We had to leave for the afternoon around 2 PM and wouldn't be back until later in the evening.  I knew we were going to miss seeing the owl leave the box at dark.  After we got home, I set up the trail camera pointed to the box, hoping it might catch the owl returning at some point through the night.  I was a little sad the following morning when I checked the cam pictures and there was no activity.

Sunday was a usual day for us, going for a nature walk before doing things around the house.  We talked about that owl a few times throughout the day.  I mean, how could we not?  We had an owl in the yard!

Late in the afternoon I happened to be looking out the kitchen window and thought something looked different about the other owl box.  I put the binoculars up to it and was over the moon with excitement that the owl did come back and it went to this other box.  This other box is much more suited for a screech owl as there is predator protection beneath the box which is stove pipe wrapped around the tree trunk so no creatures can climb up and disturb or harm the owl.  There are no branches nearby where a squirrel could jump from to get up to the box.  The box is at least 15 ft off the ground.

I called Angie out to the kitchen so she could see.  I then stepped out the front of the house, sneaking up the side so I could take some photos from the back corner of the house.  The owl just sat at the entry hole, all squint eyed and paid little notice to me. 

From there, I went back inside, sat in my chair by the window and was glued to it until darkness set in when I could just make out when the owl took flight and flew to the back of the yard, disappearing in the tall cedars next door.

Monday I went to work.  Angie is off on Christmas break so she kept watch throughout the day to see if the bird appeared at either box.  She didn't see him.

Last night I set up the trail cam and pointed it at the second box which I hoped it would continue to use.  Unfortunately no sign of the bird coming in at any point through the night.

Two days of the owl here is better than one.  We hope for a return from it through the winter months especially if the weather turns cold and snowy.

All the birds and animals that visit us are gifts from nature but there's something about getting an owl.  Such mystical creatures that most people don't get to see. 

If he does come back, you all will read about it here.

December 7, 2021

New Opossum Shelter

We have two Virginia opossums coming around although I am certain there are three.  We've got a small dog house down back behind the shed that I packed with straw as an available shelter for an opossum or any other creature to use.  I've seen them use it but so do the raccoons and skunks on occasion.  

Last week while we were on vacation, I was out back one night and got the idea to set up another potential 'possum place.  I've had a wooden box out there for a while now and decided it might be good to try and set it up for the creatures, if they need a place to hide.  It was a rather quick set up, placing the box down back, out of sight, filling a good portion of it with leaves, concealing the box with various odds and sods of wood, branches, more leaves and so on.

I've been setting up the trail cam near this new house most nights and it took no time for the opossums (and others) to find it.  Seeing these images below drive me crazy (in a good way) and give me hope that one will stick around our yard more often.  Anyone who knows me (and Angie) as well as our wildlife friendly backyard, knows this would be a great safe place for one.

Here is one on the third night at 1:21 am.

He, or another is back an hour later.

Now at almost 7:30am.  He didn't spend the day in the box but I am thinking he lives very close by to still be around as daylight is almost upon us.  

Here is the next night.

An early riser, just before 7pm.

Almost 3 hours later.

Away he goes.

Two and a half hours later.

A half hour later he's going back to the box.

Now here is another regular, he's got no tail.  I've been catching this one on the cam for well over a month now.

Here's the next night.  Just a couple shots.  I think you've seen enough for now, right?

Peek-a-boo at 2:25am.

Peek-a-boo again about 3 hours later.

There's at least 3 skunks coming around the backyards the last while and I am pretty sure there's at least 5 raccoons but there could be more.  I wonder if it is because our backyard is such a busy spot that they won't use the box?  Maybe I need to conceal it more?  There's lots of old sheds and garages surrounding, many places for the animals to burrow under.

Oh well, at least I am offering them more shelter if need be.

A lot of people have weird thoughts and misunderstandings towards the opossum.  Such ugly animals, giant rats, probably have rabies, etc.  If only they would take the time out to research them and learn.  

Like seriously, look how cute these guys are!  Both of them were in our backyard.

And baby opossums...  OMFG!  I've yet to see one in the wild.  I would just die.  I *borrowed* this image from Google.

Both Angie and I hope to see a mother opossum with young in our backyard one of these days.  Providing them with shelter could help make this happen.

Here's some bits about the pros of having opossums around our backyards.

Stay tuned for future updates as I have them.

December 1, 2021

Anniversary Surprise

So yesterday, November 30th, was Angie and I's 9th wedding anniversary. 

We have the week booked off for vacation time and just doing a bit of this and that, here and there throughout the week.  We're enjoying the extra time together and not having to go to work.

At some point in the afternoon of the 30th I step out back and in flies a pigeon.  It was Charlie!  I hadn't seen Charlie in roughly 2 months.  She's been hiding away from here due to the hawk activity, at least that's how I see things.  Some of the birds do this through the winter months.  You may recall Charlie disappeared for a really long spell last winter, 70+ days I believe, maybe 90 (I'd have to look back for a more accurate number but it was a very long time).  I thought she was gone for good but one day she returned, landing on her usual spot outside the back door on the clothes line post.  Yesterday she did exactly that as well.

On our wedding morning, before we started the ceremony in the kitchen, I was having a time out with Pierre at the back door.  I joke that he was one of our witnesses, perhaps even my best man.  There were more animals present at our wedding than humans.  Pierre is no longer with us but this is one of those special memories of him that I will never forget.  That's the clothesline post behind us in the picture.

Having Charlie here with me on our anniversary was nice, especially after her absence. 

I know Pierre was here in spirit.

I don't seem to get a lot of love with my blogs about the pigeons but that's okay.  These birds certainly did change me as a person and it all started with my big boy.

I aim to be back with another blog next week, sharing a handful of catch up bits of some cool creature sightings the last few weeks.  

See you soon!

November 16, 2021

I Tried

The other Saturday a few pigeons came to visit.  Nothing unusual there, right?  It's that time of year where the birds aren't all that regular with visits.  I know it's due to the return of the cooper's hawks for the winter.  I miss my buddies, especially those who come to my hand for a feed.  But I am still very nice to any others who may show up.

So this particular Saturday afternoon I take notice to one bird who is not acting like the others.  He spent all his time on the ground, didn't flutter off when I walked past him and he even spent a lot of alone time out there, zoning in the sun.  Then he would feed, drink and mingle with the others, acting all normal again.  Hmmmm?

Angie and I had to go out for a couple hours and I figured to just leave him be until we got back, then assess the situation.

We returned home late in the afternoon.  It was almost dusk.  All the pigeons had gone off to roost for the night except for this one bird.  As I walked out to the yard, I could see him down at the back trying to take flight over the fence.  Unfortunately he could not and just hit the fence again and again.  Awww, poor fellow.  I knew he needed help, and by that I don't mean getting over the fence, but some actual medical attention.  I left a message with the Toronto Wildlife Centre and then got to work on trying to catch him.

The pigeon was sitting still when I walked by him and I went for a grab.  He perked right up as he caught on to what I was doing and made a run for it under our raised shed.  BUGGER!  Okay, I took his alertness and speed as a positive.

I waited it out alongside of the shed, hoping for another attempt to grab him since it was getting dark.  Was he just going to hide under there for the night?  It was a long 10 minutes or so before he finally came back out and headed straight for the fence.  I was faster than him this time, catching him and putting him in my rescue carrier with a towel.

Toronto Wildlife returned my call.  A little discussion about the bird's behaviour and they gave me the approval to bring him in...  tomorrow.  The centre was closing in 15 minutes and there was no way I could get up there in that time; it usually takes me close to 30 minutes nowadays with traffic.  Sad, eh, being only 11 km away from home.  That's Toronto for ya!

I brought the bird inside, keeping him in the carrier of course, and put him upstairs.  I left a towel over the carrier so it would be dark.  I shut the door to the upstairs so he would have an undisturbed night.  Quiet and dark are two very important things that any wild animal needs if you are housing one over night.  It lessens the stress for them.  

I got up early Sunday morning, had my coffee and didn't check on the bird until it was time to leave.  Sadly I found that he had passed away sometime overnight.  I half expected this only as my own mental preparation for the worst case outcome.  I was sad at the outcome but keep it in mind that he died in warm, quiet, dark place and not out on our back lawn, perhaps becoming a chew toy for one of the free roaming cats in the neighbourhood.

Rest in peace little dude.  I tried.

Pigeons aren't high on the list for a lot of people.  Hell, some go to such extremes as to poison or shoot the birds.  I'm on a few social media pages strictly for pigeons and it's pretty horrific what some people even in my own city of Toronto are capable of doing to these birds.  It goes unnoticed by most.  People have reported to the police and the city, as it should go under the animal cruelty act, but without concrete evidence and positively ID'ing these awful humans, nothing will be done.  I saw images of dead birds, shot, in a Scarborough shopping mall parking lot.  UGH!  Bird bodies just laying there and people walk by or just drive over them, not thinking anything about it.  WTF?!?!

Last Thursday was Remembrance Day.  I made a personal post about pigeons on our community social media page.  If I changed one person's mindset about these birds, then it was worth it.  Here is what I shared.  I copied and pasted my post from Facebook to here, sorry for the black background.  I guess my job now is to be nice to these birds, to help them when I can, and forever be a voice for them.

Wildlife Wednesday!
With tomorrow being Remembrance Day, I thought I would post something about a creature that some people love, some people despise and many probably just don't think too much about... pigeons. I too was once someone who was neither here nor there about these birds because they are all over the place and I see them every day. I didn't hate them. I would never hurt one. I even tried to help a few that I found with broken wings and other injuries over the years.
My thoughts on these birds changed (and my heart opened up) back in July 2012 when a pigeon flew into our backyard and literally jumped into our laps while Angie and I sat on the back deck having morning coffee. He visited almost daily for over 5 years, often just hanging out in the yard with us. I think it was during his second year that he started bringing in a lady friend and they were pretty much inseparable. I assume someone habituated this bird early on in his life to make him so friendly with people but for whatever reason he found, or rather chose us, and spent much of his life here, during the day anyway.
From there, as I said, things changed for me with these birds. While I am not a pigeon keeper, I have become more of an understanding voice for these birds. They are creatures just trying to live out their lives like the rest of us. They are actually very personable birds if you happen to get to know one or two on the level that I had with this guy here on my lap. They are a vital food source to the birds of prey such as cooper's hawks and peregrine falcons which we have in and around our neighbourhood.
Going back to the days of war, and the use of animals, pigeons played a huge role. Carrier pigeons were used as messenger birds. A carrier pigeon is a domesticated rock pigeon. Rock pigeons are what you see all around us. Researching pigeon war heroes, it is something to read the stories of how these birds saved so many lives by successfully getting messages across battlefields, through hails of gunfire, avoiding trained birds of prey used by the other side. Thirty two pigeons were awarded the Dickin Medal. It is known as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, which is awarded to men and women for great valour.
Here is a couple brief bits I got from Google about some of these war hero birds.
Cher Ami
In 1918, during the First World War, a French military pigeon called Cher Ami was the first to be publicly honoured for its war effort.
In October of that year the 77th Infantry Division was cut off and surrounded by German troops.
Unable to breakout, the commander made repeated attempts to appraise his headquarters of the situation, but every messenger bird he sent was either wounded or killed.
Cher Ami was the last messenger remaining bird he had. Although also wounded twice, once in the chest and once in the leg, which was almost shot off and carried the message tube, the valiant bird delivered the message.
A rescue mission was mounted and the soldiers of the 77th were saved from being either captured or killed.
The authorities recognised Cher Ami’s bravery by awarding her the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, which honours heroic service.
Sadly, Cher Ami couldn’t recover from her wounds and died the next year.
Here is a more in depth article on Cher Ami
G.I. Joe
In Italy, 1943, during the Second World War, British troops were ordered to take the town of Colvi Veccia.
The German forces were well dug in and showing strong resistance.
Believing that the British forces couldn’t oust the German troops the U.S. Command decided to flatten the town with an aerial bombardment, but they were wrong.
The British troops had already occupied the town. Due to bad communication, a messenger bird, GI Joe, was sent off.
This bird flew 20 miles in 20 twenty minutes to deliver its message.
It got there just in time, as aircraft were taxing on the runway, ready to start the air raid. The raid was called off and a fatal mistake was adverted.
GI. Joe’s flight saved the lives of not only the British troops, but an untold number of civilians that were still in the town.
Cher Ami and GI. Joe are probably the most famous of the wartime pigeons, with something about their stories striking a cord with the public, but they weren’t the only ones who were awarded honours for their bravery and service.
There are many other birds listed with incredible stories, all you have to do is Google. If this still doesn't grab you, perhaps look up service dogs or horses.
Researching the world wars, it certainly was a time that is unimaginable to most of us now. May we never forget what so many sacrificed back then.
You don't need to start throwing food to the pigeons after reading this; but maybe you won't think of them as flying rats and want to shoot them all.

November 6, 2021

Red-bellied Woodpecker

The other afternoon we had a short visit from a red-bellied woodpecker.  This is the third time that we know of one coming to visit our backyard over the years.  The first one, a few springs ago, Angie saw for a brief moment and I missed it.  Then a year later, again in the spring, another bird showed up and was at our peanut feeder for maybe 30 seconds before being flushed by the blue jays.  It did not return.  Then this one came around...

As I sat at the kitchen window having coffee with Merry on my lap, I managed to snap this photo from the window.  I was preparing to go out the front door and sneak up the side of the house to get a better picture because in my experience with this bird species, I find they aren't very tolerant of human presence.  Proof came again moments later as the lady next door stepped out into her backyard to snip some flowers, not even seeing the bird, not even being anywhere near it, but that was enough for the woodpecker to fly away.  Darn.

Fortunately about 20 minutes later he returned for another feed.  I was able to follow through with my stealth ninja plan to get a better picture and not flush him either.  I even was able to return back into the house and watch him for many more minutes at the window again.

It was almost 5:30 pm, which is getting late in the day for the birds, and he soon flew off for the night.

I had to share this cool bird visitor on social media.  I wished he would return again...  and he did!  He came for a feed again around 3:30 pm, spending about 15 minutes at the feeder again.  I just watched from the window.

Unfortunately he hasn't been back the last 2 days, not that we have seen anyway.  Project Feeder Watch starts next weekend and we're really hoping he can be added to our feeder watch species list.  Not only that, having such a unique and rather new bird species coming to the yard makes for a little bit of excitement.  Maybe it's because the weather has warmed up some?  Maybe he will come back when it gets colder again and food is not so plentiful?  Time will tell.

Are you seeing anything different in your backyard, at your feeders?

October 9, 2021

Rob's Latest Snippits

Hello.  I thought I would pop in with some quick bits on this rainy Saturday afternoon of the Thanksgiving long weekend.  I returned to work this past week and it's going good so far.  Anxiety on the first day but that was expected.  I really have to watch my posture while driving my forklift, especially how I hold my head and neck.  If I only had to work 5 or 6 hours a day, it would be easier to work myself into things again; but that's not how my work rolls.  Anyway, enough about that.  This is Rob and the animals so let's go....

Dark-eyed juncos started showing up in our backyard a couple weeks ago.  When I first heard them, I thought I was imagining things.  Then I thought I was mistaking the call for another bird.  Then I finally saw one.  Man, they are early this year.  What's up with that?  I mean, I am happy to see them again but when they are here, we know that winter is going to be here before we know it (and this was in the first week of autumn when I saw the juncos).  I haven't tried to for a photo yet.  If you are new to birds and unsure what a junco is, I attached a link at the start of this paragraph.

Then more recently, we had a nice surprise from the bird world as a small flock of purple finches briefly stopped in here.  I'm certain I counted 5 birds and one of the males sat in our holly bush, making for a nice photo.  I shot this from our back door before stepping outside as I didn't want to spook him away.  

He sampled a holly berry but ended up spitting it out.  Then he went to our fountain for a drink and a splash.  Purple finches are seldom seen in our yard.  I think this is the 4th time in almost 15 years.

A house sparrow sat in the swing over the fountain that we've had out for the hummingbirds and watched the finch.  The birds on the swing make us laugh.  We've not had a hummer on it yet but chickadees, baltimore orioles, gold finches, house sparrows and a red-breasted nuthatch have perched here this summer.

Being more mobile again, I have been able to help the Toronto Wildlife Centre get some migratory birds back on their journey after short stays in the centre due to window collisions.  It's always a great time out from my regular routine to help the centre and some birds.  I had my 600th bird release and it was a female american redstart.  Unfortunately the bird gave me only a glimpse of her as she left the paper bag and quickly disappeared in a nearby tree (leaves haven't started falling yet here in Toronto, heck, not even much colour change either).  Fortunately I took a picture of that paper bag containing #600.  Normally I don't do this but for some reason I did this time.

My 599th bird sat nicely in some nearby dogwood and I got a nice photo of it.  That bird was a northern parula.  In the big picture #599 IS just as special as #600 but me and my mini-milestones as I keep track.

We had an opossum showing up in the yard later in the summer, I may have touched upon this in a previous blog.  It's since disappeared and has been replaced by a smaller one who I have yet to see for myself but the trail cam picks it up by our back gate a few nights a week.  He comes pretty late, usually after 3 AM,  Today he was out there at 6 AM.  If I knew he was a guarantee to show up around 6, I might drag myself out of bed and wait on the steps for him.  I better not let Angie see this or she might just be the force to make this happen, well, getting me to wait outside for the opossum.  LOL!

One last bit before I go... on Friday morning before work a neighbour contacted me about a fox that showed up in her yard.  There's a blog worthy story all on it's own regarding this animal and that will be for another time soon.  Getting the invite to come over and see this animal for myself was a treat.  What a beauty!  I rarely see fox.  I only wish I brought my bigger/better lens but that's okay.  Stay tuned for this story in the next week or so.

Anyway, heading out for a very small family gathering.  

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving weekend, however you choose to spend it.

September 26, 2021

Yard Bird #82

We had our 82nd yard bird species appear on Friday afternoon.  The bird was a blackpoll warbler.  I happened to be sitting in my chair at the kitchen window as I often do, just watching out back, when I suddenly noticed a warbler like bird in the pine outside the window.  I grabbed the camera and the bins, and outside I went.

Now it is fall and many of the warbler species can be tough for many of us to ID.  This is partially why I started photographing birds very early on; to help Angie and I figure out some of the birds we were seeing in our travels.

This bird stumped me a little bit.  I asked a friend of mine his thoughts.  He threw bay-breasted or blackpoll.  He asked me if I saw the bird's feet.  If they were orange, it was a blackpoll.  Thankfully I got a lot of pictures of the bird, many crappy (which is why I kept shooting) and there was some foot and backside shots where I could see it's feet.  Definitely orange.

So that's pretty cool to have another new yard bird, eh.  Only 18 more until we hit the big 100.  I wonder if we will ever see that or not?  I don't count the birds that I see fly over our yard on the yard list.  Some do.  Not me.  That's a separate list called "from the yard".

Do you track your yard birds?

September 13, 2021

New Friend, New Yard Bird and...

Hello everyone.  I'm well on the mend (I think) and thank you to those who have reached out to me since my last blog where I touched upon my health issues.  We shall see come Wednesday with my next doctor appointment on where I am at with getting back to work, and a more normal life.  What a fun morning that will be since it will be my birthday too.  Let's hope for really good news and continued progress, moving forward with my recovery.  Besides getting back to a regular routine, having a steady pay cheque will be nice as it will be time to start feeding the birds more so as the weather cools.  I'm sure no one here wants to see a blog from me asking for peanut and seed donations (if I am still off in another month).

It's been a long, frustrating, somewhat boring 7 weeks.  I will take feeling good, if not great, and going to work over this being home, dizzy and nauseous a good chunk of the day, every day.

As always, I'm very thankful for the creatures around us.

I made a new pigeon friend the last few weeks.  He's a scrawny young bird who obviously has been taking some mental notes about how Charlie, Slate and Gandalf come to my hands and get a good feed away from the majority of other birds.  I could see him watching the birds and I.  Then one day, as I knelt down towards him, up he came to my palm.  The following day he did it again.  Then there was a lull for a couple days with some hesitancy, he'd think about it, take a fly to me but quickly back off.  He got over those fears and is now a near daily visitor.  He's even getting bolder, trying to hold his own against the bigger older birds.  Good for him!  He and Angie had a moment 2 weekends ago and she's now named him Lefty.  Why Lefty?  Because he flew to her left hand while she sat outside, and then he sat on her left knee.  Works for me.

Lefty has some really unique colouring on his wing feathers.

Let's hope he's around for a long time to come.

We had our 81st yard bird species come to us over this past weekend.  A scarlet tanager!  It was a female who made a short appearance at one of our bird baths, having a little splash.  We don't see many of this species in our travels, maybe one per migration season, and in the spring it is usually a breeding male who looks very different than this little lady.

What could have made for a funny bird story is if I went with what my SEEK app said the bird was, a painted bunting (rare for our area but not impossible).  This could have caused a frenzy, and a lot of debate, in the birding world if I reported it as such.

It's exciting to keep a yard list of the birds, especially during migration.  We're always looking, wondering what may be next to stop in here, hoping for another new species.  Birds are on the move through our area and here's a few other sightings from the last week around our home.

Blue grey gnatcatcher, sometimes we call 'em "mini-mockingbirds".

Black-throated green warbler (one of my favourites).

Blackburnian warbler.  I've seen more around our house and neighbourhood the last 2 weeks than anywhere, ever.  Certainly not as flashy as a male in breeding plumage but still nice to see.

Red-eyed vireo.  One showed up in our backyard not long after the tanager.

We've got a few weeks left with fall migration, so let's see if we get any other visitors.

The only other excitement around here is seeing this fox near our home one morning.  The fox is like my nemesis mammal, or seemingly has been over the years.  I miss spotting them in a few places where others see them.  This guy is very local to us and as well, a number of times this year, I have missed seeing him by mere minutes when I have gone for a walk.  I lucked out recently although the sighting was very brief.  We just happened to be crossing paths from some distance.  I only wish he stopped and sat for a moment, and a prettier photo came out of it.  Oh well, I am still happy I saw him.

Thanks for stopping in.  Enjoy the fall season and I will be back with more soon.


August 23, 2021


I've been home, on sick leave from work, since July 29th.  I won't get into the personal details but I am improving and believe it or not hope to be back to work sooner than later.  I miss the routine, maybe a few coworkers and of course the weekly pay cheque.

I've been home the whole time because I really can't nor do I want to do anything.  Just like through this whole damn pandemic, and now with my sick leave, I am truly thankful for our backyard and the creatures we share it with.

Ripper doesn't come around so much the last while but he was here in the first days after I went off sick.

My pigeon pals are here most days.  


Gandalf the Grey.


Churchill has been missing for a few months now.  Hopefully he's okay but I never know with most of these wild friends of mine.

We've got a cooper's hawk coming in randomly.  I've found a pile of pigeon feathers.  I saw it here with a house sparrow in it's talons.  A hawk has to eat too.

The hummingbird visits are almost daily as far as we can tell, and there's a few visiting.  Who doesn't love hummingbirds?

We have a backyard chipmunk again which is a lovely distraction from everything else when he comes around.  Look at those cheeks!

Then there's that young skunk or as I call 'em "fart kitten".  

And our raccoon neighbours who sometimes come out a little earlier than dark.

A giant swallowtail has been flying through the yard every few days.  Is it the same one or ???  I haven't been able to get a picture of it so here is one I saw another time, elsewhere.

We've found numerous cicadas in the yard the last few weeks.  They call loudly, all day, every day.

Toads have been calling all night for a couple weeks now.  I would love to find one out there in the garden but I am not looking too hard.  Here's a YouTube link to what we are hearing.

Of course Merry and Molly are pretty happy having their daddy home even though mommy works from home much of the week.  Kitty snuggles and purrs are great for the soul.

Oh Merry.

Oh Molly.

I'm thankful for all these creatures and their love or just a momentary distraction by coming to visit.

I'm looking forward to getting back to normal, even a masked pandemic normal like the last 18 months, give or take.  Wish me luck!