pine grosbeak

grosbeak copy

This guy was singing for some loving. Spring is in the air. It was a beautiful song. I heard him before I saw him.

He wasn’t as enamoured with me as I was with him. I snapped a quick photo and off he went.

Sometimes you get lucky. I hope the same for him.

birdsong

RCE_2431A White-Winged Crossbill makes a landing.

Willow and I were up into the mountains once work was complete.

The day with bright sunshine reached 10°c. The snow, in the valley bottom, is melting with nowhere to go. Big puddles reflect the blue sky. Soon the frost will come out of the ground and the water will be absorbed where it can do some good.

_LME0075Sun halo. Caused by ice crystals in the air.

Willow and I walked a frozen snowmobile path into the mountains. The birds, numerous, chirped in unison, but most refused to be seen. It’s hard to consider yourself a smart animal in their company, under the spruce, rock and snow while they rule from above, laughing at our plight nature inflicted.

CRW_0012A Pine Siskin, responsible for the trees going ‘zzzweeeet’!

Once off the path I sunk up to my knee. I remembered being young, setting off in the morning in the cold, before the sun cleared the mountains, walking easy on top of the snow, only to find the same snow soft once the afternoon took over, and having to slog back slowly home, taking twice the time for the same distance.

RCE_2442.jpgColour among the buds.

I kept the windows open on the ride home listening for song.

CRW_0015A couple of Crossbills commission last years’ copious cone crop.

Very fine morning.

healing

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I appreciate a good fist fight between two folks, both right, both lacking stamina and both willing to say they might have been wrong.

***

I remember my hands smelled like my father’s aftershave after steering the old Scout.

***

The day ain’t never done before plenty of hard work. That’s never changed. 

***

To see it now, broken down. The nails in the stems of the trees. The ripped billows, sheets stolen for our hammocks. The pails, dry but ready just in case of a fire. 

***

Far and away. The lake and mountains. The flood and riverbanks. 

It’s hard to imagine what we imagine now.

ever-present mountains

CRW_0009Wilmer

The March winds are starting to blow. It won’t be long the ice and snow will break up, turning every patch of standing earth wet and muddy.

The birds have been singing and I even saw a few young Bighorn rams clacking heads. It’s good to practice the the fight and fuck so when they get older they’ll be good at it. It’s the same for humans whether we think so or not!

early march

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Lisa and I took in an indoor ball game at the brand new recreation centre at Akisqunik. It was good to see some friends and kids of friends we grew up with, some friends now sadly gone. To see their children’s smiles really took us back. We are helping artist, Jason Botkin with material for the incredible mural he is creating on the walls of the centre. 

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Show off

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There mornings are brilliant but a chilly -28°. The afternoons warm to about -3. These are fantastic days when spring is trying to bust through.

This male Northern Flicker knows the score. He is banging on the top of the pole getting the metal parts singing with vibration. He is a real show off, securing the first of the sunshine, trying to attract a mate.

When I was a kid we used to have a Flicker that rapped on our metal chimney cap. It made a heck of a racket throughout the house.

To all of our delight my father used to sing:

The woodpecker pecked
on the school house door.
He pecked and he pecked
till his pecker was sore.

 

crossbill

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This is a a not so great picture of a Red Crossbill, taken from a long way away in bad light.

Still I was happy to get it. It was taken hell-and-gone behind Swansea, up the creek.

I always wondered about crossbills. Were their beaks a mistake of nature. Did God screw up after a night of drinking with the Devil both of them trying to gain insight into each others character?

Why else would they have that look. Beaks crossed in some kind of awkward grin.

Red Crossbills are found at the top of spruce using their perfectly shaped mandibles separating cones from the tender seed which they eat.

Spruce, fir, tamarack and pine produce more cones than needed. Plenty of squirrels take care of the excess along with other animals.

What they don’t get, the ones high on the trees, the Crossbill take care of.

I don’t care who’s in charge. It’s nice to know there ain’t any mistakes.