late dry may

CRW_0030A small swallow enjoying the evening light.

It has threatened rain all day. Other than a few scattered drops it has stayed away. So far, this has been a dry spring, perhaps we will get our precipitation in June. June can be wet. However, I fear we are in for another dry summer.

mid April

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Lisa and I had breakfast in the mountains this morning. There was an inch of fresh wet snow that squeaked underfoot. Willow ran rampant. Every track was the first of the day.

We heard the drumming of a Piliated Woodpecker. He was kind enough to pose for a photo and even followed us along on our walk. Willow tried to put the run on him without success. Why would he be bothered by a small, seemingly clumsy fur ball stuck on the ground?

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Once the sun started to burn off the cloud the Pine Siskins and Chickadees started singing, jumping from branch to branch faster than my camera could follow.

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The Ospreys are back. It is amazing how quickly they appear after the ice is off Lake Windermere. They are busy on their nests. Platforms are built on poles around the lake so the hawks won’t build nests on power poles. Many years ago, before the platforms, there were plenty of power outages and fried birds.

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I raked the lawn yesterday and it has almost instantly started to green up. The rhubarb is starting to poke through. Soon we will be cursing the heat. But for now the sun feels good on our faces. Very fine day.

 

 

 

between seasons

CRW_00144smWhich way to go?

This is spring. Lisa and I had snow during breakfast in the mountains this morning. We huddled while Willow hunted. The thawing winter smells must be wonderful for her. The clouds shine every shade of grey. Birds sing from thick once and awhile they let us see them. Every now and again the sun shines through, warming us up. Still it was chilly enough to put a small fire on to warm the house.

CRW_0014Western Meadowlark letting it’s voice be heard.

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.

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.