Crows

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I’ve been watching a nest of Crows at work. The mother was quite throughout, she sat on the eggs only to leave for a short while. Once the eggs hatched she was constantly busy going back and forth for food for the hatchlings. It rained a lot and there were worms on the pavement, plenty to choose from.

I had to climb to the third floor to see them. Sometimes my work didn’t take me there, but I did it anyway each day. I always said I’d bring my camera, but I didn’t.

Every time I looked at those birds I couldn’t get over how much bigger they got, day after day.

Today they sat on the edges of the nest, all three black and shiny, confident,  if they are lucky they will always be so, the mother on a branch above, her eye on me, trusting, but knowing I can never be trusted.

They looked at me. It’s said Crows can recognize faces, I wondered how those wings worked and when they will figure out they can fly.

down the valley

RCE_5065The snow covered mountains are over 130km away. There is a haze just above the lowest ridge. Woodstoves I suspect as it was a chilly morning.

More than a few years ago I would look south down the valley and wonder if the haze at the horizon was pollution? And was it there the year before or the last time I looked? It would glow orange. Of course we get our share of pollution when the forests are on fire during the summer months. I’m talking about the rest of the year.

Much of industry is carried on south of us where the majority of the population resides. It could be that I have been missing them, but the skies seem exceptionally blue at the horizons where smoke is most noticeable.

Regardless, it was a beautiful blue day. I can’t help but think we are going to be a more mindful society after this threat passes. I know this; the blue skies sure make the birds feel better, like always, they can be trusted.

Early April

RCE_4940A Western Meadowlark, the first of the season, cheers on spring.

Fresh snow the last couple mornings. It is sure to green things up as it melts in the afternoon. Plenty of snow in the mountains keeping us along the lower reaches. It will feel good to get in the high country where the rocks reach the sky, ’till then we will take it one step at a time.

RCE_4934Willow keeps an ear and eye out for rodents busy under the snow. 

Yet to see a woodtick, yet they are sure to be around. Lisa checks Willow over after every outing.

RCE_4951The buds will soon overtake the ice.

The garden is starting to call. The frost is still about eight inches down. It will need digging when the pitch fork goes tine deep. Since we have extra time these days there will be no excuse to get lettuce, beets, carrots and peas in early.

RCE_4909Composted manure waiting to be spread on the garden.

The cannabis and tomatoes have been started inside. There are plenty of extras as they may come in handy as currency during these strange days. One Durban Poison plant equals ten pounds of asparagus. It all depends on what people have extra.

_LME4906Spent part of the day in the studio cutting paper for Lisa to print.

The birds were active in the fresh snow, calling to one another, showing off, getting ready to pair off and nest. It was good to see them. Sometimes you get lucky.

 

mid march

CRW_0012Trumpeter Swans, just passing through.

Just about time to start some seeds inside.

CRW_0025Canada Geese, sailing north.

knocking

CRW_0044igA Pileated Woodpecker on the good neighbours feeder.

mid January

CRW_0010Not much for blue sky even through the -20°c stretch. Hopefully February will clear for the Milky Way to rise sideways adjacent to the mountain tops and church steeples.

Spring, just before it leaves winter, is aways away yet.

Winter Birds

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A Bald Eagle, sitting on an osprey nest, hunting. Keeping an eye on the fishing shacks. Opportunity knocks when a fisherman throws a Pike Minnow on the ice.

It was whistling to two others circling the lake. Also keeping a sharp eye on me, making sure it was only a camera and not a gun.

The Osprey nest platforms are man made to keep them from building on power poles. Of course the Ospreys are wintering in Mexico at this time of year so they don’t mind the intrusion. Come spring it will be a different story.

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A herd of Bohemian Waxwings get ready to swoop down into a berry tree. Such a treat to watch. Their chirps fill the sky while coasting onto a perch, and what voracious eaters, they can strip a tree in no time sometimes passing the berries back and forth and even getting drunk on the fermented fruit. Can you imagine the thrill of flying under the influence? Of course you would have to be wary of those Bald Eagles.

American Dipper

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Lisa and I had breakfast up the creek. Willow ran hither and yon, nose down then up, sniffing tracks and tracing birdcall.

We saw Bald Eagles on a freshly killed deer. They flew as soon as I put the camera up. I didn’t pursue the photo by camping out near the deer. Although the temperature is only -8°c, I shouldn’t be interrupting a feast of much needed energy for these animals. We moved on so they could return.

Once above the creek we spotted the tell tale rings on the side of a pond; an American Dipper. They are fun to watch, we hiked down to creek bottom where it dipped and flitted oblivious to us. I snapped a couple photos. Willow barked but it had little effect on the happy Water Ouzel.

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The bird with the short tail is often seen alone or in pairs. I know I have a good photo when I am able to photography it’s white eyelid. This morning the light was low, with snow falling, I wasn’t able to capture any sharp photos. That is okay. It’s the encounter that is cherished. These photos will serve as a reminder of our luck on this fine day.

Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads these posts and looks at the photos. I appreciate it. Lisa and I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season. All the best in 2020. Take care out there.  Bob

looking for eagles

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Not a lot of snow but enough to shovel each day. We went looking for eagles after work in the last of the light. There was only a lone Magpie picking at the remains left over from the Eagles. How I enjoyed watching these animals when I was a youngster. Their flash and gregarious call. Flying from branch to branch above the nest. Under the nest were half eaten fish, small bones, and pieces of birds; ducks by the looks of it. It must be good to be an Eagle. Willow took advantage, rolling on anything that smelled, mostly fish, but carried a ducks wingspan for a length, before I scolded, and demanded she dropped it. She gets sick on feathers. Those Eagles like to spread the love, discounting fish, rodents and any bird smaller than them, of course.

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Venus and Saturn sat above the mountain at dusk. Venus is unmistakeable in evening or dawn either east or west. It’s hard not to be roused by it’s sight, hanging above the ridges against a not yet dark sky.

Lisa gave Willow a bath when we arrived home.

Very fine day,

storing it up

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The Chickadees have been busy in the remaining sunflowers. I put a couple large heads on the deck so we can watch the tough little birds do their business. They fly from the garden, to the deck, to the trees where they hide the seed for future consumption, presumably when the cold and snow hits and food is scarce.

A Downey Woodpecker has been watching them and I wonder if he will be the beneficiary of all their hard work.

Like all of nature these small birds seem to work extra hard just to survive. They hide ten times what they will need, because they know most of it will be gone when they need it.

A Turtle lays a hundred eggs and only a small number survive. A tree produces many cones, some fall and lay dormant, some are eaten by birds. Some sprout and are trampled and die or don’t get enough light. Sometimes it takes a lightening strike or fire to clear the brush and let them survive. Without going ‘above and beyond’ perhaps all would have died out by now.

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Then there is us. Humans are the cruelest animal, it is our nature to wreak havoc on animals, resources and the natural world, because we feel we are somehow above or separate from the trees and fish and even the coal in the ground. It’s because, like every other living thing, we guard our young. For them, we produce and consume much more than is required. In this moment of time we have gotten too good at being cruel. All of our seeds are still in the trees, we have ten times more than we need, but we’ve killed off all the woodpeckers.

The last 200 years, even the last 2000 years is such a small amount of time for nature. It is our hubris, maybe even our nature and our weakness, to think we are on top, or somehow in control.