The willow by the pond is putting forth catkins! The unusually warm (for Ottawa in winter)weather is likely responsible.
I decided to take this shot because it shows the two colour phases of the grey squirrel. The grey, from whence the species takes it name, in front, and the melanistic phase behind. Notice also how rufous the grey is? Many greys, including the melanistic phases, can often show much rufous colouring.
Bird feeder, Ash woods
This pretty little feeder is one of two made for us by Gord Belyea. They are in the Ash woods, alongside the trail, there for anyone who wants to put a handful of seeds in them. We know that many people do bring seed to the garden when they walk around, so they might be pleased to have a place to put it. Both feeders were active, this one more so as it still has a good pile of seeds in it.
A crow has been active along the edge of the pond, quite possibly searching for seeds from the weeds growing just outside of photo range.
This red was in quite a state! He had just finished chasing an interloper away from his territory in the ravine. I watched him chase the other red along the ravine, up the slope, across the trail, and through the sumac stand above the pond. The other red kept going, and this one stopped and climbed onto a sumac where he gave vent to his annoyance :-)
A close up of one of the poplar trunks the beaver has chewed on. YOu can see individual tooth marks on this log.
It was a bright, sunny, but very cold day at FWG. The temperature was -10, but with the wind, it was apparently closer to -20c. It certainly felt like it. There were very few visitors to the garden and I think I saw two during my hour+ there. Not much activity anywhere, but I did see a robin, a mourning dove, a few cardinals, lots of chickadees (of course), and a few house finches. Red squirrels and grey were active. And of course, tracks in the snow tell us who else has been out and about.
Here, there is some open water near the shore of the pond, where the beaver has been active until recently. He is using the food he stored before freeze-up to help him through the winter. On the left of the photo, you can see a submerged log, one of the poplar trees he cut down. It has been stripped of bark.
FWG in the early morning
Jeewa was at the FWG early this morning and found a winter wonderland. She said everything was crystallized, plants, leaves, grasses and bark, all covered in white crystals. The garden was transformed.
What a magical place the garden becomes when coated with crystals like this. The land of the Snow Queen!
A landscape in white
Another view of the transformed landscape that is garden under a crystalline cover.
Crystallized Pine branch
Even the most ordinary and commonplace of things become magical in conditions like this.
Amur maple keys
A beautiful capture of these maple keys outlined in ice crystals. Although a non-native species, the maple keys are an important part of the diet of squirrels and birds.