Northern cardinal and black-capped chickadee
Chickadees, this male cardinal, a couple of crows and some house finches, were the only birds I heard/saw at the garden today. Even squirrels were scarce. Not surprising given the -17c (-23 with the wind) temperatures. This feeder is set up by the old woodlot.
The vivid red of the male cardinal really stands out, especially on a sunny day. This one was feeding constantly for quite awhile. Given how cold it was (-17c),he needed the food.
Amphibian Pond under snow
A crisp, cold, sunny day. Lots of tracks on the pond, some from dogs, but over on the left side, a couple of sets of fox tracks.
Male cardinal in birch tree
No, this photo was not taken recently! It was taken over four years ago by Jeewa, but this gorgeous image very recently caught the eye of someone in Tennessee. She was so taken with the photo that she wanted to buy it. Jeewa generously offered to give her a high resolution copy if she would make a donation to the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club, which the Fletcher Wildlife Garden is part of, and that happened! So thanks to Jeewa's great photo and generosity, and the generosity of the donor, the OFNC got a very nice donation. What a small world it is now with the internet, that a photo from the FWG can end up on the walls of a house somewhere in the southern US.
Anyway, we just wanted to share this happy story.
This is just down the slope from the Fletcher Wildlife Garden in the Dominion Arboretum. I usually look for these catkins in January and post a photo. I don't think I've seen them quite this early before, but we've had such mild weather it is not surprising. This is a cold hardy tree from China. It is Salix rondo var. manchoukud. Our native willows won't be producing catkins for at least another 3 months or more.
Staghorn Sumac 'cones'
The entire area under the pines was littered with sumac cones, cut from the sumac shrubs further up the trail and carried here by red squirrels for eating later. Also just visible, some walnuts.
Looking south across the pond to the New Woods and some of the swallow boxes we've installed.
Trail past pond
The pond is on the left of this image, and the trail, delineated by the white icy track, is heading into the New Woods area with what used to be called the Hedgerow on the right, but which has long since merged into the New Woods.