Red-tailed hawk, front view
Through the branches, I was just able to get a front view photo of this handsome hawk. You can see that dark band across the chest which is one of the indicative marks of this species.
I saw this hawk fly towards the Arboretum from the Fletcher garden. It was later re-located in the Arboretum, looking quite content until the crows found it and created a mob scene.
This shrub is in the Arboretum, and every year it produces catkins long, long before other, native willows do. This one is from somewhere in the far east, and seems very able to withstand our prolonged winters, and begin budding out early on, often in January.
Grey squirrel, black phase
One of many squirrels seen today. They are now resorting to the few meagre natural food sources left, as well as feeding on any spilled sunflower seeds under the feeders. It has been a harsh winter for wildlife.
The pond is still frozen, but as can be seen, the ice looks to be softening, and there is open water, just out of the photo, by the bridge. Spring is coming...
A roosting box, long since taken over by red squirrels, always has a variety of food bits and pieces around it. A gnawed walnut sat on the roof, while several sumac seedheads were stashed very close by.
Brilliant sun created strong shadows in the ash woods. If you look closely, you might see the myriad of red squirrel tracks on the snow.
It may be cold and snowy outside, but inside the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, there are signs of spring. The first set of seedlings has been brought over and set up under the grow-lights. Soon, there will be many more, as volunteers carefully tend the growing plants in preparation for the early June Native Plant Sale, an annual fundraising event at the garden.
A tray of tiny seedlings which will one day grow into tall, striking gray-headed coneflowers.
A native plant in southern Ontario, this also grows fairly well around here. We had our doubts about butterflies being attracted to this particular Asclepias, but then one year we found monarch butterfly caterpillars on the small stand of butterfly weed in the Backyard Garden!
Fletcher Wildlife Garden
This is the western edge of the garden, looking north across the field to the red barn. Fresh fluffy snow from yesterday and overnight, created a pretty landscape.
Red squirrel nest
Being clever creatures, red squirrels generally have several places in which to seek shelter during winter (and summer too, for that matter). This big grassy ball-shaped nest is near an old bird box that has been used by red squirrels for years and years.