FWG Christmas party
The party is a chance to relax and catch up with old friends.
FWG Christmas party
The volunteers gather for the annual Christmas party, to celebrate another year of hard work, but many accomplishments, at the garden.
White-tailed deer track
It was a beautiful day, sunny, mild, clear, and Jeewa was at the FWG this morning, where she had a very eventful day. She had a quick glimpse of a fox, then the beaver, and finally a deer! The deer vanished, but she took some photos of the tracks.
I remember when we first saw a deer at the garden, about 12 or 13 years ago. We were flabbergasted. It was resting on the south side of the ravine, lying down in the snow, in a patch of sunlight, and we had a perfect view from the windows of the centre. Since then, deer have been seen, if not regularly, at least every few years, or their tracks have been seen. Last winter two dogwalkers told me they had seen two deer at the garden!
Update (30 Nov). In today's "Ottawa Citizen" newspaper, there was a photo of a young buck who was found first on the ice at Dow's Lake, by the Arboretum, and then at a loading dock at Carleton University (!!!). Apparently he was tranquilized and freed on crown land outside the city (we hope this is so!).
Another beaver has decided to spend the winter at our pond. We are not thrilled by the idea, largely because the habitat is so very unsuitable for these poor guys. It is marginal at best. There is little food, and the animal has a very small pond area, with shallow water, in which to live. It seems to have taken over the bank burrow from the last beaver, and it is having to venture further afield to find food. It has taken down a few self seeded poplars, which is not a big deal for us, and in fact, may be doing us a favour, for they were crowding out other trees, mainly conifers.
However, some unkind souls have tried to break the beaver's dam. This is wilfull damage and demonstrates a vast ignorance of the animal and its ecology. Not that they probably care about that. What motivates them to do this, I don't know, but they have no right to interfere. Our new bridge is high enough off the ground that any residual flooding that might occur in spring will be insignificant. Furthermore, there is a large spillway now that will carry the water away. Soon, the pond will freeze, the beaver will remain below, provided it has enough food, and in spring we will see what happens.
Another shot of the beaver gnawing on a sumac.
The Bohemian waxwings are around daily and seem to be attracting a lot of interest from photographers and birders. Jeewa took this shot of them down at the stream in the Arboretum, just below the FWG (our pond trickles into this stream).
A nice shot of this handsome, sleek bird.
Trees full of Bohemian Waxwings
This was taken in the Arboretum this morning. This is only part of the flock of these waxwings. I show it only because it gives an idea of the numbers of birds present. They took off in a noisy flourish to the FWG.
In addition to the usual birds found all winter at the garden, such as chickadees, downy woodpeckers, house finches, cardinals, and so on, we sometimes see other birds that stop by for a few days, a few weeks, or only fleetingly. There were three robins in the Ravine this morning, and flying between the FWG and the Arboretum, a huge flock of around 250-300 Bohemian Waxwings. Yesterday, Jeewa found a brown creeper and a blue jay, neither of them uncommon, but neither found regularly at FWG.
All squirrels are very active now, as I keep saying! Jeewa found this pretty red squirrel with its tail highlighted by the sun.
Birds are coming and going at the FWG these days. Blue jays are irregular visitors, and over the last few days there were a couple of very noisy jays around, calling frequently, sounding alarmed as they often do.