I was just thinking that there was not a lot to photograph at the FWG when I rounded the corner of the centre for a last look before leaving, and saw this guy sitting in the sumac tree, having a vigorous preening. He was largely unaware of me until I got to within about 10 feet and then he glided away into the Ravine. Not surprisingly, the BYG was silent and no action at the feeders! Not long after the hawk left, a few tentative chirps from chickadees sounded from the blue spruce. Then more calls and after about another minute the chickadees emerged. I didn't see any other birds at the feeder, however. Over in the Old Field, the thickets held 9 mourning doves all huddled together in a crabapple, and house finches were singing away, probably relieved at the relative warmth. I found some pigeon feathers around the old field and a few remants of what was clearly a meal for something.
Down in the Arboretum, the bohemian waxwings were back in force, perhaps 250-300, probably the same huge flock that was regularly noticed before Christmas. I hadn't seen them for a long time, and it was a pleasure to watch them stripping the crabapples of fruit. They were less wary of people, and didn't mind me standing nearby. However, they moved constantly and I got few good shots of them. Not that that matters, as it was just a pleasure to watch them. I was not alone. Many people stopped to look and marvel at the spectacle.
It was a very cold day, -23 at noon, but it was sunny and that always makes a difference, psychologically if not in fact! This was one of two mourning doves sitting huddled on a crabapple branch. A little later, I found five more doves sitting on the south side of the Interpretive Centre where the sun was hitting.
Red at 23 below
There were five red squirrels in the BYG today, and like all creatures, they need even more fuel in this weather. This little guy looked rather cold, sitting hunched over with his paws folded.
Where moisture had hit a twig and frozen, these ice crystals formed.
Female Northern cardinal
The feeders were busy places. Two female cardinals, 6 chickadees, several house finches, and a host of red and grey squirrels were in the BYG, while 5 mourning doves flew from the roof of the Interpretive Centre to the sumacs. Over at the Ash woods feeder, another 8 to 10 chickadees, 10 house finches and a couple more mourning doves, as well as a few crows and squirrels were noticeable.
Someone had thrown some seeds under a Tartarian honeysuckle near the Ash woods feeder and this was appreciated by the chickadees because of the cover afforded by the shrub and the lack of competition from the bigger finches. The chickadee on the left seemed almost frozen in place so I was quite worried. I kept approaching closer and he didn't move. I thought it might be injured, but when I got within a foot or so, he flew higher into the shrub and then flew to the feeder and fed. I think it was the cold that had got to him. I felt pretty immobile too after five minutes standing in one place.
There is not much open water around the farm these days, a little bit in the Arboretum, and a small patch near the pond at the FWG.
Jeewa managed to get a nice photo of this blue jay at the FWG. One was around for a few days last week. I saw it on Thursday and Jeewa on Friday. We never see many jays at the FWG. Occasionally in spring and fall they'll show up, perhaps several at a time, but never staying for long.
Mallow seed pods
A very artistic rendering of these common mallow seedpods each with a snowy cap, by Jeewa.
House finch, male
Jeewa took this lovely photo of a male house finch, bright red against the dark background. We seem to have somewhere between 10-15 house finches around at the moment, usually found at both feeders.
A very nice action shot of this grey squirrel in full bound!
Tunnel and tracks of a mouse
Jeewa took this photo of mouse tracks entering and exiting a tunnel in the snow.