OFNC display at the Wildlife Festival
The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club had, as always, a marvelous display next door to the FWG display at BIllings Bridge mall, in celebration of National Wildlife Week. The OFNC display was very clever and clearly involved a lot of work.
FWG display at the Wildlife Festival
The weekend of March 26 and 27th was the annual Wildlife Awareness Event at Billings Bridge mall, in celebration of National Wildlife Week. There was a lot of enthusiasm and lots of visitors to the FWG display, as well as to all the others. Much interest was expressed in the native plant sale coming up in June. Kudos to the volunteers who turned up, as Diane and Sharon here did, to staff the display over the weekend.
Although robins overwinter in small numbers, I am certain these were migrants. They were there in a noisy flock, flying around and giving that 'chuckling' sound that they have. Also calling, a killdeer from the field by the red barn. Not a starling :-)
It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning at the FWG. Under the Backyard Garden feeder were three song sparrows. Red-winged blackbirds were scattered around the garden, particularly by the pond, cardinals seemed to be everywhere, pine siskins and common redpolls were calling from the New Woods, starlings were in the kestrel box, a red-tailed hawk was flying over the Old Field and more song sparrows were also in that habitat. Cardinals, chickadees, juncos, and both a hairy and a downy woodpecker were also around.
The big willow by the pond, which has had emerging catkins for weeks and weeks, but today the entire tree was full of big fat furry catkins. It won't be long before they are pollen covered and we see Andrenid bees and some of the early beeflies at the pollen.
Starling in kestrel box
As I approached the barn, I could hear the happy musical gurgling of a couple of starlings. One was sitting on top of the barn, and this one was investigating the kestrel nest box. Whether starlings will nest there this year, who knows. Probably depends on whether a kestrel pair arrive and turf them out. But we have not had kestrels nesting at FWG for at least three years, maybe four, after a long run of annual nesting activity. We rarely see them around the garden anymore either.
As you can see, here at the intersection of the service rd. with Green Heron Way, the snow is quickly vanishing. Over in the birch grove, a hairy woodpecker was working away on one of the many dying birches. The red-tailed hawk was circling over the old field, and a couple of male cardinals were chasing each other away from a sumac shrub.
The little chipmunk with half a tail, was out and about again. She was slightly less skittish than last time I saw her, but it was still difficult to get a good photo of her. Still, it was fun to see her racing past the song sparrows and big grey squirrels, back and forth behind the feeder, under the cedars, along the rock walls.
In addition to gathering nest material, as I mentioned yesterday, crows are also out looking for new food sources now that the snow is melting. This and one other were in the ravine, wading through the narrow, shallow stream searching for things. A few minutes before this photo was taken, this crow had caught a frog which he took up to a nearby conifer to eat. Then back he came looking for more. When I first saw him with something in his mouth, I thought it was a beak full of wet brown vegetation. But putting my binos on him, saw it was a frog. Too far away to see details of colour or pattern, but possibly a green frog.
Another shot of the singing blackbird. The light was soft and the bird looks happy to be "home". Of course, I am anthropomorphizing madly!
Red-winged blackbird on sumac shrub
When I arrived at the FWG this morning I could hear red-wings calling from at least three locations. There were two in the BYG, one in the ravine, and 3 around the pond. This one was looking very happy to be "home" and I'm sure he was eyeing the cattails and wondering where to stake out his nest site for his lady-love when she arrives in a few more weeks. In between calling, he was pecking away at the sumac seeds.
squirrel in feeder
This black phase grey squirrel was having a grand time snuggled into the feeder and eating the seeds. The feeder was the perfect size for him too!