texture 1 – nest


Originally uploaded by canuckshutterer (W.J. Gibson)

this robins (?) nest was constructed over the two motion detector lights high up over the back deck that light the way from the driveway path

we had to turn off the light for a couple of months

after the family moved out, I knocked the nest down and kept it….. amazingly strong base, quite thick, made of dried mud, not quite adobe but solid, beautifully woven half sphere

bald eagle

The highlight of my week: sighting a juvenile bald eagle out on a large rock in the water in front of my place. He/she was about 40 yards away. Had a large stick in one foot. It was a little comical because it was wavy and every now and then a larger wave came up and the eagle didn’t seem to appreciate the cold water on its feet. Bald eagles don’t get their adult colouration (dark coat, white head, yellow beak) until they are four or five years of age. So I’m guessing with a stick as a trophy, this eagle is building a home nearby. Later in the day I saw a pair circling overhead. Nice new neighbours. Now the turkey vultures are not the largest birds in our neighbourhood.

We have lots of ducks, geese, trumpeter swans. Gets pretty noisy when they have their cocktail parties on the water.

I have only seen bald eagles here once before. Several winters back, two were a long way out on the ice having lunch. I watched them with binoculars. Quite a sight then. To see one so close this week was a big thrill. Massive head, huge feet and legs, and of course, those unbelievable wings.

winter feeding

For years we have been putting out seed for birds to feed upon in the winter. This year it was very mild into part of January then winter arrived and we have had some cold weather, down near to -20 Celsius.

Although it is seed for birds, a gang of black squirrels and one little red squirrel have been stopping by to grab some food as well. We used to see quite a few chipmunks running around the place but not so many in the past two years. I may be wrong but I think they lay up for the winter with their store of seed and other goodies of the chipmunk kind.

This year we don’t seem to have any sparrows around. Used to see a couple of varieties of them. Maybe they will turn up yet. So far it has been mainly mourning doves, chickadees, and nut hatches.

Less frequently in the past, we see blue jays and rarely a cardinal or two. That blue and that red are something to see against the snow. The special whirring sound of mourning doves taking flight is a real treat to hear.

This year the five wild kittens who we have adopted, all indoor cats except for Cadbury who tries to get outside with little success, have been spending less time watching TV and instead watch the live nature channel out the kitchen window. The bird feeder hangs from a branch stub about twenty feet from that window. I have set two old benches out closer to the window from that tree and I brush snow off them and spread seed there. I also clear off the deck railing and pour seed on it.

If I just refilled the feeder, one black squirrel would tie that up all day with his stunt feeding acrobatics. This morning I counted nine mourning doves feeding. Yesterday we set a local world record with seven black squirrels feeding at the same time.

Trumpeter Swans still around

Heard them last night as I was sitting reading on the closed in (insulated and heated) sun porch. The kittens and the dog were keeping me company. I cracked open a window and could hear clearly, many trumpeters “playing” their trumpets. Georgian Bay is of course still wide open, it may start freezing over later this month. Enjoyed listening to them tuning up.

This morning a family swam by in front, two white adults, three greyish juveniles…a beautiful sight.

a wild turkey’s last moments

found this in my notebook from sometime in 2005

Wild turkey died in the shallows next door. I watched its last minutes of life. Flapping its wings to get into a depth of water where it could put its legs on the bottom. Fighting hard to live. One wing not right. It stopped, seemed to be resting. I could see its head. A few minutes later I looked out and saw the head was no longer visible, the body rolled over on its side in the water. Its mate (?) standing near on a rock in the water. When I came back out to look closer, I scared it into flight.

turkey vulture – makes one a little nervous

next door a sizeable dead fish washed up and drew one TV (turkey vulture for the non-bird watching cognoscenti)….ugly bird but a beautiful soaring creature

however after too many desert movies watched, seeing a vulture does raise my anxiety level several notches

link to some photos I took a few years ago of a different dead fish and maybe the same turkey vulture
turkey vulture photos

country living list

today was one of the those days when freezing your buns off in the north of central Ontario through the winter is worthwhile once Spring has sprung….

Although messy to have swim by and waddle up onto shore, a family of Canada geese showed off their brood of 6 fuzzy golden balls, more accurately called goslings. It will be a joy to watch these little gooses grow fatter and change from gold to their mature colours. One year three families used to come by together, bringing along 20 goslings.
The other appearance of the day came at the early part of dusk – a blue heron standing on the rocks looking out at the mirror-like still waters of Georgian Bay. After a moment he leapt up and flew off with his crooked neck and strong, slow strokes of his great wings, flying just a few feet off the water.

Over on the big rock that tops out above the water’s surface, a large turtle did some sunbathing.

I heard a woodpecker getting his woodworking project ready for the end of the school year. Witnessed a red squirrel telling off a pair of black squirrels about who owns the property and its maple keys and not yet ready for harvesting, acorns.

Crows were walking around with that imperial gait of theirs and since it was not garbage pickup day, on which they attack green plastic garbage bags looking for their weekly breakfast smorgasbord, they too were a welcome sight.

a photo link to a shot of some cormorants

see: cormorants

one of my favourite photos that I took while standing on my “front yard” at the water’s edge on Georgian Bay

taken with a Nikon F2 Photomic and a Soligor 400mm f6.5 lens on a Manfrotto tripod