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.