Tiny Marshes



Tiny Marshes

Originally uploaded by canuckshutterer (W.J. Gibson)

near Elmvale, Ontario in Simcoe County

Ducks Unlimited and the Ministry of Natural Resources (I think that is the right ministry) have set this up and maintain it. Beautiful spot, lots of birds and other creatures.

texture 1 – nest



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

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.

a little list of the local wildlife


Yesterday morning early, saw a lone trumpeter swan come around the point and splashdown. Early evening I spotted a mink skittering along the shore groins two cottages over and then swim out to a medium sized rock. Nothing looks else looks like tha slim darting mink body. A couple of mornings a skunk has managed to defeat our garbage storage security system, sigh. Saw my winter buddy, the little red squirrel doing some magnificent stunt work in the trees in the backyard. Black squirrels have been around all year. Thirty years ago we might have done better not to plant an oak in the middle of the front lawn patch. Last week saw a red hawk float by overhead at the shoreline. Turkey vultures and gulls, no raccoons or porcupines. Althought I am sure Ralph and Rhonda are about, I just havent laid eyes on them. Spotted a good sized crayfish swimming away from my sneakered feet when I went wading in the bay two days ago. Heard the pileated woodpecker doing his woodworking. Crickets are singing their hearts out this past week. The maple tree in the back yard, a perennial early leaf dropper, dropped a bunch of leaves this week on the driveway. With the cold overnight temperatures (45 F), it feels like summer is about to slip away.

Five wild kittens live here at least until late September. I have given them all names, probably not a smart move. It will be wrenching to give them to the OSPCA for adoption.