Friday, 22 January 2016

Local Life.

Friday 22nd January 2016

It took some time coming, but winter has finally arrived. Whilst an exceptionally mild November and December was great for us, it didn't do much for the birds. Admittedly dabblers, like Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, even Green-winged Teal stayed longer than typical, birds were widely distributed and hard to track down. With 10-15cm of snow on the ground, that's changed and birds are now coming to feeders and working the edges of roads - birds such as this Lapland Longspur and Horned Lark seen this week whilst travelling around the island. For UK readers, yes these are Lapland Bunting and Shore Lark...

Lapland Longspur and Horned Lark - Wolfe Island, ON
Lapland Longspur and Horned Lark - Wolfe Island, ON
Oh yeah, in case you didn't know, we moved out to Wolfe Island over the summer, so I'm now in a prime location for some of the other island specialities such as Snowy Owl. On any given day, I can see between 1 and 3 of these majestic birds from the comfort of my own house!

This is by no means the best photo I've ever taken of a Snowy Owl but it is one of my local birds...

Snowy Owl - Wolfe Island, ON
And whilst we're on about owls, I have these within 5 minutes of the house too.

Short-eared Owl - Wolfe Island, ON
Eastern Screech-Owl - Wolfe Island, ON
And then there's all the stuff coming to my feeders. Daily, I have about 30 American Goldfinches, 10 American Tree Sparrows, 1 (just 1) Dark-eyed Junco, a handful of Mourning Doves, 3 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, half a dozen Blue Jays, and the occasional American Crow and Northern Raven. House Sparrows have just discovered the place too, and if the Eurasian Starlings are about, I can have well over 100 birds of several species at any one time... I haven't yet attracted any accipiters but that's got to happen before long. However, I regularly see both Red-Tailed and Rough-legged Hawks, though these are not known for stalking feeders.

Rough-legged Hawk - Ottawa, ON
It's not bad for mammals either at this time of year. With plenty of White-tailed Deer around, Coyotes can often be seen, though the Red Fox seems to be more timid. However, these two (poor photo) were out on the ice yesterday waiting for the sun to rise...

Red Fox - Wolfe Island, ON
Highlight of yesterday's run to the ferry was a massive Fisher, that was chasing down the deer on a local field. It didn't really have a chance out in the open but it was certainly quite the spectacle!

'Til next time.