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Thursday, 5 February 2015

No Minis, But Snow and Critters

Here we are again, the fourth snow "storm" in a week; I should be at my volunteer job today, but the roads aren't in good condition, nor has the driveway been cleared or the snow, tossed in by the plow, removed. This is life in Atlantic Canada in the winter; beautiful, but somewhat treacherous. I was sitting at the dining room table, watching the red squirrel on the bird-feeder, and decided to try and get a photo of both the squirrel and a chickadee feeding in close proximity, but those chickadees are so fast!

One red squirrel, happily chomping away on a black oil sunflower seed - we involuntarily  feed both red and grey squirrels all winter long, as well as whatever birds are around. Up until two years ago, we also got flying squirrels, but we haven't seem them in the past couple of winters; they are nocturnal and very shy of people. The feeder hangs from the eaves, just outside out dining room window, and allows us to get quite close to the small wildlife (I won't mention the occasional black bear that appears on our patio in the fall....).

I kept the camera on, hoping to get a chickadee sharing the feeder, but those things flit in and out so fast; however, I did catch one perched on the wire, ready to dash behind the squirrel's back and grab a seed. At this point, a pair of nuthatches were circling, head-down, around the maple tree trunk beyond the feeder, but they are too small to register.

Well, there is a chickadee sitting on the edge of the feeder opposite the squirrel, but you have to look quite hard! It has a black cap with a white flash on the side, and a yellow-grey breast. A wind has come up, and snow is avalanching from branch to branch in the evergreens. This is the northern boreal forest, one of the largest in the world, mostly evergreens and birches, with poplars as you go further north. The skinny double trunk next to the window frame is a hop hornbeam tree, pretty much at the furthest northern edge of its territory, keeping company with a cedar. We also have some black ash in our garden, much used by the First Nations people historically to make baskets and the like.

The snow is almost a metre (3 feet) deep at this point, and we still have three more months of winter....

No minis this week so far, as I did my back in after conquering the cold that was draining me. Maybe tomorrow; right now, I am reading a good book, interspersed with some knitting.

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