February, where art thou oh thaw?

Well, it wasn’t much of a February thaw yet…we always get one, it’s natures way of gently reminding you Spring will eventually arrive, but she has a wicked sense of humour and then throws in a few -23° nights to keep you on your toes. Cats didn’t last long outside this morning. While I filled the bird feeders they wandered about for a few minutes before deciding the front of the fireplace was where they really wanted to be;)…smart cookies:) Yesterdays brief snow squalls were enough to remind them about that cold white stuff!

That’s two doozy mornings in a row;) Yesterday we had snow squalls and high winds but warm temperatures, now today sunny and “freeze your ass off” temperatures…we did have a very very brief thaw…ha! Just enough for some nice ice patches, I’m laughing with you mother nature…not;) Gamora had the good sense yesterday morning to poke her head out the door 6″…then abruptly turn around and run back inside…the girl has smarts! The boys…still searching for the elusive brain cell;)

“What snow Groot?” we are beginning to think Rocket lacks any form of sensors in his body;) he IS a mutant!

But , hey, we’re halfway through the month and I couldn’t wish nicer weather on the protesters in our neck of the woods:) How many of us are a bit ashamed to be Canadian right now…the majority. Why is it that there is a generation that can’t seem to grasp what a democracy is, or what is an elected government by the majority, and wah, fucking, wah, you don’t always get your way, stomp your little tantrum feet and go the f@ck home arses. 🙂 There…off my chest:)

I nearly ran into the Hydro truck coming down the laneway last we week. We don’t exactly have any passing lanes so it would have been ugly, I would have made them back up;) They were actually very kind as I was just running down the road for a few minutes and they waited for me to come back before heading in with this behemoth! I like that word-

“a huge or monstrous creature. “behemoths like the brontosaurus” or giant tractor with lift bucket and chains:)

Rocket was convinced the devils in orange wielding loud chainsaws and flying through the air in the bucket were cat demons designed to attack him for being so mean to his sister…he hid under the bed covers until they had finished their limb cleaning and moved on…”Whew!” he said ” I’ve evaded certain death again!” Never a dull moment around here;)

The cold temperatures have kept our deer family close by snacking on the leftover bird seed and cracked corn I leave out for them. You know they are hungry when you can walk out the door, and they just look at you from 15′ away, open the truck door, start the diesel, and drive away…and they don’t budge….:) The fawn drains the heated dog water bowl I keep out on the picnic table for the birds on a daily basis…nice yummy warm water!

Mother deer keeps an eye on baby but no longer stamps her feet at us. We have deep philosophical conversations about humanity today and how it relates to the world in general, they are excellent listeners;) The bribery of corn seems to have worked! It is fascinating watching these two interact and when they are done wander down the hill to other snack stands no doubt:)

Yesterdays snow squalls and large snowflakes were too good an opportunity to pass up at photographing birds and snow. I try to find a protected spot to try to sit quietly but the wind couldn’t make up it’s mind and the snow was going in every which way. I didn’t last more than 20 minutes but enjoyed every bit of it! It’s tricky, I keep a towel to cover the long lens from too much moisture and then watch the settings to try to capture the snow flakes. Too slow, 1/200th sec. and they are streaks like rain and the birds are often blurred, too fast and they disappear. I stuck with 1/400 sec at F6.3 ISO 400. The lack of light on cloudy days is a challenge as well. I didn’t stop to look at the shots too much other than to check for exposure with the snow covering me!

The squalls didn’t last, the sun came out, the flash freeze warning was appropriate as the the temperatures dropped to -6° in the period of an hour or so. The Blue jays came back to scavenge peanuts from the table. Greedy little guys, one stayed for an extended period of time trying to stuff two in his mouth, he could have flown back and forth several times in the time he spent wrangling the nuts!

I tend to make up little dialogues with these guys when I’m out shooting. Everyone of them is a comic! Just look at this Dark eyed Junco’s neck! ha! The Robin’s bum (YES! We have 5 Robins hanging about digging through the grass where the plow cleared the snow!) and I watched a Hairy Woodpecker trying to reach an itch for a good five minutes…it was not pretty;) ha!

We had a day last week of several inches of very light fluffy snow. It truly turns into a Winter Wonderland when that happens. The plow guys were right on it! Thank you All-Weather! I walked out the road and marveled at the layers on every branch. As much as I wish an end to Winter there are moments you just have to give in to it:)

I should make a catalog of animal tracks we see. The deer are easy to distinguish, squirrels as well. The fox prints I have come to know, as well as the coyotes on the road out as we walk to check the mail but we had a new one in the laneway last week and the cats puffed up their tails and growled and decided to head back to the house after a sniff…it looked like a large kitty track! I do know what those look like and this was a supersized version! cats are an inch across, this one was three inches across…time to invest in a wildlife camera I think to determine our mystery visitor!

The squirrel union is protesting…no large cats allowed they say! It’s enough work running away from the fox and those ginger cats! We’ll keep you posted! A large, very short tailed visitor was spotted crossing the lake last week:)

The wonderful thing of being up on a hill is the view, not just for spying animals! These interesting holes have opened up all along a path down the lake. They are called ice spider holes. Sounds like something I would make up right? “They are usually in bays, but they can be found anywhere on the lake. Having a central hole with irregular fingers radiating outward, they look like a wet area surrounded by snow. The irregular fingers serve as drainage channels through which water on the surface drains back into the hole. Perhaps they are created when warmer lake water is pushed upward through a crack in the ice and floods the lake surface. The initial flaw in the ice could be a small crack, an animal access point likely used by an otter, or even trapped air bubbles that weaken the ice in that spot. Regardless of how they form, spider holes are dangerous and should be avoided. They are sometimes formed by the weight of the snow actually pushing the ice down!”…google can be very helpful:) I won’t be walking out too close to examine them until another -20° night. The snow should be packed down from this weeks light rain and crisp enough to walk on top of. Thrashing through 2′ of snow is not on my itinerary. I may have to invest in some snow shoes!

Now that we are halfway through the month I hope we can start to see a few more inklings of Spring:) In the meantime, there are bird species to document, ebird lists to fill out and wondering when we will see some our snow birds return:) We had two days with a Common Redpoll before he disappeared, probably wasn’t cold enough here;) they ARE from the tundra after all, along with the Pine Grosbeaks. Two juvenile males were busy under one of the feeders, they are pokey birds, spending time looking for food on the ground. These two were like a pair of teenagers at an “all you can eat” buffet. They were not bothered by me getting a few feet from them to marvel at their intricate feather patterns.. Priceless.

So today is going to be an inside day…our high is going to be -17°. I’ll take a cue from the cats and maybe sit in front of the fire for a bit with them! Another day of this and we are back to another heatwave;) It might even rise above zero again! Ojalá mis amigos! Stay warm and let’s keep try to avoid the pitfalls of being ashamed of the Nationalist flag waving and wearing Canadians right now honking their horns because they have nothing better to do as the pandemic slowly wanes….as George Carlin once said “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups” Abrazos friends.

Like George Carlin said Vern “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups!”

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