Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.
I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.
hummingbird and nest
Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.
squirrel at rest
The field nearby is full of daffodils.
Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.
Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.
People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.
red tailed hawk
flicker ground feeding
one of the “wild” cats that hang out in the park
a mouse, after the owl ate it
blue bug on the window
That arctic outflow has us in its grip, but only very loosely. Temperatures hover around the freezing mark, leaving icy patches about but also wet places where the sun shines for a while. On the lake the water level must rise at night, evidenced by the suspended ice plates I often see on days like this.
With brilliant sun and cold we seem to get more birds. This Barred Owl was sitting directly above the path, unperturbed by my attention, swiveling his head as I circled round to get a better angle. He was still there when I returned an hour later, but another photographer had taken my place and no doubt filled his memory card with owl pictures.
Across the floating bridge there were the usual crowd of Mallards and this lonely Hooded Merganser.
Across the lake I had a brief look at this Cooper’s Hawk before it split in a hurry. Maybe it was hungry. They don’t sit still for long.
The lake has flooded the surrounding lowlands and in a seasonal slough behind the ring of bush that borders the lake I saw a large flock of ducks and geese. I walked through the closely cropped grass past a gaggle of grazing Canada Geese to get a closer look. Quite suddenly the flock erupted and headed to the air.
On the return leg a Bewick’s Wren was picking at the bark of a tree.
The last bird I saw was this one, a male House Finch.
There has been a noticeable shift in the weather lately – despite almost constant rain for days, the sun’s warmth can be felt when it deigns to shine. Spring means migration, and the appearance of birds which either left town or went into hiding over the winter. I also got a very close look at the heretofore very shy muskrat, which inexplicably one day last week stood its ground despite the loud attention of numerous enthusiastic kids, and me with my camera almost in it’s face. Only the attack of an irate duck sent it on it’s way. Green buds abound in the brush, and in the field I saw new flowers poking up suddenly.