Sunday, March 29, 2009
Oh my, these creatures are so clever! I know it's not such a clear video -- it was still dark outside and I didn't want to use the flash and scare him away -- but the raccoon was SO smart. If he put any weight on the ring at the bottom of the bird feeder, the feeding holes would close, and he'd be out of luck.
So, you may be able to see that he is hanging on, with one paw holding on to the hole and the other one holding on a bit higher...not touching the wheel at all! He cleaned out sunflower seeds from half the feeder!
So much for the creature-proof bird-feeder that cost all of $100!!
We put it lower so that the squirrels couldn't reach it from the tree and thinking that if the raccoons could reach, they would hang on to the wheel and not be able to get to the seed. This was one BIG raccoon!
Back to Square One!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
And the male Cardinal followed quickly after her, as he usually does!The Blue Jays don't stay around very long -- a little more nervous than the Cardinals. This one hovered over the bird feeder for a minute, but then I scared him away taking the photo.
When I tried to get closer with my camera he too flew away.
This, though, is by far the best sighting so far this spring:
He's a hawk! Oh, what a deadly beak he has! I believe, judging by his colour and that striped tail, that he's probably a Broad-winged Hawk. They are usually at least 18 inches tall, and can have a wing-span of over three feet: the 'whoosh' that he made as he flew away was incredible.
He, too, sat there for the longest time, and it was interesting that not once, during that hour or so, did we see a squirrel in the garden. They were no doubt huddled in their nests somewhere trembling with fear. There have been lots of baby squirrels around recently which no doubt attracted Mr Hawk's attention.
Finally, another great sighting:
As you can see, it's not my photo -- but it could have been. By the time I got my camera out, this Pileated Woodpecker was gone. But he looked just like that and in that same position. They are usually 18 or more inches tall -- a lovely sight!
Here we are, living in the middle of the city, (albeit in a quiet, wooded neighbourhood) yet we frequently get to enjoy these beautiful birds -- what a blessing!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
But look!The snow's just about gone, and here are the first true signs of spring.......it's even been too cold for the robins until this last week.
But DOTH (daughter of the house) and I were not content with these few signs.When a friend told us about a show taking place at the Toronto Convention Centre this weekend, we just had to go!
It's a multi-coloured extravaganza; multitudes of the sights, sounds and smells of spring and summer; a warm, healing balm to melt the 'frozen' soul!
Here are some sights we feasted our eyes on:
You'll no doubt be seeing some great bird photos in the near future!
Look at the trees, look at the birds,
look at the clouds, look at the stars...
and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.
Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.
Look at the flowers - for no reason.
It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.
Finally -- my sister recently posted to her blog this photo of what is probably the world's largest seagull. She spotted it in San Diego. Not to be outdone -- outside the convention centre we managed to snap what I am sure must be the world's largest Blue Jay:
All in all, we spent a great day at Canada Blooms!
And we can't wait until Toronto blooms!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Let me ask you:
is it the footprints of a three and four-toed sloth? No!
Is it the footprints of a cockroach? No -- thank goodness!
It is the product of DOTH's (Daughter of the House) over-active mind!
It is water splashes on the stove-top that happen to look like minature footprints. It really was a bit strange that they landed exactly like that (the sink is right beside the stove)
DOTH thought it would be something interesting to post on my blog.
What do you think?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The magnificent chalk sea cliffs at Flamborough Head, which project far out into the North Sea, provide a perfect habitat for migrating birds to breed as they pass by the headland. (Turn on the sound for the video above and you'll get a good idea of the noise level -- of both birds and wind!)
The nooks and crannies make ideal nesting sites, and birdwatchers come by the droves with their trusty binoculars hoping for a rare sighting among the over 100 different species of birds found nesting here throughout the year. For avid bird watchers there is a list of the birds that can be found at Flamborough and nearby Bempton, here.
But I did find this short video on You Tube -- a lovely, lone puffin preening himself on Bempton Cliffs.
Decades ago, birds' nests were ravaged by 'climmers' (climbers). From May to July, gangs of men could be found risking life and limb to gather seabirds eggs from their nests in the cliffs.
During peak periods, between 200 and 400 eggs per day would be gathered and used as a means of supplementing the climmers income and diet. They were sold for patent leather, food and to egg collectors.
By 1850 a much more damaging activity had become popular -- tourists had taken to shooting birds for sport. This caused a drastic drop in the number of nesting birds and ultimately the Seabirds Preservation Act was passed in 1869.
Climming continued until 1954 when it finally became illegal. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds now owns much of the cliffs where climming was once practised.