Downy Woodpeckers are quite common here in Alberta as well as the Hairy Woodpecker but it is usually more likely to see the Downies.The two look very similar but there are ways to tell them apart. The Hairy is larger overall and its bill is longer. The Downy has spots on the edges of it’s tail feathers but they are not always apparent.
If you look at the white tail feathers in the second photo of the Hairy Woodpecker, there is just white, no black dots. These are both male birds because of the red at the back of the head.Sorry for the poor quality, there were so many branches.Hopefully you can see the difference in size using the feeder as a comparison.Happy birding!
I was listening for the Pine Grosbeaks but haven’t seen them since the last cold spell. Instead I heard the unmistakable high-pitched trill of the Bohemian Waxwings then noticed there were a couple of trees full of them. They were feeding in the berry trees, I think Mountain Ash and just roosting in a larger one. I found it interesting to watch one pair display apparent courting behaviour snuggling close and one fed the other.There was some closeness, then one flew off. Something distracted the group, either me or a magpie or maybe neither, and they all flew away. I wonder if there will be regular sightings of them. this winter. They were fun to watch , their gestures of the head and body sometimes comical. It was a treat to be able to watch them.
Sunday was bright and sunny and had warmed up to minus twenty something with a light breeze. I spent less time swearing and put my energy into shovelling the wind drifts from behind my car and went to the park. No sign of the grosbeaks but was seeing blue Jays, Magpies, Crows and Downy Woodpeckers.
I find the blue Jays a little more evasive, coming from a distance staying in the trees in the safety of the branches and taking a quick dip to the food and retreating.The magpies are similar but a bit bolder until you get just about focused , then they take off. On this day they were used to the person feeding them and showing themselves more. I really noticed the change of behaviour in these birds while someone was feeding them. They start to compete and fight over the food which was some sort of bird feed that they obviously liked. There were about six Magpies, one Blue Jay and a pair of Woodpeckers. The chickadees were staying a safe distance away. I would have stayed longer but was losing light as well as the feeling in my hands and toes.It was good to get out again.
Well my car is not really STUCK. But I haven’t tried to move it either. The parking lot is a MESS from the snow that was blown by the wind into deep drifts. Someone did some shovelling but deposited a portion of snow close to my car which will give the front of the car no space to turn as I back out. The graders plowed the alley so the windrow is one more obstacle to get past. That and the temperature. I will get the shovel out tomorrow and try to get the car on the move. Tonight the wind chill is going to feel like -40 so for now I am staying indoors, reading and staying warm. The photos show the first night of the snow, we got more the next day. Most people are out driving, some slow, some ridiculously fast and there have been hundreds of accidents.. I am sure Buffalo is having major problems but have not heard a thing on the news.
The positive side of this is the beautiful wonderland that I see when I ride the bus to work.Must take photos…
It snowed last night. I drove my car a few blocks earlier today and it was “iffy” getting out of the parking lot, so walked later to visit one friend a few blocks away for fear of getting stuck and walked to another friend’s for supper. When I got home this evening it was still snowing and I attempted to shovel “my spot” in the parking lot that usually has space for about 10 cars.The landlord dosen’t clear the parking lot and each tenant is responsible for their parking spot.The snow has been blowing and tends to drift behind my car, over a foot deep. Soft, dry, not heavy like in the east but too much for me..So is this “my spot”. But that spot expands to at least another car length or more of space where you can get stuck even with snow tires as you try to get out. I was ranting, angry at the landlord and tired of winter before it even started.The f-bombs were dropping along with a lot of foul language against the cheap so and so when I noticed the neighbour’s window beside where I was working /swearing slowly slide shut.Whoops.So I am an ass.A foul-mouthed and bad-tempered one at that.
I did go out and take some photos which I did enjoy, because it is, well, so pretty.
I still have to get up early and shovel before I go to work where we will be having a “Black Friday” event, some tradition that we borrowed from the Americans.(Happy Thanksgiving) It is going to be busy and exhausting. Better get a good sleep and perhaps apologise to my neighbour tomorrow.
There are many feeders in the park and I found one today that I had never stopped at before. There were two squirrels competing with the Black-capped Chickadees and a White-breasted Nuthatch, and even a Bluejay stopped in for a visit. The squirrels would take turns running up the tree grab a nut then go back down, but one did stop to give me some cheek.The grosbeaks were at a new tree across the road, a little higher up in the branches gobbling those berries but did not appear to be drunk. I haven’t seen any woodpeckers but have heard them a couple of times.The Nature Club sent me a letter announcing the annual Christmas bird count. I always find that interesting, more so when it isn’t minus twenty-something.
Female Grosbeak doing an acrobatic move for some berries.
Giving me some Cheek
I had been to the park shooting images of the hoarfrost -covered trees in the morning and returned in the late afternoon when the sun was quite low. I walked onto a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river, happened to look down and there was a massive beaver. I fired off these shots quickly as I am sure he sensed my presence and disappeared into the chilly waters. All photos were taken at 300mm 1/30 sec @ f/5.6 ISO 800
it is interesting to approach the berry trees with no sight of a Pine Grosbeak, but quickly they come to the tree in twos and threes. it feels magical, how they start showing up. I only had a half-hour but took the time specifically to see and photograph the birds. In this time period I saw only the females but was able to get very close.