What’s with this SNOW?

Welcome to my new readers. Always nice to see you here. Hope you continue to enjoy.

Well, originally we didn’t expect February to be anything interesting, but I guess in a way, it turned out to be alright.

The past few months have been pretty grey with a lot of cloud cover, but for some reason we actually got to see the sun a number of times in February. With this though came the colder weather. The ice on the river built up quickly so Lake Erie and Lake St Clair both froze over as far as the eye could see. A lot of the waterfowl moved in a bit closer so we visited the Lakeview Marina a few times to see what we could get photos of. Sadly we missed a couple of the different visitors, but we were always entertained by the good old regulars.

Early in the month we heard about a Mockingbird being seen in Ojibway Park in Windsor. So my Lady and I packed up our lunch and set off to see if we could find it. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard to find as it was just along the trail leading to the popular bird feeding bridge, and it was willing to give us a show. At one point it was chasing some Eastern Bluebirds out of the area while we were trying to photograph them as well.

And SNOW, geez did we get snow this year. Some of the residents in our area said they hadn’t seen this much in almost 10 years. We actually had to go out and shovel a few times, and when the plows came along we had to work hard to clear the end of the driveway. Thankfully, we have a great group of neighbours who are all willing to work together to help everyone out.

Sure, some people living in more traditional Snow Belts would laugh at us complaining of a “little bit of snow”, but we live in a Banana Belt down here at the bottom of Canada. I guess if Texas can get slammed by old man Winter, then it’s fitting that we get a bit here too in the Great White North, even if we don’t like it so much. Kids on the other hand were having a blast. With the marshes frozen over we saw a good number of skating and hockey rinks popping up, and even had a few parents out scooting over the fields in their snowmobiles.

One really nice thing about the snow was the arrival of thousands of Snow Buntings being seen all over the county. A few concessions over from us had the largest flock of Buntings that I have ever seen. Sure, I really haven’t seen a lot, but this one was really big. They hung around a couple of silos that must have had enough food scattered about to keep them satisfied, but they would be so far away from the road where I couldn’t really photograph them. I did manage to find other flocks that would kinda let me be close enough and have added a few photos below. A large number of Horned Larks and a very, very small number of Lapland Longspur would join in with the Snow Bunting feasts.

Just down the road is Big Creek which also was almost completely frozen over, except for a small area close to the road, about 50 feet across, where the ducks, geese, swans, a couple of herons, and the local Eagle family would all congregate and feed. One day we stopped to watch an eagle harass the other visitors, and eventually it caught a small fish and then flew off to a tree to enjoy it. It was snowing a fair bit at the time, as you can see in the photos.

Oddly, we had a few Virginia Rails that were trying to overwinter at the Point Pelee Marsh this year. We were fortunate to be able to get out to see them on a good day when at least one was feeding along the boardwalk. With the cold weather there was a lot of concern about whether or not they would survive and we aren’t sure if they made it, as we went back a few days after the heavy snowfalls and we couldn’t find any new tracks and nobody has seen them since. They nest in the marsh so we can always hope that they were able to find a new area to hunker down in and stay safe. It’s a big marsh after all.

While at Pelee, I climbed the tower at the tip to see how much ice had been building on the lake.

And here we have a few more of the Pelee residents

We went to the marina a couple days ago when it was getting warmer, and all the eagles were gone from Peche Island. Often there are over a dozen or more hanging out in the trees, but with the ice breaking up, and the lakes and rivers running again, they have either moved on, or found somewhere else to find food for now.

There were still a small number of the regulars close by, and I was really lucky to find a Hooded Merganser in the mix. At one point it was cleaning itself up, and I just sat there waiting for the inevitable rise up and flap wings motion. Finally, up it goes and my finger hits the button and click click click, and then it’s over in about 1 second. Fortunately, I got the shot I was waiting for.

So that’s about it for the February roundup. Hopefully March will begin to bring some of the early birds in. On the 28th we had some Killdeer flying around our heads as my Lady and I went for a walk in the neighbourhood. Maybe some of the other shore birds will start showing up too.

Remember, if you like the stories or photos, enter your email and click the Follow button to get notifications of any updates. Looks like I may have actually settled into a routine of doing a monthly roundup, so I think I will try to keep it that way, unless something really special happens.

Thanks for reading.

Till next time.

Once Every 4 Years

Hey guess what! Winter is almost over!

Overall, it has been a fairly gentle one down here, other than the constant cloud cover, and the occasional snowfall that we have to sweep away. But hey, the sun has actually been making an appearance a little more often nowadays. We have even had the front and back doors open a few days, and the freshness of the air is exhilarating.

Just had a silly thought, if 1 year in human time, is equal to 7 years in dog time, how old is the dog if it celebrates its birthday on February 29. Since it only comes around every 4 years, that dog could live forever!

And what about cats? If they have 9 lives, and are born on Leap Day, do they automatically get 4 times as many?

My brain hurts.

And now for something completely different ,,,  Birds. You knew it was coming.

We had a Snow Goose hanging out with all of the Canada Geese in a field across the road. Then one day we were driving alongside the river into town, and my Lady says to stop, there’s something different on someone’s riverfront yard. Sure enough, there’s our little Snow Goose, up nice and close.

Snow Goose hanging out with a flock of Canada Geese

Then we got word of some Snow Buntings out near Point Pelee. Into the car we go and eventually find them out distant in the field where we first saw the Black Bellied Whistling Duck in the summer. It was beautiful to see a few hundred of these little birds dancing from spot to spot.

Snow Bunting

We also got word of 6 Meadowlark sticking around a field about 20 minutes away, so we packed up a cup of tea and headed over to see if we could find them. As we approached the area, they flew out of the trees on the left and into the field on the right. Of course, they flew a good way out into the field, but a bit of patience allowed us to get a couple of good photos.  Not only that, we had some Snow Buntings playing around nice and close. Not close enough to get single birds, but a wonderful display of them flying.

Eastern Meadowlarks
Meadowlarks in flight. Vibrant yellow in a grey season
Female Snow Buntings
Part of the large flock of Snow Buntings

We wandered over to Wheatley harbor a week or so ago, and we were graced with a beautiful display from some Bald Eagles. They mostly paired off and did their aerial gymnastics, but at one point we counted 7 spread out across the lakefront.

I almost forgot, we were out for a walk at Holiday Beach last week, and as we were passing an area where we had seen deer before, my Lady stops me and looks through her binoculars. I look through my camera, and get off a couple of shots of a little Fox out sunning itself. It didn’t like the fact that we had stopped, so it quickly got up and moved further into the trees.

Little Fox trying to get some rest

As for everything else, we are going through photos of the birds from last year’s migration, and are trying to be able to identify them quickly, just in case we get put on a spot, or maybe even tested.

Sorry for the long time between posts, but it’s been a bit hard to sit down and put my mind into writing, when there has been so much wildlife outside to keep us busy.

Thanks for reading.

Till Next Time.