Category Archives: life

real world events

Bird Count

It’s the great backyard bird count and what do I see?
The neighbourhood magpie and 3 chickadees.

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Nature’s New Year

Midway between equinox and solstice, the dark time of the year begins. And right on cue, the first snowflakes fall from the sky, beautifully drifting down at a meditative pace.  The leaves have dropped from most trees, leaving behind decorative bright red berries or helicopter seed pods. In nature lore the sacred Crone mourns the death of her spouse for the next six weeks, until the solar babe is born and the light begins its annual growth. A time of peaceful reflection, rest, and waiting.

 

Resident Merlin Family

This spring the raucous call of a merlin could be heard echoing through my neighbourhood. I’ve seen the small hawk perched in trees and soaring over the block throughout the season.

Merlin in our pine tree

In the past two weeks a group of three appeared as a prominent presence – perhaps a fledged family – an adult pair with a juvenile, or an adult with two juveniles? They call to each other as they swoop through the neighbourhood.

The activity is centred one block east of mine, so perhaps their nest was in a backyard tree in that block. Apparently they like to move into old magpie and crows’ nests – and certainly there is an abundance in this neighbourhood. We had a crow family raised in a pine at the park a block away, and there were at least three magpie families in the immediate neighbourhood this year, as every year.

Merlin & Magpie 2

Roly poly sighting

Ambling along the sidewalk by the river valley, hidden from view by the snowbanks lining the walk, my dog and I came upon a short-legged, shaggy animal with a big round body, somewhat larger than a large domestic cat.

It seemed to be a uniform dark colour. Its tail was flat and angled down toward the ground from its body. The tail was about half to two-thirds the length a cat’s would be, relative to the body size.

Although it rolled from side to side in quick, waddling steps, it progressed slowly down the path – clearly not an animal that relies on speed.

Skunk tracks had criss-crossed the neighbourhood last week, so that was my first thought, but its tail and markings were different from a skunk’s. The tail wasn’t fluffy and there were no tell-tale white markings on its back or tail.

I think it was a porcupine, or possibly a woodchuck, newly emerged from hibernation. Maybe a young one, given its size.

I kept our distance, since my dog was along, so we didn’t get close enough to confirm.

Light returning

Now the ends of the daylight reach to meet the ends of my day – light for the morning dog walk and light over the valley returning home in the evening. Always a milestone in my year. The light  highlighting wisps of morning cloud is all the more beautiful after weeks of dark-sky morning walks.

Duet

This morning serenaded by two owls calling back and forth with each other. Has gone on for some time and continues now. Coming from the direction of the park where the owl took up residence this past summer. Never heard anything like this before.