Journal archives for November 2016

November 13, 2016

13 Nov/16

It's been a warm Fall so far here in the prairies. Right now about 10C, no clouds and a strong W wind. In spite of that, non-human life has long gotten ready for winter, or at least is getting ready for winter. There are few insects out and about - they must be out there, the late fall one (I don't see them, though), but all the rest have 'gone to ground' so to speak. Diapause in whatever stage they pass the winter. The trees have lost their leaves and even the remaining green plants have stopped growing. The die hards are here though - chickadees, nuthatches, jays, crows, house sparrows and starlings. The water is still open, so Canada geese are still hanging around. Most of the migratory birds have moved on - we had a bunch of juncos here for about two weeks or so, but they have now left. While out at the Parker Wetlands yesterday, I saw a white tailed deer. My dog didn't see it, so that's a good thing. Though the last time he saw a deer there, he wasn't sure what to do about it.

Posted on November 13, 2016 20:08 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 comment | Leave a comment

November 14, 2016

14 Nov 2016

Another warmish day, though it began with frost and cold fog. Saw a gull of some sort flying across Parker, so they are still around at least for a while. Also heard a chickadee, and wondered how they move around this urban environment.

Couple of observations about people. A week or so ago I was walking past a building and there were a couple (man and woman) looking up at a ledge 3-4 meters off the ground. I asked what they were looking at, and they said excitedly that they could see an owl. I looked, and it was one of the plastic ones used to scare birds away. I didn't say anything (and perhaps they were joking, but I don't think so), but it's kind of a sad commentary on how well people know non-human life.

Today at Parker, I was walking through the bush, nearly at a main path, and a young woman with a dog ( who was running through the bush) walked by. I came onto the same path about 3 m behind her, and she was so busy looking at her phone and texting that she didn't even notice me or my dog. I don't hate cell phones, but can't understand how someone in the middle of a beautiful little patch of bush can be so occupied with one that they have no idea what's around them.

Posted on November 14, 2016 20:36 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 15, 2016

15 Nov/16

Went down to the river today (Churchill park). Lots of birds around - chickadees, nuthatches and at least one downy woodpecker. Nothing on the river though. It's amazing how much diverse the Life is in that little band of woodland along the river - in Parker I rarely hear any of the common birds. It may be that there is more food to be found at the feeders set up by people, or it may be that the river bush is somehow more diverse. In any case, it's comforting to know that the birds are still around, and although they can't understand the weather, that they have some leeway this fall to fatten up.

Lots of footprints along the mud beside the river. May be deer, beaver, muskrat, water birds, or even dogs. Didn't venture down into that gumbo to see just what they were.

Posted on November 15, 2016 21:44 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 17, 2016

17 Nov/16

Cloudy and cooler today, with a wind. -1 to +1 C. Went down along the river, and saw a couple of interesting things. A rather large flock of chickadees moved through the bush. I've seen groups of three or four, but this was probably a dozen or so. I saw some of them up close, so know they were chickadees, but I've never seen them in a loose group this big. Hard to count them, as they don't sit still long, but it was definitely a larger gathering than I've seen before. Also heard a couple of nuthatches that may have been moving along with the group. They were all just feeding the way chickadees do, but the size of the group was impressive.

Also saw three ducks on the river. Hard to make any sort of ID, as the glare off the river was in my eyes, but they were brown streaked. Probably mallards. Don't know how long they will stick around - the river is still open, no ice at all, and I guess as long as they can find food they will resist moving. Funny how bird behaviour can change. More Canada geese are staying around till freeze up, where (as I recall) they used to just migrate straight south. In Ontario, close to Toronto, some of them hang around all winter, as long as there is open water. Recently S. Ontario has been relatively mild all winter long, so the geese stay put. Why fly if you don't need to!

Posted on November 17, 2016 20:19 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 18, 2016

18 Nov/16

Cloudy, cold (-2 to 0 C). Bit of a wind. More like a normal November. Went for a short walk along the river - not much going on there, one or two nuthatches across the road, possibly a woodpecker calling from the far side of the river. Squirrels still out and about. Large flock of starlings hanging around the area near our house. They must gather in the late fall - only saw isolated birds all summer long. I don't really know if they migrate a bit or not. They aren't as numerous in the winter

Posted on November 18, 2016 19:21 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 20, 2016

20 Nov/16

Colder yesterday: -10C. Went over to Parker - it's kind of nice when the wet spots freeze, and it's less sloppy walking. I saw a couple of big flocks of Canada geese heading south. I wondered if they were going to stop on the river, - which has no ice at all - but by the time I thought about it I was already in the bush and couldn't see them. Other than that, not much about - saw a chickadee flitting around. It's basically going to be like this till spring.

Posted on November 20, 2016 15:41 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 25, 2016

Nov. 25/16

We had our first snow about three days ago. Very wet snow, and it's stayed at essentially 0C since then. Basically gone now, but it's just been an ugly wet several days.
At Parker a couple of days ago I heard a bird making a call like 'wheat, wheat, wheat, and I had no clue what it was. Turned out to be a magpie (Pica hudsonia). Not new to here, but I've only seen one in the Parker area. One has been there for a couple of winters now - don't know if there are more or not.
The usual suspects hanging around - chickadees, nuthatches, crows, blue jays, along with squirrels and rabbits. I've noticed an increase in rabbits over the past one or two years. I walk my dog at around 0700, and previously we have never seen rabbits in the area. Now, there are several (I can't tell which is which) in about a 2 sq. km area.

Posted on November 25, 2016 20:50 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 27, 2016

27 Nov/16

Odd winter. -3 C this morning, ice fog and hoarfrost. Looked really nice, but feel off. Should have snow, or at least be dipping down to -10 C at night.

When it's like this, the birds don't seem as active, especially in the mornings. Have seen some jays, chickadees and house sparrows buzzing around, but yesterday, when it was sunny and cool there were more about. The river, although it has frost and snow remnants down to the water, is not showing any signs of freezing. There was a gull of some sort flying overhead yesterday. I guess as long as there is open water (and the lakes to the north will be open) they hang around. Haven't seen any ducks/geese in some time.

Posted on November 27, 2016 20:51 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment