Journal archives for December 2016

December 04, 2016

4 Dec/16

Interesting morning walk with the dog. We go out around 0645, and by now it is still dark - not even false dawn. While out, heard what may have been a raven, or just a hoarse crow. Don't know if ravens are active at night, but this bird was certainly doing something before the sun came up. Possibly the lights of the city are enough for them to move around. Rabbit and squirrel tracks in the overnight snow (just a dusting).

Couple of days ago, saw a large flock of geese (probably Canada geese) high and heading south. Again, I was in the Parker bush, and couldn't see if they went to the river or not. Given the height they were travelling, I doubt they stopped so soon.

It's been grey, and mild, even into December. Haven't gotten much over 0C, or below -5C for a week or two. No sign of the river freezing yet, though smaller rivers entering the Red may be frozen to some extent.

Posted on December 04, 2016 15:26 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 09, 2016

Dec 09/16

Well, winter has come with a vengeance. After a very warm November, we have had a blizzard for the past two and a half days. Initially it was warm (-2 to -5), but last night it has gone down to -20, and the forecast is for even colder. We got around 30 cm of snow, more in the places where the wind dropped (like bush). Thank goodness for moccasins!

It's interesting to see the river freeze up. As the blizzard began, the river was mostly open, but there were 5 to 10 m. blocks of ice starting to float down it. Today, after a cold night, most of the river alongside Churchill drive is frozen, albeit thinly. I'm assuming with several days of sub -20 temps that it will freeze over pretty fast, though not enough to walk on for a month or so.

At the start of the storm, I was down along the river, and saw a bird that resembled a Northern Shrike. I couldn't get close enough to it to make a good id, but it was the right size and shape for it. Probably a late straggler, fooled by the warm weather, then suddenly having to head south. Hope it makes it ok. Today, in the cold, not much was out and about. Saw some tracks alongside the river that may have been wild (deer, probably), but there were no winter birds about.

Posted on December 09, 2016 20:47 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 10, 2016

10 Dec/16

-26 today. We've been putting peanuts out for grey squirrels (mainly just one), and the last batch, put out after the temp. dropped, is untouched. I guess the squirrels have finally called it quits, at least till it warms up a bit.

Posted on December 10, 2016 14:57 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 11, 2016

10 Dec/16

Along the Red, heard a chickadee and saw what was probably a hairy woodpecker. It didn't stay still long enough to get a picture, but it seemed larger than a downy. The river is finally freezing over, and I saw these tracks in the fresh snow. I don't think they are dog - no human footprints - possibly red fox. The larger tracks may be deer.

Posted on December 11, 2016 15:14 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 14, 2016

12 Dec/16

Another cold day (-24C), just a dusting of new snow. Not much going on in the outside - didn't even hear a chickadee at Parker.

Posted a photo of a moth, pinned in 1985. I wanted to test the camera I have, and see if it can take decent pictures. Mixed results - the wings are mainly sharp, but the body (thorax) is out of focus. I think the camera I have can take decent pictures of dead things, but probably not for living things.

Posted on December 14, 2016 21:33 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 18, 2016

18 Dec. 2016

I've been going through my pinned collection, using our old Olympus C-60 (6.1 megapixels) on a monopod and at macro setting. Results are passable and I'm using natural light. It's amazing how many of the moths have been moved into a different Genus. I've done about 6 now, and only one has been in the same Genus as it was in 1985. All very interesting, how things have been revised since then.

It's been cold for the past several days (below -25C at night, -31C yesterday), and there are not many birds present. Even the house sparrows are not down at the feeder. I've heard a couple of chickadees, a raven and seen a crow or two, but that's about all. The squirrel came out when it was around -20 C, but has since disappeared. I wonder where they all go. The sparrows are located around here, but are not to be seen. Are they dead? Probably not, but why are they not feeding unless they have a more local place to go.

I must admit I like this time of year, the cold, the clear sky, but it must be hell for the animals that have to live through it. Those damned invertebrates just close down and wait till things warm up! That's how to do things.

Posted on December 18, 2016 20:04 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 19, 2016

19 dec/16

25 degree change in temp from a day ago. It has gone from -30 to -4 C. It's not really that uncommon - a change of that magnitude tends to happen at least once a winter, and it can either go up or drop down. A large downward drop can cause animals some problems, especially if the temp. was above 0C. Snow can form a pretty thick, icy crust, making it hard for wildlife to get to grass, etc. Birds tend to have it better than mammals, but even then trees can get wet from melting snow and then it can freeze. Lot's more things out and about this morning.

Posted on December 19, 2016 14:50 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 23, 2016

23 Dec/16

Since it is warmer (-5), there seem to be more animals out and about. Was at Parker today, heard a chickadee, but saw tracks that may have been deer. It's always hard to tell, since dogs running through the snow leave similar tracks, but these were in places where the dogs don't usually go (a little open marsh grassland). Saw some mouse tracks, and some burrows. From what I understand about their behaviour, they mainly live right at the snow/soil line, where the temp doesn't drop too much (the snow acts as an insulator). One of my dogs, many years ago, would listen for the sound of the mice under the snow, and pounce down with both forepaws to try and catch it. I don't think he ever did, but he did bring home a frozen mouse once, and was throwing it up in the air in the living room (which had hardwood floors!). http://inaturalist.ca/observations/4835662

Posted on December 23, 2016 21:30 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment