Another month has passed already and winter is right around the corner. We had a really sloppy (for lack of a better term!) storm last week that brought some heavy rain in the morning before turning to wet, heavy, slushy snow by noon. I picked that afternoon to take a snapshot of my backyard so you could see the area I write about every month. As you can see in the photo, I have shown where the webcam is situated. We are now streaming online worldwide for the current season of Project FeederWatch, running from November to mid April, 2016. Catch the webcam here.
The morning after this storm, I went outside to fill the feeders and discovered mouse trails all over the yard! They ran up & down the side of the garage, through the flowerbeds, etc. There were little teeny-tiny footprints everywhere along with tunnels dug through the snow. Really cool!
At the end of October, I received a phone call from someone telling me that he had just seen a Snowy Owl on the ground beside our rec center, when he went by on his bicycle. Hubby and I immediately drove up there to see for ourselves and this lovely girl was sitting there. I got my best photos ever of a Snowy as she calmly sat there and let us watch her. She was there for 2 days. A huge thrill for me!
October also brought a thrilling sighting to my yard when I discovered a beautiful female Pileated Woodpecker in my crabapple tree one day! I’ve always known these huge Woodpeckers were around … I hear them in the neighbourhood regularly … but to my knowledge, this is the first one actually IN the yard.
There have been many great sightings around my yard in the past month … some expected …. some not so much. In the last week of October, Robins migrated through in big flocks. I had 4 at a time in my yard but drove through neighbourhoods where I saw at least a dozen at a time fly away.
I have at least 7 Blue Jays visiting my yard daily. I put peanuts out for the them and it is such great entertainment watching them battle the Crows and Ruffed Grouse for their share!
Evening Grosbeaks are back at my feeders steadily and will be here for the winter now. I have about 25 visiting daily at this point. I dearly love these loud, rambunctious, opinionated birds!
Pine Grosbeaks are now here for the winter too. Whereas Evening Grosbeak are here all year round, Pines are migratory and only show up from late October to about late April. They are my version of the Red Bird since I don’t get Cardinals here (altho’ a female was seen on the other side of town last week!). I absolutely love the sound of the Pine Grosbeak’s super soft whistles.
I noticed a flock of Waxwings this week, hitting my neighbour’s crabapple shrubs which were loaded with fruit this fall (unlike mine). Once I stepped outside to get better photos, I realized instantly that the call of this bird was different and was not a Cedar Waxwing: they were Bohemian Waxwings! There were about 35 to 40 birds in the flock and they cleaned off this particular shrub in 3 days.
I still have a pair of Dark Eyed Juncos hanging around. They might migrate any day now (like the rest of their flock) or they might stay part of the winter. They are one of those species that could go either way. I most certainly wouldn’t mind if they stayed. 🙂
We now have 3 Ruffed Grouse that visit the yard and feeders. I have one here almost every day. Sometimes, like yesterday, 2 will spend a whole day in the yard and every once in a while, the third one will come around. One Grouse (in the photo) is smaller than the other two, making me think it might be a first year bird.
My most special visitor of this week came yesterday morning. I logged onto Twitter and the webcam as I do every morning and one of the first things I saw was a post of a squirrel seen on cam before daylight. Knowing that I’ve had 2 little Red Squirrels now able to get up onto the feeders this year (plants are just big enough for them to jump now!), the viewer thought that’s what it was ….. but Red Squirrels don’t come out in the dark. This little critter is a Northern Flying Squirrel that flew in for breakfast yesterday at 5:45 am! I’ve always known there are Flying Squirrels here but this is the first documented sighting for my yard! 🙂 You can also see the short video of its visit here.
And that’s the way the month has been! When you next hear from me, it will be Christmas ….. thanks so much for reading!