Friday, December 29, 2006

Black-capped Chickadee

One of our most faithful and regular of winter visitors; this little Black- capped Chickadee finally found the bird food mixture I had placed in the middle of this evergreen wreath for it. Other daily regulars at our feeder area this winter are: Blue Jays, American Goldfinch, American Tree Sparrows, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, one Song Sparrow, and one White-breasted Nuthatch.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Song Sparrow in the Snow

This little Song Sparrow should have been long gone but it seems it has chosen to spend its days at our feeder area. It has been several weeks now since I have noticed it almost daily and perhaps it will over-winter here although now that we have snow on the ground it might consider heading a bit further south.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Goldfinch Feeding

My first glance out onto our feeding area yesterday morning, to check the status of the approaching storm that had been predicted, rewarded me with the sight of a large group of American Goldfinch in the trees, feeding at the several feeders, and on the ground also. They were everywhere. The niger seed feeder was in constant use. They were also aware of the coming storm and were preparing themselves for it as well.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sky Forecasting

We have had many beautiful, richly coloured sunsets recently and last evening I was hoping to see somewhat the same forecast in the skies: 'Red sky at Night Sailor's Delight'. However, as indicated by the banded alto- cumulus (aka: 'Mackerel Sky' ) I saw late yesterday afternoon, the weather forecast for today on the weather news will probably hold true and a winter storm will develop before the day is through.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Snow Buntings

Although we have no snow I have been looking for them; these white Snow Buntings, these harbingers of winter.

How appropiate
of them
is on
the first

Sunday, December 17, 2006

light juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

While searching for Rough-legged Hawks along hwy #105 we had pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway and were scanning the fields to our left. Having seen no activity I started to pull back onto the highway when my spouse shouted," Stop!". For to the right, just beside us, only a couple of meters from our car, was a light juvenile Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a branch! With the window quickly rolled down I was able to capture a couple of pictures before it flew away.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rough-legged Hawk

Having heard reports of Rough-legged Hawks being present along highway 105 near Sheffield we decided to go searching for them and we were not disappointed. This handsome light phase Rough-legged Hawk stood alertly on the roll of hay before flying low over the field to continue its hunt for prey. Its difficult to count the actual number of hawks seen for we are never sure of how many repeat sightings we are counting but we saw at least three different hawks yesterday
and maybe more.

editing note: Other posts on Rough-legged Hawks can be found at:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wearing Their Name

Fleeing across the field into the nearby woods these White-tailed Deer show the obvious origin of their name.... White-tailed

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Autumn's End

Tho the winter solstice is not until December 21st it seems that autumn has been long gone. While walking through the woods and reflecting upon the changes I saw around me; I had these thoughts on the ending of one season and the beginning of another.Needles of pine quilt a soft warm blanket using
hushed hues of faded browns and yawning yellows

as Autumn prepares its winter bed

Northern vagabonds of wind and snow
whistle a warning lullaby of winter's approach
and Autumn falls asleep upon a soft white pillow

copyright: f.g
me and my camera

to view another seasonal writing piece please go to:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bald Eagle

Yesterday I had planned on driving to a community some 12 miles or so away to see if I could find some Snow Buntings that frequent that area each winter. However, before I reached my destination I noticed a large bird at a distance, circling high in the sky and I thought it might possibly be a Turkey Vulture for it had a wide, black wingspan with fingered wing tips and I have seen them in this area before. Checking with my binoculars though, I saw the bird had a white head and tail and I knew I was looking at a mature Bald Eagle. It remained vey high and distant and I could only get a fleeting impression of the bird as it continued its circling and gradually faded from my sight. I deciding to return home and leave my intended search for Snow Buntings to another day. I was almost home when I saw the Eagle again, this time, although still very high, it was directly overhead. Another opportunity! I leaned alongside my car for support and aimed upward and was able able to capture a few pictures before it soared away.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rock Pigeon

This solitary, white Rock Pigeon (aka: Rock Dove) was sitting on the very top of a silo yesterday and as I drove by I just knew I had to stop and turn around and try to get its picture. And that is what I did for a white Pigeon is not a common sight. I would really like to get a much closer photo to see the feet and eye colour of this pigeon. I think I have caught a glimpse of this bird before for I recall a few impressions of having seen an all white, fairly large; pigeon sized bird quickly disappearing from sight. Once this happened in our own feeder area. But for now I will just enjoy the beauty of this dove from a distance and hopefully will get another photographic opportunity another time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves are with us all year long. Sometimes their numbers are large, numbering up to 29 or more in our feeder area. Before I started to really take note of birds I thought the spelling of their name was, Morning Doves, for that is what I had heard people call them. Then one day in my back yard about eight years ago, before I was an avid bird watcher, I kept hearing their soft, repeative, cooing sounds surrounding me and I suddenly understood their name; Mourning Doves!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gray Squirrel Visitor

Precariously agile, quick footed and nimble; Gray Squirrels often put on a display of acrobatics that one can only marvel at. Although I would prefer that these unwanted visitors didn't gobble up so much food that is intended for birds at my feeders; these furry creatures often make me laugh and provide much amusement when I watch their sure footed antics from my window.

To view other postings on a Gray Squirrel go to:

Monday, December 04, 2006

American Goldfinch

Our first major snowfall fall today found many American Goldfinch feeding in our bird feeder area. These little birds are frequent visitors and their numbers have increased over the past few days. We expect to continue seeing them at our feeders daily throughout the coming winter months.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Birch Polypore

I'm sure many have noticed these bracket fungi at some time or other on Birch trees. Birch Polypore are commonly seen on dead Birch.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Burl Wood

This is the time of year when there are many craft shows and Christmas bazars and often you can find a table displaying beautiful wood turned bowls created from unique wood formations that are made from burl wood.

I suppose I have walked by this tree along my favourite walking trail hundreds of times but had never taken a picture of the huge burl protruding from its trunk before. However having seen some beautiful wooden bowls at a craft table just last weekend, I thought it worthy of mention.

A burl is an abnormal growth on a tree and is often prized by artists and wood crafters for its uniqueness of growth patterns and rings that it may hold within. (editing note: the above photo to the left was added to the original posting when found and photographed on Dec. 11, '06)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We have visits from a White-breasted Nuthatch daily, seen right, but we are still waiting for a Red-breasted Nuthatch to visit our feeder area this autumn. The one pictured above was photographed high up in a tree in a wooded area alongside an old dirt road.

Monday, November 27, 2006

British Soldiers and Pink Earth

British Soldiers, Pink Earth, Pixie Cups; all rather fanciful and whimisical names that I find fascinating. As equally fascinating are the small, diminutive lichens that these nomenclature represent. Looking down, rather than up to the sky or high in the treetops, had some pretty spectacular surprises in store for me yesterday. In fact more that just looking down, a hands and knees view can be very rewarding.

British Soldiers: These handsome, red clad lichens reminded early Americans of the uniforms of British soldiers during times of their presense in North American ; and thus their name.

The source of the name of the pastel pink lichen to the left, Pink Earth, appeared to be visually self explanatory when viewed spread over the earth below my feet. Pixie Cups; now that is a naming word of enchant -ment and I am taken back to the imaginary realms of childhood when I look at these very, tiny cup like lichens. Why not get down close to the earth and look for them too.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Common Goldeneye

I enjoyed many sightings of Common Goldeneye along the St. John River yesterday but they were rather skittish whenever I stopped along the highway to view them from my car. That's the reason why most all of my photos included in this post are of departing Goldeneye in flight or take off. I had to catch these beautiful birds 'on the wing' as they quickly dispersed.
Although the round white circle on the auriculars of the male Common Goldeneye is an easily identifiable marking (not to be confused with the white crescent of the less common Barrows Goldeneye); it is the 'golden eye' of this duck from which it derives its name. In the composite photo below, (of photos taken in 2004), the golden eye of both the male and female Common Goldeneye is easily seen.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Red-tailed Hawk

Its quite easy to see how this Red-tailed Hawk got its name!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

male Purple Finch

We have seen very few Purple Finch this fall but for a couple of days this week have had one male and two females show up at our feeders for very brief periods of time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wildflower Identification

Perhaps you might think this an in- appropriate seasonal topic but having spent much time yesterday pondering over the id of a wildflower that I found still in bloom, (photographed Nov. 17), I thought the topic worthy of mention. Sticky Groundsel had had me mystified since having first taken pictures of it in early September and I was unable to id it at the time so I had filed the photos under 'unknown wildflower'.

When looking for the id of an unknown wildflower I always check in Peterson's Wildflowers field guide first. While searching through the field guide in September I had noticed leaves similiar to those in my photos but the illustrations for Stinking Groundsel (Peterson's Wildflowers p.167) did not show any open blossoms with yellow petals as in my photos; so I passed it by.

Yesterday I decided to pursue 'Groundsel' further and found mention of the plant in Hal Hinds book, Flora of New Brunswick, p.473; and here was another clue for me . Sticky or Stinking Groundsel was found in waste areas and along railways; and that's exactly where I had found it; along the railroad tracks! Of the three Groundsels mentioned by Hinds, Sticky Groundsel was the only one that made mention of 'railways'; so maybe I was on the right track afterall. However, Hinds' book did not include any illustrations showing open petals blossoms either so I then turned to Google and did an image search for Sticky Groundsel. Doing an image search was very productive and I found several sites showing images which included the yellow petaled bloom stage as in my photos. Mystery solved!
reference sources:
Hinds, Harold, Flora of New Brunswick, Biology Department, UNB 2000
Peterson, Roger Tory, A Field Guide to Wildflowers Northeastern and North-central North America, Houghton Mifflin Co. 1996