While the Lion King was absorbing 95% of my energies, a small part of my brain was observing the reluctant spring. There were two warm days, but mostly we get cold, cold winds, often very strong, and quite a lot of cloud. The migrant birds started to appear despite this. The purple finches have at last added some colour to my bird feeder.
Usually, when the ice on the pond starts to break up, it goes within a few days. This year it took nearly two weeks to finally leave, which mean the last of the ice was gone a month later than last year. (A Bufflehead near the ice.)And the upper pond, which usually opens first, stayed frozen for another week!White crowned and gold crowned sparrows arrived. The white crowned will stay but the gold crowned move to the higher country to breed.Ruffed Grouse started making their extraordinary gas motor noise by beating their wings. And of course the robins started to sing.I went to town to pick up a couple of volunteers. There were mule deer everywhere, hard to see in the early light against the tawny winter grass. In spring and fall one might encounter 40 or 50 of them along Highway 20.They leap the fence with ease.Williams Lake is warmer, and on the way down the hill to the Fraser River, I saw the first aspen catkins.While in town, I took the dogs for their annual shave.The lower pond finally opened.Now a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye have taken up residence.A green-winged Teal comes and goes.The inevitable Mallards have taken their usual places,And a species I have never seen before is hanging about. The Gadwall.The early species of pussy willows were now in full bloom,And when that happens, the humming birds soon arrive.I have taken down the tray feeder so I can clean up the garden plot below the bay window ready for planting (if we EVER get any warm weather) but I still toss a bit of seed onto the deck. The dynamics of the creatures that eat it are interesting to watch. Here are two of the 5 chipmunks, and a few of the dozen or so purple finches. (The brown ones are females.) The chipmunks have little spats all the time if they get too close to each other. Then along comes the squirrel and frightens them off.The squirrel is not allowed to eat in peace, however. There are two others of his kind and they fight constantly!It is time to stop feeding the birds and animals altogether, however. For now the brown-headed cowbirds have come.Mrs cowbird lays her eggs in other birds’ nests and the unwitting adoptive parents raise them at the expense of their own young. I don’t particularly have a problem with this behaviour – it is nature and quite a few other species of birds do the same. But when other birds are less interested in the food, it seems unfair to give the cowbirds an extra edge by fattening them up.
The full moon came and went. The mornings of the best positioning were too cloudy, but two days after the full I managed this shot.Mostly, however, the storms keep rolling over the mountains.Thanks to my volunteers, the garden is dug and manured, the drip hoses are organized (they will be buried) – now I just need some real spring weather to make things grow!