THE GREENING

After our mild winter, we had a cold, late spring. Cloudy, bitter winds, but almost no rain. Other areas in the region had rain, but we had only dribbles. It is still very dry. Some years we get a hot spell in the last half of May and the leaves come out all at once. The advantage of the cold was that the precious spring green colour lasted for quite a while.

The first hint of it came in mid May.

It was about this time that the brown-headed cowbirds arrived. I always quit feeding seeds then. Most birds are preferring wild food and the chipmunks are eating most of the seed. Also, the cowbirds are parasitic – they lay eggs in other birds’ nests. I don’t object to this – it is nature – but I don’t want to encourage the cowbirds more than necessary.

I rarely see yellow headed blackbirds at my feeder, but a slough about an hour east is full of them. Not only are they striking,

They also have a really weird song.

Gradually, the green grew stronger.

Near Williams Lake, the balsam root daisies were just starting to come out.

Pink mountains and green forest are hard to photograph because of the contrast.

Although I had quit feeding the other birds, I kept the sugar going for the humming birds. David Attenborough has a great documentary on these creatures. He mainly deals with tropical species, but a lot can be applied to our rufous. Their hearts beat about 600 times a minute when at rest, a thousand times a minute when hovering, and 1200 times a minute when fighting. To survive the night, they go into a state of torpor when their hearts beat 40 times a minute. If that’s what happens in the tropics, imagine how these feisty little creatures survive up here.

A red bellied sapsucker visited once or twice.

And by now there were all sorts of ducks on the pond. Unfortunately my camera doesn’t handle the distance; if I go down to the pond, low trees get in the way. So I cannot get quality duck pictures.

Cinnamon teal.

Barrow’s goldeneye

And ringneck. Love the beak!.

Wildflowers started to pop up.

Rock cress.

And the inevitable dandelions.

The predominantly dull weather often had brief, dramatic sunrises.

The wind affected the trail camera. I usually check it about once a week. One time I had 300 + pictures of blank road. When the wind blew, it shook the tree on which the camera was mounted and it took a selfie. I was debating whether or not I should find another spot, but the next time I looked I started to get some wildlife. First, here is a wind shot.

Digital Camera

A mule deer is wondering whether to brave the dust.

Digital Camera

But the biggest surprise was this guy.

Digital Camera

About two hours later, he came back again. He’s a young male and not in very good shape even if you ignore the scruffy shedding.

Digital Camera

Another interesting sun rise.

This one happened this morning.

And also today, I was able to photograph babies. It is the third duck family I have seen but because the beaver have expanded the pond so much, there are all sorts of backwaters and crannies among the sedges so the babies are hard to see. These are buffleheads.

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