January 20, 2018

What pink nose?

Spotted this young Virginia Opossum near the recycling bins.

Didelphis virginiana
There are several dozen different species of opossum, which are often called possums in North America. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada.

January 17, 2018

Waves and waves of ice.

What a difference a season can make.


Seems everyone but me has been posting snowy owl photos.
This is the first one I've been able to get this season.

Bubo scandiacus
The Snowy Owl can be found represented in cave paintings in Europe.

January 14, 2018

Giving your cat a pill

By Bob Story

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as though holding a baby.
Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cats’ mouth and gently apply pressure to his cheeks. Cat will then close mouth and swallow.
2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Repeat process.
3) Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw away soggy pill.
4) Remove second pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly in left hand. Force jaws open, and push pill to back of throat with forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10 if you are able. Hold cat’s mouth closed as well.
5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and the cat form the top of wardrobe. Call for assistance.
6) Knell on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, immobilizing front and rear paws. Ask assistant to hold cat’s head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat’s throat. Flick pill down ruler with forefinger, and rub cat’s throat vigorously.
7) Retrieve cat from living room valance.
8) Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth, and set aside for later gluing. Remove third pill from foil wrap.
9) Wrap cat in beach towel, and ask assistant to lie prone on cat with cat’s head visible under assistant’s armpit. Put pill in paper tube you’ve made for this purpose. Then, force cat’s mouth open with pencil and blow.
10) Check label to make sure pill is not lethal to humans. Sip water to take taste away. Apply bandage to assistant’s forearm, and remove blood from carpet with soap and cold water.
11) Retrieve cat from neighbour’s roof. Remove fourth pill from foil. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on cat’s neck with head outside cupboard. Force mouth open with desert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.
12) Fetch screwdriver from garage, and put cupboard doors back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek, and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw bloodied, ripped T-shirt away, and fetch another from bedroom.
13) Apologize to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat.
14) Call 911, ask fire department to retrieve cat from eucalyptus tree.
15) Remove remaining pill from foil wrap.
16) Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and securely tie to leg of dining table. Put on heavy-duty pruning gloves. Force cat’s mouth open with tire iron. Drop pill, previously hidden in an ounce of hamburger, into cat’s mouth. Hold head vertically with nose pointed to ceiling, and pour half-pint of water down cat’s throat, and two jiggers of whiskey down your own.
17) Ask assistant to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor administers anesthetic, stitches fingers, forearm and removes pill fragments from eye.

18) Drop off cat, along with a generous donation, at animal shelter and adopt a goldfish.

January 13, 2018

Snow-bellied Woodpecker.

Red-bellied woodpecker, Rondeau Provincial Park, January 13, 2018.

The birds in the yard were all frozen including this red-bellied woodpecker, we assume there was a raptor nearby.
Snow fell and coated the red-belly as it hung on.
After 5 minutes the birds started moving again.
Photo taken through the Wonderful Wildlife Window.

Melanerpes carolinus
A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-bellied_Woodpecker/lifehistory

January 06, 2018


Look closely and you will see a blue jay under the owl and a feather on the owls beak.
Blue jays like to mob long eared owls, actually all owls, and perhaps this one paid the price.

Asio otus
Long-eared Owls are lanky owls that often seem to wear a surprised expression thanks to long ear tufts that typically point straight up like exclamation marks. These nocturnal hunters roost in dense foliage, where their camouflage makes them hard to find, and forage over grasslands for small mammals. Long-eared Owls are nimble flyers, with hearing so acute they can snatch prey in complete darkness. In spring and summer, listen for their low, breathy hoots and strange barking calls in the night.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Long-eared_Owl/id

January 05, 2018

The sapsucker tree.

We have one tree the yellow-bellied sapsuckers love. They have been working it over for at least 15 years.
If you look closely you can see the holes in the bark.

Sphyrapicus varius
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only woodpecker in eastern North America that is completely migratory. Although a few individuals remain throughout much of the winter in the southern part of the breeding range, most head farther south, going as far south as Panama. Females tend to migrate farther south than do males.
source - https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Yellow-bellied_Sapsucker/lifehistory

January 02, 2018

Remember when it was warm?

Northern Flicker, Rondeau Provincial Park.

Colaptes auratus

Like most woodpeckers, Northern Flickers drum on objects as a form of communication and territory defense. In such cases, the object is to make as loud a noise as possible, and that’s why woodpeckers sometimes drum on metal objects. One Northern Flicker in Wyoming could be heard drumming on an abandoned tractor from a half-mile away.
source - www.allaboutbirds.org/…/Northern_Flicker/lifehistory