Hello Winter

After a good few days of below zero temperatures, winter stopped messing about and delivered -12°C last night freezing up local waters. My beloved St-Lazare sand pits are nearing the ‘not worth stopping’ period although of course I will. The Canada Geese there are finally doing something useful in keeping at least a bit of open water available. Recently the expected decline of wildfowl has gathered pace although today two Gadwall had popped up from somewhere and the idiot Northern Pintail that has been around since August still thinks it is a Mallard. Speaking of Mallards I counted 374 there last Monday, that is a lot of orange sauce required. Recent pits sightings have included a Golden Eagle that took twenty minutes to clear the field of view, always a treat, and daily Pine Grosbeaks doing what they seem to do best, flying away. One morning one of the Pine Grosbeaks attracted the attention of the regular Northern Grey Shrike and a chase ensued. The grosbeak got away by being faster and more agile than the shrike with was something of a surprise.  Soon my attention will switch to Snowy Owls if they show up this year, so expect a blog littered with good, bad and indifferent photos.

Last week I managed to sprag my back and so I’ve not been walking an awful lot, because of that I have made more visits to a patch of Crab Apples near St-Clet than is logical. Today it paid off when the first Pine Grosbeak to find them had it’s photo taken. Nearby a couple of Common Ravens were so engrossed in their frozen dinner that one let me take a snap before the usual and justified caution around humans came back. Below the photos, just look at the bill on the Raven, brutal!

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