Feeling Bad For Dad

It was just yesterday that I photographed Mr.’s beautiful family…three babes and his lovely Mrs.

P1170607However, last evening held a huge wind storm and a driving rain.  This morning held no cries and demands from the nest.  I noticed as I was pouring my first cup of coffee.  It appeared that Mr. and Mrs. were hanging onto the duct tape searching into the nest, when an angry male (actual Mr.) swooped in with tremendous aggression…the female flying away and the male battling with Mr. and falling to the ground.  Mr. then moved in to his territory…but, alone.  It was such a sad sight.  I’m imagining that some situation was encountered in the night that left Mrs. fighting on behalf her young ones.  For some reason I’m not imagining a positive outcome and I feel a sense of loss.

Dad made himself as large as he could at the entrance to the nest all morning long and still calls out redundantly from the eve’s trough.  Instinctively, his role has disappeared.  I wonder how long before he accepts his loss.

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Sheep-ISH Dog

Some of my friends on social media may have thought I was joking when I compared this fox to my dog, Max.

I just returned from my hike around the pond with Max…something we do at least once a day and when the weather co-operates, twice.  Lately, the wintry pond environment has offered new insights.  For one, during the huge spell of deep snow and icy temperatures, I found a kill site.  A predatory bird, likely some type of hawk, was evidently taken down by a large carnivore (I was initially thinking, a larger male coyote).  The feathers and parts of the bird were carried over a long trail.

I’ve purchased some casting plaster and will want to take a cast of the tracks that I’ve found circling the entire pond, simply because their profile is much larger than the other coyotes that have inhabited the area….more than four inches.  I want to do some comparison identification.  These matters always intrigue me.

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Add to that, the presence of deer sign (very unusual for this part of Fish Creek because it is fenced off) and several skat sites that included lots of animal hair as well as the typical berries, and it is evident that the wintery weather is offering all of the animals challenges for food sources and water.

So, today Max was, as is typical, exploring all of this.  As well, he was showing his mousing behaviours, every so often, acting very much like the fox featured in the previous Youtube video…only difference is that he doesn’t do the exuberant leap into the air.  He does, however, bury his snout completely into the snow, even snow that has developed a bit of a crust in this morning’s lowering temperatures.

Today…YES!  He brought out a mouse!  And…NO!  It mattered not how many times I commanded “Drop IT!”

“LEAVE IT!”

“COME!”

Max, consumed the mouse…yes indeedy!  Right in front of me…sheepishly relocating to a different spot every time I made a move toward him!  I know that my readers can imagine this.  I was so exasperated watching the horrors of a mouse being eaten bit by bit by my domestic pet, that I am still agitated.  Does Max know that I am angry?  You tell me.

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Now, of course, my next concern….”Is this going to bite Max in the butt?  bite me in the butt?”  As I collected these photographs at our arrival home, he burped.  SHEESH!

Storm Gathering: Now Arrived

BOOM! Boom of thunder as I type.

It felt cozy in the studio while listening to Dave Matthew’s Band on the stereo.  It’s always wonderful to be in that space when it’s grey outside.  It just feels so warm and bright.  I noticed before I began my sanding that the birds were in a bit of a frenzy at the feeder.  I wanted to belt out a warning to them.  The neighbour across the way has an ‘outdoor cat’.  I woke this morning to watch as the cat pitched a bird up in the air over and over again, batting it viciously and then tossing it again, over and over until it lay lifeless…the cat walked away…its owner, in bathrobe, sipped from a Tim Horton’s cup and smoked a cigarette while watching.  Seems like torture to me.  She was probably saying to herself, “This is what it’s like in nature.”

I kept from talking to her about it.  I try not to razz the neighbours.  I also had to change my mindset.  I remembered Mom and Dad singing this one in the station wagon.  We all laughed about the ‘wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside ‘er’ part…guess it’s the lighter side of the predator story.

Back to the birds…they seemed to be getting a good feed before the storm!

P1120352 P1120353I heard a chickadee in the tree, but of course the little thing had to wait for the sparrows to fly off in unison at the bark of my dog and then it had its chance.

P1120356All this activity happening at the front of the house, I went out to the studio to get some stripping and sanding done.

Grey clouds were gathering, but the studio looked welcoming and the music was set to playing.

P1120359 P1120361Good physical work, music and a glass of fizzy ice water…a perfect combination for time well-spent!

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

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I came inside to find my ‘indoor cat’ jumping off the red couch to greet me.  Life is good.

 

Two Voices: Mr. Finds His Mrs.

Life for two small birds in a Bridge Street back yard.

The struggle of two small birds in a Bridge Street back yard.

In June, I wrote a post (One Voice) about an elusive bird that was calling out repetitively, seeking out its mate.  I thought there was no hope for this spritely male, after weeks of June crooning.  This post is a record of a partnership.  What my readers will hear is a defensive chatter as both birds try desperately to ward off ‘the enemy’.  Bridge Street is inundated with black birds and squirrels.  I don’t know how many small birds actually fend off such a huge number of predators.  This nest was abandoned a short two days later and at the time of this recording, I had already heard the hungry chirps of hatchlings, their demise, unknown.

What I Do When I’m Not Searching For P. Mason OR Writing About Searching For Him

I came home from a day of teaching grade eight social studies (Yes…sometimes I am a guest teacher!  Yesterday I watched, four times over, a late 90s film on Latitude and Longitude.  I feel now that I’ve learned a lot that I hadn’t previously learned in my own schooling.  I often feel that way about teaching.  I’m going to have to remember to ask my brother who is in the Canadian Navy more about a sextant though.  In fact, I’d like to hold a sextant in my hands because then I truly think it will make more sense.  I’m amazed really, thinking about the early nautical travelers, setting out onto the ocean, not REALLY able to sort out where they were.  Huge risk, I say!  But…this has been a digression, yet again!) 

When I arrived home from teaching yesterday, my entire front yard was covered in a fresh blanket of snow.  Clearly, there was a footprint-story to be told in the crisp white surface.  There were no people-prints adjacent, so I excluded the possibility of these being those of a domesticated canine; however,  I am open to the possibility that they were left by a run-away dog. James R. Page does a far more professional job of taking photos of tracks in winter-snow!  I noticed that the footprints circled the place where my birdfeeder used to lose much seed to the ground. (The seed does not fall to the ground here anymore because I have attached a beautiful tray so as to not attract predators.  Now,  the birds do not even feed here anymore!  I jest…there are two neighbourhood chickadees and a couple of finches that are brave enough to tackle the new physical dynamic.   The sparrows line the branches of my front-yard tree and look down, longingly, at the mother-load.)

The footprints.  I have left the autumn vegetation in my gardens as protective structure for the jack rabbits that hang about all winter.  It may be that my visitor to the front yard was looking for sustenance (bunny) on the wintry day.  So, here are my suspicions.  I think that Wiley is still out there!  Yes, our neighbourhood has its own coyote, a male that comes up from the Fish Creek and hangs out in our neighbourhood park.  Recently, I believed that we had lost Wiley.  He has, at least three times, stalked Max and I back to my front doorstep.  In fact, one morning at about 4:00 a.m. Max made a huge commotion and charged up the stairs to the front window.  I followed, alarmed.  There, on my front doorstep, was Wiley, munching enthusiastically into some sort of flesh.  At Max’s reaction, the coyote, nonchalantly, made his way down the street, with ears and body of his prey dangling out of either side of his face.  The last time I made a visual siting though, Wiley was sporting some sort of facial wound.  He looked emaciated and generally, not well.  It’s been a couple of months and still, no Wiley.  Until yesterday?