19 October 2016
Today was as classic a fall day in southern Ontario as one could imagine and Miriam and I decided to take advantage of it and go for a walk along the Mill Race Trail in St. Jacobs, one of our favourite walks in the area.
It was pleasantly warm and the colours were breathtaking.
In addition, Miriam has a new Nikon Coolpix B700 camera and she wanted to get some practice shooting with it, before our upcoming vacation in Cuba.
I don't think we will ever totally grow up, at least I hope not - perhaps we can remain children with wrinkles! Black-capped Chickadees Poecile atricapillus will readily accept seeds from the hand; in fact along well worn trails such as this one they have come to associate walkers with food and are quick to surround you as soon as you enter their territory
For children this is a magical experience indeed, but for adults hardly less so, I suspect. I know that it's true for me and today, when offered some seed by a kind fellow trail walker, I could not resist.
White-breasted Nuthatches Sitella carolinensis often keep company with chickadees, especially at this time of the year when they are both looking for food to cache away for the harsh months ahead.
In all the years that I have hand-fed chickadees I have never had a White-breasted Nuthatch land on my hand, nor even attempt to do so. Imagine my surprise and delight, therefore, when this individual landed on my hand to get its share of seed.
Not only did it fearlessly alight on my hand, it made no attempt to snag a seed and leave quickly. It moved around on my palm and sorted through the seeds until it found the choicest item being offered. If an impudent chickadee attempted to horn in, it was summarily driven off.
Not only that, the nuthatch flew away to hide its prize and then returned to my hand for more.
It was a remarkable encounter indeed, filled with pleasure. Any time I can have intimate contact with a wild creature I cherish it, and this experience was supremely memorable.
Thanks to Miriam for the pictures. If this is what she can get on the first day using the camera, when she is not yet familiar with all the settings, we can look forward to good things to come.