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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday Rambles with David - The Mill Race, St. Jacobs, ON

22 January 2019

     The six members of our group of eight who are still in the country met for a stroll along the Mill Race, a location with which regular readers have become familiar over the past couple of weeks.
     The temperature was minus 21°C when I got up at 05h:30 and this is what the thermometer on my car registered at 09h:00 when we met at the entrance to the trail.


     We were dressed for the weather, however, and enjoyed an envigorating walk along the trail, all decked out in its winter finery.


     There was a pretty decent complement of birds, but I fear we have few pictures. Miriam, as always, was more than willing to act as photographer, but fiddling with the focus wheel through a layer of heavy mittens is not easy, and more often than not the object of her quest flew off before she was able to get a picture.
     I could go to my files and select pictures from previous expeditions, but it seems more appropriate to provide only what we were able to achieve today, given the cold weather.
     A Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) copes with this weather without difficulty.

     Judy had brought sunflower seed with her and was happy to scatter a little for the birds.



     When it comes to hand-feeding wild birds I think that we are all children at heart, and take great pleasure in having a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) land on our hand. I am no different in this respect.


     A male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was puffed up against the cold and presented a striking figure against the denuded branches of trees, waiting out the winter perhaps, as are we, and longing for spring.



     Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) was a very cheery addition to the frigid landscape.


     Some enterprising artisan has put his carving skills to work and has created this appealing artifact on the far bank of the Mill Race.


     As has become our custom of late, we stopped in at the Eco Café in St. Jacobs to have a coffee and refresh a little, before returning to our vehicles.
     On the way back we saw a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) but Miriam was unable to get it in focus before it flew off.
     Before driving away we checked the Conestogo River and this view of the weir gives you a good idea of winter.


     In a prolonged cold spell the entire river will freeze over except in a few spots where the flow is so rapid ice does not get a chance to form.
     Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) seem to take all conditions in stride and handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them.


     
     Jim Huffman, who has an ability, proven time and again, to come up with a rarity, spotted this Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) about 500 metres down the river.


     This species is very rare in winter, with most individuals having long departed for more benign conditions farther south. This bird was a male, and any time I have ever seen a Belted Kingfisher in the winter it has always been a male. One might conclude, perhaps, that the chance to occupy an established territory and be ready for females to return in the spring, is deemed more advantageous than migrating and having to fight for and re-establish a territory to attract a female later on.
     It was a very pleasant walk, in good company, and we were all happy to have shared each other's companionship once again.
    

81 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    A bird in the hand blows the cold away! YAM xx

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  2. Hello, David,
    the weather gives us cold and frost as well. There was -17 c in your place and here was -18 c as well. Miriam and you are very brave people tp walk in such cold weather. Once I fed chickadee on my hand too and I remember its sharp fingers on my palm. This Northern Cardinal is very beautiful especially on the snowy background!

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  3. Buenas noches amigo David. Precioso reportaje, ¡como siempre! Uno más, de los muchos que vienes realizando. ¡Hace mucho frío! Esa temperatura de -17,5 ºC, nada más de pensarlo ya me da frío. Pero vosotros estáis acostumbrados y vais bien preparados para soportar esos hielos. La belleza del paisaje es una maravilla.
    Es todo un espectáculo ver comer en la mano al Chickadee de cabeza negra, es una estampa sumamente enternecedora, como bien dices, es para sentirse como un niño en semejante situación.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo.

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  4. Pensaba que en mi pueblo hacía frío, pero -17,5º eso si que es frío de verdad. Me ha gustado mucho este reportaje, todas las fotos son maravillosas y las del Poecile atricapillus comiendo de la mano es extraordinaria. David un fuerte abrazo desde España, todo lo mejor amigo mío.

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  5. It looks cold in your country as well, David. We had -14 last night.
    Beautiful birds in your area. The Northern Cardinal has a striking color.

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  6. Beautiful bird images. The Northern Cardinal looks like he's can survive a good cold winter judging from his bulging belly.

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  7. I admire a walk at such a cold, let alone take a photo. They are beautiful, because the birds are wonderful, and especially the cardinal has a beautiful color. I would like the bird to eat me too. :)

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  8. Oh my. Frigid, frozen, splendour. And birds. In excellent company. Hard to ask for more isn't it?
    Thank you for taking us along. And a big thank you to Miriam for battling with teeny weeny buttons while wearing mittens.

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  9. It looks beautiful, but that's too cold for my taste (says the Colorado skier).

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  10. At those temperatures it must be hard to take photos because you would need mittens. But you got some fabulous ones,considering the mittens. Those ducks must have plenty of down insulation to swim in that cold water and sit on the ice. Their adaptations are pretty amazing.

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  11. David - so impressed with your willingness to brave those temperatures, AND get some bird pictures into the bargain!!! Did it take long for the chickadee to come to your hand for feeding? I might like to try it!

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    1. It really doesn't take long, Angie. Just find an area where there are lots of chickadees, put seed on your hand and hold it outstretched. They will be quick to take advantage of your kindness.

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  12. Oh my goodness the cold - I won't say anymore about your temperature :)
    You are well rugged up and isn't that Cardinal every so gorgeous.

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    1. We can dress warmly against the cold, Margaret, but you cannot combat the 40 plus temperatures you are experiencing at present.

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  13. Hello David!
    OMG! So low temperatures!
    Wonderful pictures and beautiful Winter scenery!
    Great captures of the Black-capped Chickadee eating from your hand!
    I especially like the images with the Northern Cardinal bird!
    Thank you for sharing this beauty! Have a lovely day!
    Dimi...

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  14. Vid den temperaturen börjar man välja om det är möjligt för en trevlig promenad men ni vet alldeles säkert hur man bör klä sig. En stor utmaning att hantera en kamera i kylan så hälsa din fru att det gjorde hon alldeles utmärkt.
    Själv vill jag så gärna lära mig att fotografera fåglar men hittills har det inte varit så framgångsrikt. Jag är mer oteknisk än de flesta och fågelfotografering är kräver mycket av den som håller i kameran.
    Det ser förfärligt kallt ut för änderna men jag läste alldeles nyligen att de inte fryser om benen och fötterna, de har något som skyddar mot det iskalla vattnet.

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    1. There is a wonderful heat exchange system between the arterial blood leaving the body and the vascular supply returning to the body, so that blood reentering the upper part of the bird is warmed to body temperature beforehand, and the legs and feet of the ducks have few blood vessels and thus remain essentially at the ambient temperature to which they are exposed. You see this also with gulls standing on ice.

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  15. -17o C, that is too much of cold, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Beautiful images David, I do love the carving, brilliant.

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  16. I find it hard to envisage what it must feel like to be out in such temperatures, David. If they ever happened here, I'd probably be forced to stay indoors through lack of suitable clothing. It seems that your birds are somewhat more resilient than I am! I am impressed that your group braved the elements, and can see that it was well worth while - even though photography was frustratingly difficult for Miriam.

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    1. Hi Richard: We are okay with the weather down to about minus twenty. Much below that it gets a little daunting. But my friends in Australia and now facing daily temperatures in the forties. I will take our values any day. We can layer up and stay warm, but they are unable to escape that heat, and essentially have to permanently retreat indoors.

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    2. I'll take the cold as well! My head almost melted last week - not a good thing! SM

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  17. A fruitful trip and optimistic conclusions.

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  18. Hello, I would love to be able to feed a Chickadee or any bird from my hand. Neat sighting of the Kingfisher. A great report of your outing and beautiful birds. I love the wood carving! Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

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  19. I'd say Miriam did darned well with those photos, especially with mittens! I couldn't have done the same. And I think it's such an honor for a bird to trust you enough to eat from your hand. Someday, maybe... It truly is beautiful!

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  20. I don't think we have any wild birds that will feed from the hand, apart from in some city parks where they are completely used to humans. Some gulls at seaside resorts have learned to steal fish and chips from the unwary, but, being gulls, they knock the whole thing on the ground and quickly gobble the lot!

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    1. Aside from the knocking on the ground part, I know people who eat like gulls!

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  21. Hello David,
    Wonderful series of photos are this.
    What is cold with you, very good that you feed the birds.
    I think the cardinal is really great and super that the birds eat out of hand.
    Best regards, Irma

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  22. I've been enjoying belted kingfishers here. With the coots and white pelicans, they're a real sign of winter for us; their arrival and departure mark the season. Like the returning osprey, they're usually heard before they're seen, and it's a thrilling sound to hear.

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  23. It's cold, cold but you went out and took wonderful photographs. The Cardinal seems enjoying himself and don't pay attention to the cold weather.

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  24. Your photos of a black-capped chickadee eating on your hand are always heart-warming.
    It would be lovely to try with their cousins, willow tits, but on the other hand, I don't want them to become too confident with humans.
    Now only -14 C here, but our record is -29 C, two nights ago. :)

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  25. More wonderful photos! Love the puffed up cardinal.

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  26. Feeding has a lot of birds. So here we too. There you have a variety of diners.

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  27. Now I'm just speechless at the thought of minus 19. I would need 8 or ten layers of clothes but be then unable to move so probably best to stay indoors with all the other softies.

    You really have to marvel at how any birds survive the long winter nights at such extremes of temperature, even with copious supplies of seeds and nuts.

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  28. I think that you have much better clothes over there than we have here. I am impressed with myself going out this morning at -2C. I really can cope with high temperatures so much bettter than I can cold. Our stone house, even in the height of summer, does not get too hot other than the office which is in the roof. Love the photos and the cardinal is so pretty. I have also found taking photos with gloves on is not easy!!! Keep warm Diane

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  29. ... and here I was feeling proud at going out when it was -2.

    Well done for braving the (severe) cold and sharing these photographs, they are all lovely. I enjoyed seeing the birds and the wood carving too.

    All the best Jan

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  30. The pictures she did get are terrific!

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  31. An invigorating and rewarding excursion. I just love the male Northern Cardinal.

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  32. The ducks look so cold all huddled together fluffing up that down...Really nice carvings on the tree trunk. Stay warm!

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  33. Such a beautiful blog!!I love birds!Specially the wild ones:))Nice to see them on your blog!

    Here we are feeding but no birds..strnge i think!where have tehy all gone??i suspect Hawks in the area Thats the reason!

    Thank youfor sharing these wonderful photoes:)))

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  34. Hello David,
    I don't envy you for these temperatures. Allthough we do have some winter out here, it is a bit white and freezing just a little, I'm glad it's nothing like you have.
    I can understand that putting out her mittens, was not an option for Miriam. So my compliments for the pictures she did manage.
    Very nice to see the chickadee eating from your hand, and I love the pictures of the red cardinal.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  35. It does look cold but very beautiful. The Red Cardinal is a stunning bird and lovely to see the Chickadee feeding from your hand.

    I really do like the tree carving :)

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  36. Oh, the bird in the gloved hand is such a sweet shot. I often let my fingers freeze and go gloveless so I can take photos, although it would be rare for temperatures in my neck of the woods to go as low as what you’re experiencing. We are fortunate, indeed, if warmed by friendships in the cold of winter. Like the birds, we flock together. :)

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  37. 91/5000
    How beautiful the pictures.
    Did the bird of nature come to eat in your hand?
    Good continuation of month

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  38. The Kingfisher must have a good idea of where to look for food. Terrific shots!

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  39. Brrrrrr those temperatures are to much for me David. We are having here now a small Winterspel with -10 in the nights and during the day -1 Unbelivable to read there is still a Kingfisher around dous he find fish in the open water near the waterfall? So nice to see the birds eating out of your hands. No fear there. Hunger prevails it seems.
    Well take care and stay warm.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  40. frozen...but beautiful images include birds.
    have a great day

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  41. I enjoy seeing snow photos but that temperature made me shiver and it's summer here in New Zealand!! Gorgeous birds.

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  42. Sweet birds, the red little bird is truly adorable.
    Lovely pictures too, wish you a nice weekend.

    Ida

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  43. Pfff .... -21c brrrrr .........
    I like your photos very beautiful with that beautiful white snow.
    I am really jealous of those beautiful red cardinals. How beautiful birds that are. The woodpecker is also enjoying a nice meal. The wood carving in the tree is a true work of art. The ducks are also fun to see. Your last foot is really top hahaha ... ff search and you'll find it :-)
    Very nice this post.

    Greetings and a kiss,
    Helma xx

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  44. Minus how many ? THAT's frosty ! Looks like you had a great day...

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  45. Wow, that's cold to go out there David.
    You would almost freeze, brrrrr
    But you could take beautiful pictures.
    Greetings Tinie

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  46. Hi David,
    The landscape looks marvellous. but very cold!! But not easy to keep your hands warm and take some Photos, but Mariam did well!
    Gorgeous Juncto and amazing hand-feeding moment. Again portraits of the Northern Cardinal male. Superbe! The Belted Kingfisher make the day complete!
    Have a nice day,
    Regards,
    Maria

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  47. Hi David,
    Winter in the Netherlands means nothing compared with what you experience in Canada. I can imagine that taking pictures is a pretty hard job. The cardinal is a beauty, even more under these snowy conditions.
    Greetings, Kees

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  48. Oh -17 it's too cold for me!
    Beautiful landscape, walk, carving on the tree and birds the real protagonists with whom to enjoy as children, we all become children in nature.
    A hug.

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  49. Las fotos son maravillosas pero pufffffffffffffff que frío y yo diciendo que hace frío en mi ciudad cuando estábamos a -8º.

    Abrazote utópico, Irma.-

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  50. My gosh -21!! Still it looks like a good walk and it's always a joy to see a Kingfisher.

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  51. Hi David,
    I'm not sure that I would be out in such temperatures, I would either being brave or foolhardy, not sure as to which.
    But you and your group certainly appear to have had a good visit, especially feeding the birds in the hand.
    Always good to see a Northern Cardinal that appears brighter than ever in the snow.
    All the best to you both, John

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  52. It looks sooo cold!
    I always admire little birds for surviving in such frozen landscapes!
    Have a great day,David.

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  53. Viendo esto no puedo quejarme del frio en Béjar.Hemos tenido -3º y de momento nada de nuevo. Abrigándose bien se puede salir a pasear. Precioso reportaje David.
    Buen miércoles.
    Un abrazo.

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  54. Good job on finding some great birds in the cold! I love the cardinal photos, so gorgeous! Also it's interesting to see the snowy trails and partially frozen river when we're heading into another weekend of 35C+ temps here! Stay warm!

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  55. Wow, that is cold...
    Loved the picture of the little bird eating out of someone's hand, so precious, and the Cardinal with a speck of ice on its beak, so cute :)
    I wonder how such small creatures manage to survive such weather.

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  56. There is nothing better than being outdoors in winter!

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  57. i love a good winter walk, not far, but the air is so crisp and clear, i don't understand people who don't enjoy it. miriams bird pictures are incredible, especially the male cardinal!!

    the tree carving is quite cool!!!

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  58. Hi David - it looks chilly! But so good of you to post - and give us a chance to see what life around the Conestogo River ... wonderful it's mostly a conservation area. Cheers - Hilary

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  59. Hola David, yo que con -8 estoy congelada no me imagino con ese frío y eso que es verdad que ahora la ropa es estupenda. Las fotos son preciosas, me gusta ver a las aves como acuden a comer. Un fuerte abrazo para los dos.

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  60. lol. this does not look like Costa Rica. Not the same temperature I think. I like your hand feeding :)

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  61. Hello!
    I really like your photos of birds. The Northern Cardinal looks so nice.

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  62. Kudos to you and your companions to brace the cold and go out. We don't have cardinals here, but I wish we had. I've seen them only once on a trip through Pennsylvania and I remember how excited I was about that. Our birds here don't have to endure hard winters, but lots of rain right now. The Belted Kingfishers at "my" lake don't mind though, they are always pretty active and I love to watch them.

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  63. Hi Dvaid,
    It must be very nice to have a bird to come and eat in our hand.
    I especially loved the photos of the Cardinal, it is a wonderful bird.
    Have a nice weekend
    Greetings
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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  64. Well, I have never walked in temperatures THAT cold! But if you say it was invigorating...I'll take your word for it! heehee! Love your bird photos and how nice to see that beautiful Kingfisher! We'll be out on a trail this afternoon but I don't think it would be nice to tell what temp it will be! Enjoy your weekend!

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  65. Hello, David! I am looking forward to your Costa Rica photos. I am sure you saw some great birds during your trip! I am a fair weather birder during the cold winter days I bird from my house, lol. Thanks for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy day and weekend.

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  66. I would love to have birds feeding from my hand too! How nice if we can have some of the snow to cool us down. Today's highest was 34 deg. C and now is 28 deg. C. Have a blessed Sunday!

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  67. Hi David, I think you guys are heroes going out with these temperatures and feeding the birds! And get up at 05:30 a.m., unbelievable!
    How lovely to have the birds eating out of your hand, so very very cute. But I can imagine they do with these weather circumstances.

    kind regards,
    Marianne

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  68. looks like you had a lovely walk.
    I thought I might try to feed the birds by hand this winter, but have not tried it. I do love them and see juncos daily. Lovely to see your imagines.

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  69. I find everything hard in temperatures like that - not only taking pictures but even breathing, when your face is too cold to be without a scarf but your breath immediately freezes on the scarf. I don't know how to get around that one....

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  70. Ha and to think when my Aussie car goes to +3 degrees we get an extreme temperature warning! Your dedication to birding has paid off what lovely pictures and no wonder that chickadee was happy to see you!

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  71. What a fantastic area you live in. So many beautiful birds to see and watch.
    I hope temperatures are more springlike now for you.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Marijke

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  72. OMG! I love your header. It made me laugh and smile. The little feather tufts.

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  73. nice wildlife and beautiful tree artwork :)

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