Sunday, 28 February 2021

Horned Larks, a Northern Shrike, Lily and more....

24 February 2021

     There is a small store in Newton, in nearby Perth County, where Miriam likes to buy fabric and other accessories, and where we also obtain a delicious, homemade red pepper jelly. A few items were on her list so, as we often do, we embarked on a shopping expedition combined with a little birding on the way home.
     The temperature is steadily rising at this time of the year, but the landscape reminds us that this is southern Ontario after all, and we are still in the grip of winter.

     The sun in February delivers noticeably more heat than January, and rural dirt roads, frozen solid at first light, can quickly turn to a quagmire of mud by midday.

     It is wise to drive slowly! And maybe buy a package deal at the car wash!
     One of the very special birds to make southern Ontario home for the winter is Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis). We scan for it in suitable habitat, but notwithstanding diligent searches, we consider ourselves fortunate to see it three or four times in a whole winter. Today was our day!

     It was at one side of the road, and it flew almost as soon as we spotted it. All was not lost, however, as it perched conspicuously in a bare tree directly opposite.

     It moved around in small increments, giving us a clearer view each time.

     As you can see Northern Shrike has a hooked bill, but it is not possessed of great tearing strength, nor are its feet equipped for grasping like a raptor. This has led to the practice of shrikes impaling their prey on thorns, or barbed wire, so that they can age for a day or two and soften up, develop the right texture - perhaps akin to humans making blue cheese! 
     It is an irony that in a lifetime with birds, I have never found one of these larders. But I have certainly enjoyed the bird. 
     Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris) are very common in the snowy fields of winter, and they seemed to be everywhere we looked during our drive home.

     They are agile flyers and probably are in little danger from a prospecting Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

     We were delighted that they kept us company, however. 

25 February 2021
     Now that the lockdown condition are not so draconian we have been able to resume our weekly walks with Heather and Lily. So - for all who have been awaiting an update on our precious girl, who is now in her ninth month by the way - here she is.

     We all walked together in Bechtel Park, and I am sure that Lily approved of our choice for she giggled, chuckled and murmured approvingly the whole time.

     Our walk turned into a woodpecker day, and we saw three species, but mostly they went about the business of being a woodpecker and did not pose for pictures. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) was the best we could do.

     Lily was very happy to be snuggled up to mommy.

     That's a 9kg load Heather is hauling around now!
     At home Lily is crawling, and it is evident that she is keenly aware of her surroundings when we walk. Her eyes are constantly following the birds.

     This is a very happy, well-cared for child. Heather is a terrific mother.
     Ice is receding from creeks and rivers now, and before long they will be totally ice free.

     We had a great walk together, and I am quite sure that when we said goodbye to Heather and Lily, Lily was already looking forward to next week!

26 February 2021

     It had been a long time since we visited some of our favourite birding spots along Lake Ontario, starting in Toronto, so we planned a day to enjoy it all anew.

Humber Bay Park, Toronto, ON

     It was a beautiful winter day, with sunshine and a temperature above zero, and Humber Bay looked serene. Most of the ice has already disappeared from around the shoreline.

     Expensive condominiums line the waterfront, obscenely blocking public view of the lake, and a king's ransom will get you an apartment in one of these ultra modern edifices.

     I wouldn't want to live on the top floor when the power goes out!
     There was a pleasant variety of waterfowl, including many Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), but mostly we would have been shooting into the sun so we don't have an abundance of pictures from this location.

Greater Scaup ♂

Greater Scaup ♀ and ♂

      As might be expected, Mallard (Anas platyrynchos) was ubiquitous.

Mallard ♂

Colonel Samuel Smith Park, Toronto, ON

     If there is one location where one can reliably predict a large number of waterfowl in the winter, Col. Sam is it.

     In the above picture you can see Mallard, Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Redhead (Aythya americana) and Gadwall (Mareca strepera).
     And here are Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), male and female.

Bufflehead ♂ 

Bufflehead ♀

     This Mallard in flight presents a dramatic image.

     There were several Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) on the water, but only females surprisingly enough.

     Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) is always, for me, one of the most endearing of ducks, and today they were chattering to each other in the most delightful way.

Long-tailed Duck ♂

Long-tailed Duck ♀

Lakefront Promenade, Mississauga, ON

     This area in Mississauga is comprised of discrete pods, but for the purpose of this essay I will group them together. Of course, the birds move from one area to another in any event.
     Of late, I have been more than a little interested in the feet of birds, and the various configurations and adaptations found in different families, and the way in which foot structure is related to lifestyle. It is also to be noted that foot colour changes in some species as a bird ages. Thus, an adult Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is equipped with jet black feet, whereas a juvenile has copper-coloured or yellowish feet until attaining adulthood, although in every other respect it may resemble a mature bird.

     Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) is the most common larid found in the Great Lakes region.

     I can remember that thirty or forty years ago, American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) would have been the most frequent gull in the wintertime, replacing Ring-billed Gull which migrated out of the area. This is no longer the case.

American Herring Gull - centre

     There was an abundance of ducks and in the picture below are Redhead, Greater Scaup and, at the lower right, a male Gadwall.

     Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) was numerous, with many engaged in full courtship posturing.

Common Goldeneye ♂

     Here is a pair of Greater Scaup.....

     ..... and two male Gadwalls.

     There was always ample opportunity to see mixed groups of ducks, some surface feeders, others diving ducks, and gulls resting on the ice. 

     In the picture above you can see the dramatic difference in size between Ring-billed Gull and American Herring Gull. A close-up of American Herring Gull is shown below.

     The red spot you see on the lower mandible,  known as the gonys spot, serves as a stimulus for young birds urging their parents to regurgitate food for them; pecking at that spot results in food delivery.
     It is hard not to be constantly reminded how handsome a Redhead is and how fortunate we are to share a winter's day with them.

     A female Greater Scaup has an elegance all her own.

     And what would a day at the lake be without gulls to keep us company?

     There were eight Mute Swans present and at least two pairs were renewing their bonds in elaborate displays, swimming together, spinning in circles, facing each other and making contact with bills,

     If another male came too close, a rival without a mate perhaps, it was quickly shown off.

     A Ring-billed Gull was totally unconcerned with the affairs of swans.

     So often we focus on the male of the species, since they are more brightly coloured and more dramatic (and I am as guilty of that as anyone), but take a look at the delicate beauty of a female Mallard.

     Her feet are totally webbed for swimming efficiency with prominent nails used in cleaning feathers.

     But a male is very handsome, isn't he?

     And how about a male Common Goldeneye?

     And a group of Greater Scaup was exciting to watch; we saw feeding, squabbling, mastery of their element and a few indications of love matches being made.

     Just before we left, a small group of Long-tailed Ducks paraded right in front of us, to our enormous delight.

     The ice of winter is giving way to the renewal of spring, and we were very, very happy to be a witness to it all.

     You might accuse me, justifiably I might add, of going overboard a little here with pictures, but perhaps they have enabled me to convey the sheer elation we felt. Countless times have we seen this scene, but nature playing out before our eyes unfolds in different ways every time, and our sense of wonder is magnified with each passing year.
     I cannot help but be reminded of the words of Charles Darwin, my greatest hero of all, as he came to the end of On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, where he says, "There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."


  1. Querido David me encanta la entrada de hoy, las aves son maravillosas y las fotos espectaculares. Pero lo que más me ha gustado es ver a Lily. Es una niña hermosa y su carita desprende paz. Un enorme abrazo y muchos besos para todos.

  2. Hello David, never too much photos, it is always with great joy I look at them and your explanation of what you and Miriam encounter on your walks. Good to read you can go out again on walks with Lily and her mum. And she has grown indeed. Snow and ice have left us, so not for long now Spring will also knock on your door. Beautyful photos you show here and the Shrike is an amazing bird. We have them here too with the same behaviour with the food.
    Take care,

  3. Hello David,
    You never can't post to many photo's. Beautiful to read about your trips and what you've seen.
    Lilly is so cute!!
    Have a wonderful new week ahead.

  4. No such thing as too many photos!

  5. That first photo is a beauty.

    Lily is a real charmer, such a joy to be around I’m sure.

    I see goldeneyes here this time of year but I can never get close enough to see that green fluorescence around the head.

  6. You always have beautiful pictures of birds, which are very special, but this time baby Lily steals the show.
    I have never liked tall buildings, I prefer small houses ... they are more picturesque!

  7. So great for you all around what with Lily, the most important part, and all of the birds and ducks. I think we have golden eyes here these days, but they are very distant. One pic did seem to suggest a golden eye though.

  8. Beautiful winter scenery, the first photo is amazing, and wonderful birds, nature is extraordinary. Thank you for all these fantastic photos.
    I loved seeing your little princess Lily, how grown and beautiful she is, time passes so quickly.
    All the best, hugs

  9. Oh the photos are wonderful, all of them , lily and heather are such a beautiful pair, they represent everything that is still wonderful in this tipsy tour you world! That shrike was generous to pose so beautifully and that mallard in flight is amazing.The lone tree in the snow scape is just so wonderful,, every photo, just a joy to see and open water! I love to see that!

  10. How lovely to see Lily, she is growing up so quickly, but what a happy and contented little girl she is.
    I personally would not want to live on any floor of those condominiums.

  11. What a terrific way to end your post of such a wonderful array of birds with the quote... But, David, I must be honest: those beautiful rosy cheeks shown on Lily's sweet face just steals the show!!

    Thanks for stopping by, sharing your link, today. Enjoy the coming days of Spring!

    1. As you may see from other comments, Anni, you are not alone in selecting Lily over the birds this time around! It's only permitted this time, however!!

  12. What a happy and pretty girl Lily is.
    Love the first photo of the lonely tree a lot, though all photos are amazing.

  13. You find the best birds!
    Lily is the topper, though. Our grandies are growing so fast...
    Imagine, open water!!!!
    OK, you piqued my curiosity. The condos run about $700,000! Yikes! Where do people get that kind of money???

  14. Lovely photos, David. The lonesome tree is so beautiful. It's so nice to Lily again. She grows very quickly. Soon she will walk around.

  15. What wonderful outings you took us on, and in the very best of company.
    I am with Rosemary. The thought of living in a condominium fills me with horror. And no, I don't think that 'sour grapes' have anything to do with that thought.
    How lovely for you to be able to see beautiful Lily (and her mother).

  16. Beautiful photo's; but it sure did look cold in the first couple. Cute Cute rosy cheeks on the wee one. The muddy road looked quite slippery. Glad you had good days to get out and about. Hope you're staying safe from the Covid and are able to get your shots soon; if you've not already been successful.
    Sandy's Space

    1. The vaccine rollout has been slow here to say the least. We don't even have a date yet.

  17. The lone tree cannot be dethroned.

  18. Lily looks like she's enjoying the day out with you all. Beautiful photos, it's too bad to see the tall buildings in the area. The first photo of the lonely tree is my favorite. Enjoy your day, David.

  19. I am always excited when I meet new bird species! You showed a lot of beautiful birds that I didn't see and didn't know before! Nature is truly beautiful and rich in species diversity.
    I admire and delight in your photos!
    Greetings and kisses for beautiful Lily!

  20. Precioso el paseo por esos paisajes nevados y ver tantas aves, patos y cisnes. Lily está muy linda!!
    Muchos besos.

  21. I am so glad you visited me so that I found your wonderful blog! I love to watch birds but have never known many of their names so this is an exciting excursion to be on with you. And is that a lovely granddaughter? What a happy girl! Never too many pictures for me! I look forward to your next post.

    1. She is not my granddaughter biologically, but emotionally she is!

  22. I'm glad you and the birds had sunshine and temperature above zero. Judging by the clear, beautiful photos, the light was optimal.
    As for Lily, she's, no doubt, going to be a Birder Emeritus.

  23. Hari OM
    Water birds galore - be still my beating heart! As other's have said - what's too many pictures???!!! Lily will be at school before you know it... YAM xx

  24. Wow David!Such a fine post with many different beautiful birds!Love that wodpecker and the hawk!amazing!

    Lilly is so beautiful!Oh she has a good life thats for sure.i think she ges prettier every time I see her!
    Iam wondering about that red pepper jelly!Seems very tasty!

    All the good to you and family David!

    Thanx for sharing wildlife to us :)


  25. La pie-grièche nordique ressemble à une petite boule de coton dans son arbre. Lily a déjà 9 mois! Que le temps passe vite, elle semble toujours heureuse.
    De beaux canards et cygnes, belles observations.
    Bonne soirée

  26. Hello Both,
    So good to come out with you around your birding areas in Canada, super images, the Northern Shrike is superb, the Long- tailed ducks are delightful, as with the Male Mallard [ a duck I always say that is underrated and handsome] and then we have Lily, she is coming on so well and Heather hopefully has a strong back to carry her, it won't be long until she has bins and a camera
    Look forward to your next trip out.
    Stay safe and well and a hug for Lily.

  27. Thank you for clicking that shutter so often, then commenting with identifications, and other interesting tidbits. Have a great week.

  28. Fabulous set of photos but a struggle for me to download such a big post! Just love that woodpecker. I find it frustrating, I hear them but never hardly do I ever get to see them!
    Keep safe. France is still having COVID problems. Dunkirk and Nice are the main problem at present people will go on holiday despite restrictions!!!! Diane

    1. We humans have never been noted for common sense and concern for others, have we!

  29. That is a LOT of bird photos. How lovely. I saw one of our Tufted Titmouse the other day with a hooked unusual. And that impaling and ageing of food has me a bit concerned.

  30. A long line of beauties here, headed by Lily and then the swans.

  31. 'Endless forms most beautiful' is such a great phrase! Darwin was a bit of a star all in all! I was wondering how many life ticks I would have got if I had been out with you! Hope all is well, and glad you can get out and about a bit more.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  32. Hi David.

    What have you seen a lot of beautiful Birds and Ducks.
    Beautiful the Icicles'
    I think the Red-bellied Woodpecker is very beautiful.
    She has grown Lily, great to see her again that she can go back into nature.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  33. Helo David,

    I love seeing the scenery and the beautiful birds. Lily is a sweetie, she will grow up loving all things nature. Great collection of photos, I enjoyed all of them! Have a happy day and a great new week!

  34. So you're turning to foot fetishism now,David!

    I'm delighted to see that you now have more freedom to roam, and with such wonderful results too. I am anxiously awaiting March 29 when, hopefully, our "stay at home" rule will be lifted. I say "hopefully" as we now find ourselves in one of the worst areas in the country for infection rates (which doesn't surprise me seeing how many idiots I'm seeing on my limited axcursions), and so we may have additional regional restrictions imposed when the majority gain the ability to get out and about further afield. I'm finding those local areas to which I have relatively safe access to be so bird-impoverished that I'm looking forward to getting out to more productive areas.

    Take care and stay safe - - - Richard

  35. Maravilloso reportaje. Lily se ve que ha crecido bastante y le encanta ver a las aves, se ve feliz. Me encantó todo. Abrazos para los mayores y besitos para Lily.

  36. I cannot begin to comment on everything wonderful about your post, so let me just say "Hi beautiful, precious, rosy-cheeked Lily!"

  37. Hi David – Happy St David’s Day … by the way! Interesting about the adaption the Northern Shrike has made to its meal … blue cheese – yummy! It does look cold though …
    Yay – look at her … she’s really coming along – and I bet that 9kg is a happy bunny tucked up into Heather’s bod … keeping them both warm. Yes – we can see they’re both very happy with life … wonderful to see. She’ll be ‘walking’ with you very soon … that’ll slow you up a bit – and frighten the poor birds!
    Somewhere … probably in London – mention has been made the high-rises taking the sunlight away – I can’t remember the details … and yes caught at the top without any electricity wouldn’t be helpful … fine to get down – not much fun getting back up.
    The males are so often more handsome and colourful … sad, but true – I watched an Attenborough programme last night on colour – in birds, animals and fish … very interesting … wonderful post – thank you - Hilary

  38. Beautiful photos as always, David! Lily is too cute! And that photo of the lone tree is astounding!

    Happy Monday!

  39. Precioso y magistral reportaje nos aportas querido amigo. Estoy fascinado por tanta belleza y más fascinado por nuestra querida Lyli, y perdona que diga nuestra, pues ya es casi un poco de todos, la estamos viendo crecer con esa maravillosa y angelical sonrisa. Es una niña encantadora. Creo que ya debe de tener demasiados fans.
    Querido amigo yo, tampoco viviría en el último ni en el primero. Las alturas últimamente las llevo muy mal y esas grandes colmenas no me gustan.
    Grandes y magistrales palabras las de ese genio de Charles Darwin.
    Un fuerte abrazo de vuestro siempre amigo y compadre Juan.

  40. Apreciado amigo David, por supuesto que puedes participar con un pequeño poema en el idioma que quieras, esto va de universal, por todos los niños del mundo.
    No me digas que lo intentaras ¡no! Dime, que lo vas a realizar, porque estoy seguro que, una persona de tu sensibilidad y de tu buena pluma eres muy capaz de escribir lo que te propongas.
    Un fuerte abrazo compadre y amigo mío. Cuento contigo.

  41. Hi David, beautiful photos of the birds and the ducks. I love the long tailed ducks, we don't see them very much here .

  42. Little Lilly is a beautiful girl.

  43. David.Debo de aclarar respecto a tu comentario en mi blog, que las fotos fueron tomadas el día 28 de ferero de 2020, poco tiempo antes de que apareciera la pandemia. La primeras manifestaciones fueron en Madrid y en Andalucía se produjeron restricciones de movilidad a partir de marzo de ese mismo año.

    Me han encantado esta serie de fotografías , sus paisajes y esas aves que tan bien has captado.

  44. Hi my friend David,
    what a beautiful picture of that tree in the snow. Really pretty. You were now in the shop yourself (is that allowed with you again?) The series of the Northern Shrike is really very beautiful. The Eremophila alpestris is also to envy (just like your snowy owls).
    I read on that your locjdown is no longer so strict so you can go for a walk with the little one again :-)))
    Then I see a beautiful woodpecker and then a whole series of beautiful water birds of ducks and swans. This is really enjoyable again.

    Big hug from the Netherlands xx
    And still be careful.

  45. Hi David,
    it's very obvious (and understandable) that you and Miriam enjoyed your new "freedom" a lot.
    You must be very pleased to meet Heather and the lovely Lilly again.
    The way you describe your visit to Lake Ontario and all the waterbirds over there displays your admiration.
    Pictures are beautiful; nr 45 and the last one are great!

    Best regards, Corrie

  46. Those shrikes are charming birds. And oh, the water birds -- all those divine, interesting ducks! But the cutest little duckling of all is sweet Lily with that smile!

    1. I think I will have to ban Lily from my blog. She is stealing the show!

  47. The birds are fantastic, as always, but that is one precious little girl :)

  48. Hola David, querido amigo mio, que tal!
    what a joy it has been to see Lily and her
    loving mother again. I've been thinking about her these days.
    She has drawn me a big smile, she is already 9 months old,
    as time passes!
    Know? I also have a new niece and she has me spellbound.
    The whole family is revolutionized with the newborn!

    It´s a privilege to read this post full of beauty,
    passion and that subtle touch of humor of yours.
    I think you do an extraordinary job exposing the incredible nature ...
    spring is already looming in the north of the world!
    around here, the romantic autumn is at the gates.

    Oh, and the new frontis... is of a delicacy ...
    i have no words of admiration for your precious work.

    Sending hugs with all my heart to dear Canada and family.⋆.ೃ࿔*:・

  49. Beautiful shots! Lily looks happy.

  50. What fun it was to see your Northern Shrike, and compare it with the Loggerhead Shrike I found. It was even more fun to see Lily again. This has been a hard time -- and who can believe that so much time has passed? She's well past infant, and nearing toddlerhood. What pleasure that will be, when she begins to explore on her own.

    I think I might have found a Lesser Scaup yesterday. Reading the descriptions, I finally noticed two distinguishing characteristics: the peaked head that's flat(ter) on the back. When I get its image posted, if I'm wrong I think I know someone who can correct me!

  51. David - I can testify that we are teetering on the brink between winter and spring, having driven on muddy roads to and from home today ... sometimes more treacherous than ice! Fabulous collection of photos, as always! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

  52. Wonderful as always the walk you invite us through those winter landscapes, which here we can only enjoy very briefly in some winters. Spectacular the great variety of ducks that you can observe in the great lakes, many of them can only be enjoyed through your observations. greetings David

  53. Qua pasada de reportaje amigo. Me ha encantado. Es interesnate todo lo que nos enseñas de la naturaleza. Pero me quedo con la sonrisa de Lily. Está preciosa y se ve que va creciendo. Disfrutad de los momentos que podéis reuniros. Por aquí las reuniones siguen estando cortadas.
    Buen martes David. Cuidaros
    Un abrazo.

  54. hello David
    Well apart from the fact that the pictures of Lily are of course without competition, this is a fantastic contribution with a large number of pictures and a wealth of information .. you can feel your joy while reading
    Greetings Frank

  55. A little trip with a pretty destination is always great ... with us the shops are still closed -
    I also wait for fabric and accessory shops ... and for meetings in cafes :-)
    Your photos are great again and I enjoy them and am especially happy about the photos of sweet Lily and her dear mom :-) Nice.
    Today two beautiful long-tailed tit were at our bird house, I was happy about that ... Greetings to you.

  56. This is such a WONDERFUL post.
    Full of great photographs, lovely narration, an absolute joy to see Lily and Heather again.
    Your sheer elation really did shine through.
    A big THANK YOU for such an enjoyable and informative read.

    My very good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  57. You are an artist with your camera. I like the duck feet photos a lot. Your Lily is a happy cutie. She got me smiling. :-)

  58. Gosh, so many different varieties of ducks. I love them all, especially those long tails! I've really enjoyed this post, meeting all the water birds, and a few non-water birds too, and the fair Lily of course. Aren't you lucky to have a companion to go on birding adventures with you!

  59. Wow! Lovely, cute, beautiful photo series!

  60. There was a joy coming through your words as I read them, and they were matched by all those gorgeous photos. Made me feel like my day had somehow improved and got happier :) xx

  61. The photos are lovely, so no complaints here about the amount of them :)

  62. You had me right at the very first photo my friend David! Snowy scenes are an instant love for me, but that photo you did, extra emotional and beautiful! Happy to see these gorgeous species and of course, dearest Lily!

  63. Wonderful assortment of photos. That mallard in flight was great. And I love how the Swans had their wings opened to make such a lovely form. Lily looks very happy (despite the cold temperature). I've noticed the same thing here in Connecticut, when it comes to the power of the Sun in February, versus January. And thank you for helping with bird identifications on my blog posts. I've only gotten a few photos of Killdeer over the years. One time I caught one doing the "broken wing act" which I didn't know about until I saw one doing it, and researched it.

  64. P.S. I forgot to mention your Darwin quote made me think of this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay that I tend to think of in the Spring, when I see so much beauty coming back to life:

    God’s World

    O WORLD, I cannot hold thee close enough!
    Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
    Thy mists, that roll and rise!
    Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
    And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
    To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
    World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

    Long have I known a glory in it all,
    But never knew I this;
    Here such a passion is
    As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
    Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
    My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
    No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

    1. The mere fact that you embrace poetry endears you to me!

  65. Love your quote at the end and all your nice photos of northern birds. Good t see your streams running again and your roads mudding and I think a car wash subscription would be a very good idea, judging by all the snow left to go. Lily is precious, and do you think maybe “chickadee-dee-Dee” will be her first word?

  66. I think what draws us to Nature is its consistency. As each season progresses, we know we can count on the next to follow. We are thus reassured. Even within such consistency, however, we observe an astounding diversity!

    Your accounting of just a small bit of nature's diversity is marvelous! The late stages of winter, the waterfowl, signs of imminent spring, an uncommon visitor in the Shrike.

    Thank you, David, for the inspirational essay illustrated with beautiful photographs of nature, including a Mother and lovely child.

    My day has been made better.

  67. What a great variety of ducks and seagulls thriving in those cold waters and between the ice!. Some of the seagulls perched on the ice bring back memories of frozen ponds near my house last winter, although the number was ridiculous compared to those where you live.
    The skyscrapers are amazing but I agree with what you say, when I travel to Buenos Aires many people complain about the tall towers that grow next to the Ecological Reserve

  68. A magical post, it starts off with the best image of the lone tree looking magical in the snow.... waterfowl galore. I haven't seen a Goldeneye for years now here in the UK, partly due to lockdown I suppose.
    Of course the Shrike......

    Keep well