Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goodbye Autumn


It is still a month or more until the winter solstice and the official change of seasons. But fall has faded away and winter is upon us. The trees on our property shed the last of their leaves this week and the raking is done. One of our daughters always phones me at work when the first snow flakes start falling. (for some reason it tends to happen during work days) Today I got the call..."Mom, it's snowing!!!" I know the west and midwest of the continent have had significant snow accumulations already and our turn will come soon.


We have a Mountain Ash tree in the backyard which had a bumper crop of berries this year. I came home from work one afternoon to find dozens of robins and starlings on the ground and in the tree. They stripped every piece of fruit in a short period of time. Robins are one of the earliest birds to arrive in the spring and there are still a few of them in local wood lots this week. A few may stay in protected areas through the winter.


Starlings look quite smart in their winter coats but unfortunately they show up with too many of their friends. I took the picture below in September when they were starting to gather in large flocks, officially known as murmurations. Fortunately this murmuration was not in our yard or I would have felt like I was in a scene of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.


There are some winter birds I would like to see in the next few months. Evening Grosbeaks are reportedly visiting feeders within three hours of our home and they would be life birds for me. I have seen a female Pine Grosbeak, but not a male of that species. Perhaps winter finches will be irruptive this year. In the meantime, the feeders are up and our usual visitors will entertain us until the seasons change again.

11 comments:

  1. Lovely pictures.Our winter began today,if snow signals the start of winter.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  2. Oh I am so not ready for snow.

    That murmuration is rather scary looking.

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  3. My wife and I love to watch the birds! These are some great photos, thank you for sharing!

    God bless!!!

    Your welcome to visit my blog as well.

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  4. We're still pretty mild here Ruth. We did have a blustery storm front come through earlier in the week which took a good number of leaves off the trees, but it has not really been "cold" here yet. But, in a few short weeks, we also will be done with autumn and ready to rest for a while and enjoy our feathered friends.

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  5. Strangely enough, I was just thinking of seasons this morning and how we've got it wrong. Why is winter said to begin at the point when the sun will start getting closer to us? I really want you to clear that up for me. haha

    As for starlings, I'll have to leave it up to you to perceive the beauty of their winter coats.

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  6. We are in a winter freeze at the moment -- -14 with a goodly accumulation of snow on the ground. Daryl would have been SO delighted -- I can't say as I'm as delighted.

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  7. We're blanketed in white as well..seems both our blogs are weather themed today! Enjoy your weekend

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  8. I wish you luck with the grosbeaks.I think starlings are fascinating when they gather in flocks like that.It's interesting to listen to their vocalizations too.

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  9. Your birds look happy with their berry feast. Our birds feast at our crabapple tree all winter.

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  10. Winter brings on its own special birding challenges and joys. Many people throughout North American participate in Christmas Bird counts. It is always a thrill to see the more northern species arrive here in southern Ontario.

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  11. Nice pictures,Ruth. Our robins left early this August which made me wonder about what kind of winter we were in for - I think they were right - lots of early snow and cold temps.

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