Fickle February.

February tries so hard to be a ‘good month’. She promises blue skies, ‘rime ice’ decaying warm air, an ever-expanding day length, and temps us with water dripping off an ice encrusted eave.  

Winter’s reality, however, continues its grip on day-to-day life. Bone breaking ice one day, sloppy ‘car snot’ spraying everywhere at intersections and toques, mittens, and a winter coat the next. So as Cathy used to say: ‘Bloom where you are planted’. That is a good reminder to enjoy every day for what it has to offer.

After months of no insects in my life I saw a tiny fly flitting about my kitchen. After pursuing one of these 2mm. fellows (turned out it was a male) for twenty minutes it finally sat still enough for a portrait.

A few days later another one appeared and after a similar ‘on the window, off the window, on the counter, off the counter, in the sink, it (she) finally stopped for some reason and endured a portrait. My friend the BugGuide website gave me an ID of a ‘Mushroom Gnat’ or a ‘Dark-winged Fungus Gnat’. Apparently, they are living in the soil of my three potted plants. How lovely they showed up to hone my macro skills before spring really comes.

I was even desperate enough to photograph a tiny seedling trying to emerge from my potted plants.

I have been out birding over the last few weeks and managed to catch a few birds from recent trips around Saskatoon.

Hairy Woodpecker taking off from a tree.

A male House Finch puffing up to keep warm.

This Bald Eagle and the Snowy Owl were captive in the Saskatoon Forestry Farm. I always have mixed feelings when seeing captive animals.

Female Snowy Owl (Note the dark barring)

Male Snowy Owl (less barring)

A ruffed grouse up high in a tree at Elkridge.

A Blue Jay in President Murray Park.

A Merlin taking off from the top of a Spruce tree near the Park.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch exploring tree bark for food.

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  1. Susan February 17, 2023 at 4:53 pm #

    Beautiful Photos, Trent. I saw the Eagle and Owl on the evening news a couple of weeks ago. By the way, If you need more photos of fungus gnats, come to my house : )

  2. Linda Landine February 17, 2023 at 8:46 am #

    Wonderful Trent. I wish you and your camera had been here when we had 2 bull moose enjoying the tender ends of the oak just outside our window. Also to add, how much it makes me smile when I am out walking and see the heavy moose and deer traffic on the trails Pat has groomed.

  3. Miranda February 17, 2023 at 5:51 am #

    Your observations are a great reminder of the importance of taking time out to enjoy the little things in life! I had one of those February ‘stuck’ days yesterday where nothing seemed to inspire me in the studio. I came into the house and was quickly distracted by two chickadees and two red breasted nuthatches outside my front window. They were flitting back and forth between the spruce tree, the ground and the empty bird feeder, taking turns it seemed in finding tiny morsels of food. It was fascinating to watch them and I just became comletely lost in the moment. I then went back to my studio and happily got back to work on several new paintings!

  4. Earl February 16, 2023 at 7:15 pm #

    That was an exciting visit to your blog. If it weren’t for your lens we wouldn’t know there are Mushroom Gnats. The seedling bursting forth reminds us that spring will come. The two Snowy Owls were my favorite birds. Never see them in Arizona.


  5. Anonymous February 16, 2023 at 5:32 pm #

    I so enjoy your beautiful photos Trent.
    Many thanks,

  6. Nola Leighton February 16, 2023 at 4:37 pm #

    Love these shots Trent! And your writing. Glad the flies showed up all ready for spring! The red breasted nuthatch can quite an opportunist. One explored our outside condo seams for bugs last spring and annoyed some residents greatly with their noise. We got asked to do “something” about “that wicked bird”. But I love them. Thanks for the reminder that spring is “just around the corner!”, despite February’s fickleness!

  7. Peter Drabble February 16, 2023 at 4:31 pm #

    Breath taking Trent.

  8. Farook February 16, 2023 at 4:22 pm #

    Amazing macro shots of 2 mm Mushroom Gnats !!
    Love the red breasted Nuthatch, house Finch and the Blue Jay

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