A neck slung camera, electrified gloves, light snow falling in clumps and some willing photo subjects all lined up for a fun afternoon. The spruce forest just behind my house often yields some interesting birds. A Black-backed Woodpecker, the first one I have seen in the city, hammers away at the bark on a mature spruce, yielding some tasty grubs.
Brown Creepers are well named as they blend into the mottled bark and move up and down the trunk of these mature spruce trees foraging for insects.
After feeding birds in my backyard feeder for many years I have become fascinated with the small birds that seem fearless as they approach a newly filled feeder as I hoist it up into the tree. This Red-breasted Nuthatch peeked over the branch just prior to grabbing a sunflower seed.
A few leaves still choose to believe that there is more to life than turning brown and falling to the earth. In spite of the snow falling in the background and piling up, these two characters remain defiant that winter should just push off and leave us alone.
An upstream power plant ensures we have open water throughout the winter in Saskatoon. While a frozen river would provide many opportunities for recreation and winter city activities, open water does provide a habitat that encourages water fowl to hang out right in the city.
Female and Male Mallard.
A muskrat came out of the river bank just as I was pointing my camera at the ducks.
I don’t usually see these Lesser Scaup ducks at this time of year so maybe they are a late group to head south. Some of my woodturning friends are ahead of these ducks.
Pigeons and Magpies are some of the hardier Saskatchewan residents and don’t seem to worry what temperature or wind conditions are. Mind you the pigeons do look like they are huddled together to conserve body heat.
This magpie was buffeted by the wind but posed long enough to display the beautiful tail.
Just as I was crossing the bridge, a train, perhaps full of Alberta oil assaulted my ears and vibrated my body as it rumbled toward me. I noticed an unfortunate runner or maybe my ghost from that position a few moments earlier appear in the mist and swirling snow. A quick snap of my camera and I quickly headed down the walkway to move away from the relentless train.