Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow and More Snow

The first snowfall--too much and too early for this new neighbourhood of mine--sent me scurrying to set up the bird feeders. The suet balls are more attractive than disco balls to the birds. This chaffinch was one of the first visitors. When I added a seed feeder to the usual bread crumbs in the yard and an extra suet ball or two, the party really started happening. Mr and Mrs chaffinch, a couple cheeky robins, a blackbird or two, crows--wary and quick to take off--and a thrush--I forget the name my friend gave it: a largeish brown bird with a speckled breast. But no sparrows. I had been so excited about the birds that were there that I had not thought about their absence until someone mentioned it. For as cheeky and aggressive with other birds as the little critters can be, nonetheless I miss them. I hope somewhere they are thriving or at least holding their own.
I had been reluctant to put food out for the birds because I have two cats that began life in a barn. The first day of the new regime, however, one or the other of the birds sent my cats--tails at half mast, hurrying back into the house. Let's hope it stays that way.
Since I loaded this photo and thought I would get back to it "later", I have had a birthday --thanks to everyone on three continents who helped me celebrate it--and we have had even more snow than the title of this post suggests. Instead of "wintery showers" which is the normal rain-snow-sleet continuum that falls and melts pretty quickly, we have had "squally wintery showers". I don't know the formal definition for that. In Caithness it seemed wiser to learn the Beaufort scale for measuring winds. Oddly enough with all this snow and cold, we have had comparatively little wind.
The best news with all this cold weather is that it might be a good time to see the Northern Lights. So whenever I think of it, I spy out the window and peer into the dark night sky. Maybe not tonight or even this winter, but some time I'll catch them dancing across the sky.


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