Yes, spring is arriving here in Bala! In fact it is arriving at least three weeks earlier than last year. After a week in Collingwood with my grandson, I arrived home on Saturday to find the ice out on half my lake and by Sunday it was gone.
Four male Hooded Mergansers were seen close to shore in the early am and, unfortunately, a pair of Canada geese were honking loudly in the late afternoon. The first Purple Finch, male, was seen at my feeders today as well.
I am backtracking a couple of weeks to tell the story of a beautiful dog fox who spent at least twenty minutes stalking a red squirrel beside my house. When it started to snow in early December and kept snowing for four days to the tune of two feet I missed getting out and clearing young saplings and bramble canes along the side of the house to give me a clear view for my winter photography. That lapse came back to haunt me a few weeks ago when I saw the fox chasing a squirrel. The squirrel had taken refuge in a hollow tree that has been trimmed down so that it won’t fall into my windows but allows it to be used by landing birds and whoever else likes hollow trees. A Pileated Woodpecker chipped through to the hollow at the base a couple of years ago and other woodpeckers have drilled holes up the trunk. The two main limbs have separated somewhat and the hollow area is visible in the crotch and the base of the tree is about eight inches in diameter.
With the snow about a foot and a half deep the fox circled the base of the tree looking in and listening as the squirrel ran up and down inside.
He would look in one hole with his body circling the tree and his tail almost in his face around the other side.
Then he would sit in front of the tree and look and listen at the small holes.
Several times he jumped and clawed his way up to the crotch to look down into the tree and then jump down.
Unfortunately, the fact that the clearing didn’t get done means that few of the images I captured are useable for anything but the memories. The ones I have used here have been cleaned up with Photoshop but some are impossible to do anything with. The branches just cross in too many places.
I am, however, left with the wonderful memory of the episode and have had my love for one of my favourite mammals, the Red Fox, reinforced.
Next fall my pruning will be done in lots of time for winter photography opportunities!