Grouse in crab apple tree

OK, not quite the same as ♫A Partridge In A Pear Tree♫, but close enough.  I’ve been seeing a pair of grouse (grice?) foraging under the thorn tree but this morning they were up in one of the crab apples. The second picture shows one clearly eating the apples.

Grouse in crab apple tree
Grouse in crab apple tree
Grouse eating crab apple
Grouse eating crab apple

They’re a fairly heavy bird for those thin branches so a lot of wobbling going on.  Not as bad as last year when the turkeys were in the high-bush cranberry (which unfortunately won’t happen this year because sawfly larvae  ate all the flowers and, since they came back again when the bush had leafed out again, may have killed the bush).

Thanksgiving over: Turkeys return!

It’s the weekend after (Canadian) Thanksgiving, so the turkeys felt safe to come back.

Wild turkeys
Wild turkeys

In fact, our back garden is full of delicious birds, though this grouse was more cautious and wouldn’t come out from behind the bush.

Hidden grouse
Hidden ruffed grouse

Just incidentally, I liked this shot of the maples picked out by the last rays of the setting sun, with the rest of the garden in shade.

Maples at sunset
Maples at sunset

Ruffed Grouse

Cold weather finally lures the ruffed grouse to the bird seed.

This ruffed grouse has been getting closer to the house while the weather has been bad.  Yesterday it would not come out of cover behind the bushes where it was foraging for fallen berries:

Peek-a-boo Grouse
Peek-a-boo Grouse

Today the temperature fell from 4ºC yesterday afternoon to -20ºC this morning, which prompted the grouse to get a little courage and come close enough to get bird seed from the ground, out in the open.

Closer Grouse
Closer Grouse

This is as close as I could get:

Closest Grouse
Closest Grouse

The bush it was hiding behind yesterday is a high-bush cranberry.  It still has most of its berries.  Last year they lasted until almost March when the deer got hungry enough to venture into the garden.  It would be nicer if they’d come in daylight.  Meanwhile, the juncos fly into it when they are disturbed as it is a relatively safe refuge from hawks.

Juncos in high-bush cranberry
Juncos in high-bush cranberry

Bluebirds and Swallowtails

Later in the spring – bluebirds, woodpeckers, ruffed grouse and swallowtail butterflies – nature is getting rambunctious.

After working dawn til dusk for a while and not being home the week before that,  I had some catching up to do.  We have several pairs of bluebirds nesting in our boxes.  Here is one on top of the pole which holds his box:

Bluebird on pole
Bluebird guarding his nest

And here is a back view – through a window with the light hitting obliquely, which fogged the picture a little.

Bluebird on feeder
Bluebird on feeder

Here is a female ruby-throated hummingbird perched on top of our blue spruce – about 7m high, so she gets a good view.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird

 

Totem Pole Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker carving totem pole

He has a lot of work to do before this pole is finished.

We are also fortunate enough to have grouse nesting in the hardwood forest on the south side of the house.  I took this picture of the eggs but haven’t been back as she flew off the nest when I got close and I don’t want to frighten her away.  It must be very difficult to stay safe with all the predators there are around.

Ruffed Grouse Nest
Ruffed Grouse Nest

There are lots of butterflies around, too.  Here is a Swallowtail, showing the top side of its wings:

Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket
Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket

And here is the underside of the wing:

Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket
Swallowtail butterfly on Dame's Rocket - underwing

Finally, a couple of wildflowers.  First another picture of the ladyslippers I showed in my last post:

Ladyslippers
Ladyslippers

and the wild scarlet columbines are out again, but not so many this year.  They’re still recovering from the power company clearing the lines as that is where most of them grow where it is open, dry and sunny.

Scarlet Columbine