Our property has been filled with visitors during the last week. All of our visitors have been of the furred or feathered type, with the exception of this rather adorable little jumping spider which is no larger across than the eraser on a mechanical pencil.
I tried to get a good shot of her, but she never stopped moving! She’s rather bristly, instead of furry, and hops across various surfaces (including artwork, floors, walls, even window glass) at random intervals, in bounds that are startlingly large for a creature so tiny.
With the constant snow, and our sometimes intense cold (tonight we have wind chills of -45F, with an actual temperature expected to bottom out around -15F), I am amazed at the hardiness of the wild creatures around us.
At times we have entire flocks of finches, pine siskins, sparrows and juncos in the yard, zipping to and fro between our spruce and our bird feeders, so many that the airspace around our house resembles a miniature version of O’Hare on the day before Thanksgiving.
Individual birds often perch on the rain gutter by my kitchen window. This junco flew back and forth between a spot on the ground underneath a feeder and this vantage point where he could eye me while I watched him for almost ten minutes, enjoying how neat and trim he appeared, as if he were wearing formal attire.
This female cardinal is a daily visitor, along with her brightly colored mate. She drives all other birds from whichever feeder she chooses to alight on, although she will share the space with the male cardinal if he chooses to join her on ‘her’ feeder.
This finch (or is she a pine siskin? Hmm – nope. That beak says ‘Finch!’) likes the same spot the junco uses. I’ve never seen the juncos and finches squabble over any particular roosting spot or site, unlike the cardinals and many of the other birds we see.
When the activity at the feeders suddenly stops, I know that a hawk like this one perching in the back trees has arrived. This particular hawk stayed for almost an hour, but left hungry, to the immense relieve of the songbirds.
While travelling between our house and his little backyard workshop, Michael has almost stepped on Stewart, our yard bunny, several times this past week. I haven’t seen Stewart myself, since I’m unable to be out in the yard when the footing is the least bit snowy or slippery, but Michael assures me that Stewart is as bouncy and self-assured as ever. From looking at his tracks, Stewart likes to hop along the pathway that Michael keeps shoveled between our house and Michael’s shop, which makes imminent sense to me. Why struggle hopping through the deep snow when the homeowner will shovel you a nice path?
Of course, we have squirrels all year round. This rascal looks cute and innocent and completely oblivious to our bird feeders, but rest assured – he’s not. When I took this shot (which is a tad blurry – sorry about that!) he was sitting on top of our old clothesline pole, calculating if he could jump from the pole to a nearby bird feeder.
He couldn’t… but that didn’t stop him from trying!