Thursday 30 April 2015

April weather

April report

What a month. The snow cover left us, and things are sprouting. We haven't had rain in a week, and the ground is dry. The counties have forbidden out door burning, as the fields are dry. Total 84mm rain. 

The temperatures have been up and down, with some summer-like weather, as well as days when the bird bath froze.

The mix of rain and snow has been a challenge across the province.

April 23

It's snowing...

April 20/21

40 mm 

April 10th

 Warnings everywhere...
Canadian weather alerts

April 8 - a warning

April 3rd

April 2nd

We had freezing rain warnings, but it turned out to be snow, then ice pellets.

April 1st

No joke.
A lovely sunny day.

Tree chopping and stacking, and helpers!

My achy breaky body! I love hard work. The warmth of the sun on my face, lifting, hauling, throwing stuff around. I'm getting a lot done. Hubby raked some, that's all his back can take. Probably a dozen trees down, large and small. It brings more light into the forest, and gives us some wood to burn.

I woke on the second morning to a free motorcycle! Not. He was sitting in the chair waiting for the rest of the crew.

I haven't been visiting my blog buddies for the past couple of days. By the end of the day I'm just brain dead with the physical work! It's so good to sit down! I'll get back to you soon! Today, I want to work on the goldfish pond.

I did stop and smell the roses, or, at least, the crocus! Also spotted a garter snake. It was the first of the season! A V of geese went by, as well. Happily just as I was taking a water break.

These trees, by the frog pond, had to come down. It's where we sit and watch the critters.
Ms. Wood duck tolerated the fooferaw quite well. She came and went during the day, in between the noise, I could see her from up above, top right in the photo is our 'front yard'. She'll hatch them up in a month, and I'll haul these logs, split them and stack them. This is her 2nd year with us. There was a branch leaning, and dead elms ready to fall. As the pond dries in summer, I can get to the tree. Unfortunately, the bugs will be out...
Wood Duck box #1, with the cut logs.
This sad, dead Elm (below) was the last one they took down. I feared branches coming down on people or vehicles on the driveway. Also, my chair, The Hand of God, is chained to it. It looks a bit odd, but it's a lot safer. It took the whole crew to move the chair prior to throwing down the branches. It's a heavy one. We get people stopping to take photos. I should charge them. This is why we put in a gate.
I bought myself this chair from a Teak store in Muskoka. I'd drive past it on my way to care for my late father. It was my loving remembrance of that time when I gave back to my Dad.

Scott suggested I tie up the branches and haul them!
The fencing has come down.
It was about ready to go, rotting wood.

I'm making progress stacking.
It's a better view from the kitchen window, now.
This is our happy deer, 
munching on cedar branches that fell.
She hangs with us all summer, 
unlike the others who've taken off.
She didn't help with the stacking, though!
From the kitchen window,
we can see down into the meadow.
Let me talk to you about my 'helpers!' Hubby drove into the city to pick up my fixed videocam. Meantime, here is Buster on his blanket on his side table. Even Daisy, who is usually quite least in a supervisory mode, wasn't too happy. They don't like the lawn tractor, which is fine. Once the chain saws were gone, they came out.
Daisy picked up her first tick on Wednesday. Bug season begins! 

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Wood duck is on the nest –and we have eggs!

duck box #1 with eggs,
Of course, you can't see them!

News bulletin #1

I think about ten eggs, I'm not sure. I took a quick peek to see if she was still laying down feathery down. Momma flew away, she was sitting on the pond with another female when I arrived. I am hopeful that the 2nd nesting box will have a clutch. I'll keep checking with the goose-neck camera.

Bulletin #2: I pulled the first tick of the season off of Daisy this morning. Here is how you do it. I'm back out to stack wood. I will be sure to check myself when I come in.

April 24, 2015

About 10 or so.
I screamed with delight and surprise!
It's a lovely vernal pond, which dries up some years. In the meantime, it hosts mating egg-laying frogs, turtles, 3 Muskrats (AFAIK), three male bullfrogs, tons of tadpoles, Mud puppies, toe biter beetles, and, of course, a billion mosquito larvae shortly.
frog pond - box #2 is left, (north side).

We were working around the pond to remove dead trees, as well as the tree top on the old Wood duck box. We've had Scott taking down some dead trees for us for two days, I was worried.

He felled a tree about 6' from the box. I was certain it was too early for her to be laying, but I was wrong.

The good news is she was there the next morning, sitting on the eggs. I went down to the meadow on the lawn tractor, to remove more of the wood, and she flew out of the nest like a bullet. She came back later. I was watching from up above, and she flew in and out. It was a lovely warm, summer-like day, those of us working outdoors had to peel off layers!

I read somewhere that they lay an egg a day. This isn't the case for this duck, this year.

There are about 10 eggs in a lovely nest of down. I'd been keeping track. They hang about in the water, then take off when I approach. I walked down the 27th, and there were two females on the water. Normally, the males are around. At another point in the day, I could hear this crazy noise. I peered over the edge (see the photo from the hill, below) and spotted a male Mallard, as well as a noisy male and female Wood duck pair. Does she make that noise when he's getting Twitterpated? Or was this the act itself? The phrase 'stuck pig' comes to mind.
The view from up above, up the hill.
The male Mallard is almost in the centre.
If you follow the tree up, centre left...

I've registered her at Bird Canada's Project nest watch!

I loathe the 24-hr. clock! The third reading should by 4:44 p.m., AKA 16:44. I changed it later. SIGH.
tracking chart 2015
box #2: I need to put flashing
on the tree.
Box #2 is left.
Box #1 is on the east, far side,
between the two trees

Life history information for the Wood Duck

Clutch sizeIncubation periodFledging period
6-15 eggs28-37 days56-70 days

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Little lambies, Wood duck report, tree cutting

We're on Day Two of removing dead trees. They are dangerous, and along the walking paths. One branch is on the wood duck box, and we had to remove dead ones to free it up. Unfortunately, the Wood ducks are nesting around the pond earlier than last year. I didn't realize. They don't seem too disturbed as the Wood duck nesting box #1 has 10 eggs or so. I've opened the newest box, and something has been in it, smoothing down the shavings. I wouldn't have opened them, as I figured they were off in the marsh. I'll keep a watch. We had 5 hatch last year.

In the meantime, I'll show you our trip from our drive. Lots of little babies about! I asked hubby to stop, as they were so cute. Dirty little hooves. One was quite interested in a black bird. Then had to go nurse again!

As I was taking photos, the traffic roared by. I'm amazed at the risks people take. I know I preach to the choir, but somebody out there loves you or your victim.
Date stamp: 1:33:02
Date stamp: 1:33:07

So much news to report! Shortly, I'll have to go back out and rev up the lawn tractor and haul in more of our wood. I'll have to have my Wheaties first. Everything aches, but there are no bugs, and it beats a normal exercise work out! It's wonderful getting out into the open air.