Thursday 12 November 2020

It didn't seem like November!

What a strange November! Now, our warm temperatures are due to a Colorado Low, as well as the jet stream swooping up and away from us. I know people out west had a dump of snow, but we are outdoors in t-shirts. We'll get it soon, in the meantime...

I heard an interview with Michael Runtz, a Carleton  University professor who is a highly respected biologist. He was commenting on our bizarre weather, our warm spell during November, and its impact on our critters. I've been wondering about it, myself.

Rodents and Mammals

In summary, the mammals are benefitting from having a longer foraging period. The mice and voles are pretty active. The cats are bringing them home after their morning forays.

Beavers and otters have open water, moose have access to food, which is often frozen over in November. Runtz was in Algonquin Park and spotted beavers adding food to their food caches. The otters were active, and didn't have to swim under or run over the ice. Moose don't have to be careful of ice. 

Critters in dens will meander outside but stick close to home.  The bears are fine, too. Not our bear, which is disintegrating. JB bought him a t-shirt. Here he is, JB wearing his Chicago Bears toque.

I've noticed our deer are having a blast. The fawn was off to the left, eating up the lilac leaves. They are doing well.

deer twins from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Momma was eating up the grass, and the pumpkin guts I threw out (after toasting burning the seeds). I shall go at it, again, with another pumpkin.

Meantime, I'm putting out my pumpkins as I harvest the seeds. The springtails (AKA snow fleas) are nibbling on them, as well as other bugs. There is a layer of springtails in the goldfish pond, too. The alewives are nibbling them.

Bunny is a happy camper, as it eats greens. I cannot tell if it is a rabbit, hare, or snowshoe rabbit.

bunny from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Reptiles and amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians don't fare so well. I spotted a wood frog (below) and a gray tree frog out in the yard. They should be hibernating under the foliage, but instead they are out and about using up precious stored fat, which they should save until in spring. The snake I saw was pretty cold, as night temperatures have been cool. They seem to know to find shelter in their hibernaculum. 

The froggies are awake in the goldfish pond. I removed and relocated them (4+2+2+2 = four trips) before it got cold, again (last night!).  The pond, which I dug, isn't deep enough for our winters. We could get -20 C. mid-winter, and I've had bad experiences with critters overwintering. They are so dark, not their usual lighter green colours. There were two leopard frogs, the rest were green frogs, but one junior bullfrog, plus 2 other greens remain in the wee pond. I couldn't catch them. 

Here I am. Bucket in hand, off to the frog pond down the hill, across the meadow, through the forest into the pond. It was darn good exercise! I made 4 trips, total. Each time I caught them, down I went. It took all day!
Cinnamon snuck outside, he'd been in for the day, as he likes to make the frogs jump from the goldfish pond into the water. This doesn't help me catch them! JB came with me.


The birds are fine. There is lots of food, for those who overwinter. It's light levels that draw them south, if they are migratory. Almost all of them have gone. The chickadees are climbing up and down trees, as well as nuthatches, and looking for bugs hiding in nooks and crannies. 

This cedar and birch tree are growing together. In the space between, at the bottom, the woodpeckers have been looking for bugs.


Sadly, I plucked an embedded tick off of JB Monday, Nov. 9th. That is not good. It wasn't on long, and wasn't engorged. I put on antibiotic cream, and a bandaid. It was hidden under his watch strap. We anticipate the best. It's going to get cold today, and they will hibernate.

We're back to 4 C. this morning. Brrrrr.


Olga said...

Look at you outside in November in short sleeves and flipflops! We'll enjoy it while we can.

Tom said...'s been mighty warm this week, today it's cooler.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Yes, unseasonally mild here too... by now it usually well into single figures and first frosts seen - in some places up high that has happened, but mostly not. Kerazy. That's what 2020 will be known for. YAM xx

eileeninmd said...


We are warm also, until today. It is rainy and turning colder. I love the woodpeckers, great sightings. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a great weekend ahead!

carol l mckenna said...

Love your bear and hubby photo ~ and all your wonderful critters of all sorts ~ Marvelous photos ~ you live in a very lively nature place ~ ^_^

Live each moment with love,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor

Christine said...

All the critters think it's spring again, so do the flowers.

William Kendall said...

It's certainly cooler here than it has been for the last few days.

RedPat said...

Love the frogs and how you take care of them!

Red said...

Good summary of what happens to the critters. We don't often think of this.