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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Oct 18, 2012

Fierce winds, downed trees and other unexpected sightings

Leaf litter on side of the road
We've been experiencing extremely windy days of late, and yesterday those winds were icy cold. I expect we will be getting snow any day now.   I headed out a little later than usual, as I had a lot to take care of early in the morning.  I hadn't visited the little forest down the street in a couple of weeks and I was extremely curious as to what I might see in the way of small birds and wildlife on such a windy day.  I also wondered where birds would find safe shelter.

 I noticed as I walked down the street, that the Black-billed magpies and crows had some difficulty flying due to the fierce winds and there wasn't a Pigeon in sight, but the Seagulls were riding the winds with great skill.  The leaves were being blown off the trees at an astonishing rate.  I attempted to get some shots of leaves on the wind, but apparently it takes more skill than I have at the moment.

First victim of the winds
The very first thing I saw as I entered the forest was a fallen tree, right across the well traveled path that divides the forest in two.  This was a healthy tree which often allowed me to photograph many a songbird perched on it's lower limbs.  I shall certainly miss it, although now it blocks my carefully worked private path into the heart of the little forest.

There were no birds at first, at least none that I heard, so I took the time to get some photos of the changing leaves.

Lady bug somewhat sheltered
Pretty red leaves
When I rounded the corner at the end of the main path a little while later, I heard and caught sight of a female White-winged Crossbill.

White-winged Crossbill
Female White-winged Crossbill
I don't often see these birds, certainly not two years in a row, but the sighting bodes well for winter birding this year.   This female had some difficulty keeping her perch in the pine tree where I first caught sight of her, but after finding a more secure perch, sheltered from the wind, she decided to abandon it once she caught sight of me.  Although somewhat disappointed, I wasn't surprised as I was out in the open.  After loosing sight of her completely, I continued on to enter the forest on another path at the rear.

This path too provided the obstacle of another recently fallen tree and at the heart of the forest I discovered a third.  At this point I thought it might be a good idea to get out from under the trees, since there are several very tall trees that are dead but still standing at the center, and the winds were getting worse, coming in fierce gusts, besides I wasn't hearing any birds here at all, not that I could hear much above the rising winds.

Common Redpoll
When I left the forest I paused to have a look around.  There are several houses here about thirty feet from the edge of the forest.  It is the gardens of these homes that face the forest and it is there that I spotted a flock of small birds heading for the trees of one of the sheltered yards.

Redpoll hunting for insects or seeking a secure perch
Trying to keep it's perch

At first they attempted to perch and hunt in the trees closes to the fence, but here the wind was still strong, and it wasn't long after that they moved to trees and bushes next to he house and I lost sight of them.  All in all it was a day of unexpected sightings.  I didn't expect to see live trees knocked down by the force of the wind for example.  I also didn't expect to see Common Redpolls this early in the season, but I am really hoping they and the Crossbills are not just passing through.


1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post filled with stunning fall photographs! The third and fourth images are especially exquisite. We have been experiencing extremely strong winds all week, as well. I was hoping we would be able to appreciate the autumn colored leaves a bit longer, but the strong winds are not helping. I hope those cool crossbills stick around for you!