Fox on the Run

One of the greatest things about being a birder is all the other wildlife you get to see, and today was no exception. It was however, exceptional! As I came around a bend in the road, about a kilometre from home, I saw something in the field to my right. I  haven't seen an Eastern Red Fox on our road for over a year, so this was a great moment! I pulled over, and hoped that I wouldn't frighten him into the bush when I rolled down the window and stuck a camera out of it. He was too intent on nabbing a little lunch to worry about me.
Head down, he was very obviously on the scent of some small rodent, weaving back 
and forth and following its every movement.

Then came the moment, a sharp turn to the right, a perky little jump, and 
a light landing -right on top of the animal to hold it between his paws 'til he could grab it with his teeth.

This rapid movement took all of about  10 seconds! 

As he lifted his head, I saw a small brown something living its last moment before becoming
a tasty snack for the quick and clever hunter. 

One last swallow, then back to work. Head down, and nose to the meadow.

Watching him work brought to mind a tune that was popular in the Ottawa Valley years ago, and sung by The Good Brothers in many a tavern. Enjoy!


Spring Soulstice

Solstice. Soulstice. That's what this time of year is for me. And therefore why it takes me twice as long to get anywhere if I'm driving. And why I carry binoculars and a camera with me everywhere I go. Because it's spring, birds are returning, the land is waking up, and so am I.
Perhaps if Canada were equatorial I'd feel differently, but it's not. It has four distinct seasons and each one evokes strong emotions, and requires a special commitment from the people who live here. It is not an easy place to live, particularly in winter, and especially if you haven't prepared yourself properly. It's not as simple as going out and buying mittens, boots, hats, warm coats and a snow shovel. Our forefathers not only had to  grow their own food, they had to preserve and store it as well, they had to think about warmth, and plan their sources of heat for long, cold winter nights. They had to be prepared, and they had to survive. Of course it's easier today, but I think that the challenges our great grandparents faced are part of who we are today, and when we make it through another winter, we celebrate. We go outside, touch the earth, smell the deep, wet, woodsy forest, and welcome back the songs of spring.
Everywhere I go I see signs. Vast skeins of geese heralding their arrival, honking overhead. Turtles emerging from their muddy beds to bask once more in sunshine. Pairs of ducks locked in their ritual dances. Nest building, song singing, bawdy, raucous Spring! Welcome! And linger.