Thursday, December 26, 2013

Early Winter Mammals (and Ice)

It is certainly proving to be an interesting winter weatherwise. A huge ice storm passed through Ontario on December 21-22, with most trees losing at least some branches in many areas.

 Before the ice hit, the Credit River was full of floating chunks of ice, clogging the river in places.

Late Sunday morning we heard a crash outside, and looked to find that a huge branch had fallen on my parents' driveway, damaging the roof and taking out the power lines. The power still hasn't been restored five days later.

This is probably the branch whose loss I'll feel most keenly: I've seen over a dozen species of warbler in it over the years.

Despite the damage, the ice is really a beautiful sight, especially when the sun shines through it.

Over the past month I've had a few really nice close encounters with mammals. Last week I followed the sound of some agitated chickadees to find this Eastern Coyote. It was on a steep snowy slope above me, not in a tree as it appears from the photo.

I don't see coyotes very often (this is my fourth or fifth decent look), so it definitely provided some excitement.

At the very end of November I came across a muskrat acting very strangely along the Credit River in Mississauga. It was staying very close to me, and was making circuits where it would go a bit downriver and then come back upriver, never going right past me. I'm not really sure what was going on, but here's a couple clips of what it was doing.

To round up this post, here's one of three raccoons I found curled up near each other on a very cold day.

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