It’s mid-November, and the weather in Vancouver has been a bit wonky as of late. Warm, almost spring-like weather four days ago. And two days later, it feels like the first chill of winter. Now we’re back to 8°C for today, but the next few nights will fall below zero (-3°C tomorrow). The mercury has been seesawing with such regularity that I’m feeling Hamlet-like tendencies. To put on, or not to put on my snow tires? With Mother Nature playing the equivalent of peekaboo with the temperatures, even the fauna and flora can be fooled and confused. I think.
We have a plethora of wildlife outside. Unfortunately, they all tend to be a bit camera shy. However, our one attempt to encourage some nesting from our feathered friends has instead turned the birdhouse into a hive for wasps. The regular uninvited guests like the woodpecker (who is responsible for creating multiple points of ingress for other pests), the lone squirrel (our place is not Acorn Central, so I’m not sure what he gets from his constant peregrinations onto our property, unless pine cones are a regular dietary supplement), and the raccoon (who often leaves his calling card(s) by the stump of the ol’ Douglas fir out back) are expected.
But yesterday, a female Anna’s hummingbird put in a brief appearance, and something four-footed and hungry (or curious) was pawing at a clump of Those Questionable Mushrooms, which are finally dying under the cover of the California holly out front … even as a small patch of actual magic mushrooms is growing larger every day on the unfenced border between us and the neighbours to our right.
In the five years that it’s been out there, the bird feeder in the backyard has never ever been used by our winged visitors; they prefer the makeshift bird baths that our empty plant pots are turned into after a hard night’s rainstorm. But the robins and bushtits were out in force yesterday and today, raiding virtually all the bright red berries off their favourite prickly Pyracantha bush out front (a month earlier than they usually do). And the spiders have long packed up their webs and headed somewhere warm.
So should we expect an early winter, or will the Old Girl in Green throw us a couple more curve balls before the real thing sets in?