She’s Back!

Red-Shafted Northern Flicker (female)

Northern Flicker

After a relatively quiet day yesterday, we got front-row center seats to see the Northern Flicker in action (again) on the suet feeder. The subject has still been shot through a pane of glass, but this is a much clearer closeup with a better angle here — you can see the red on the nape of the neck, which was not visible in the first shot/blog post, and a hint of her black “necklace” just below the neck and on the upper part of the breast.

You can also see that this woodpecker has made serious inroads into the top nook! Other dickey birds tried to get on to the suet feeder at the same time! But the Northern Flicker was not to be bullied away from it, and even the most stubborn juncos were quickly bumped off.

Woody even spent a good minute just sitting perfectly still Continue reading

Daily Prompt: 32 Flavors

Coconut Bliss: Naked Coconut

Naked Coconut (Photo credit: Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss)

Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely? If the question references a favourite frozen dessert flavour rather than the song “32 Flavors” , it’s definitely something else entirely. Although Island Farms’ Denali Chocolate Moose Tracks, Lucerne Butterscotch Marble, Japanese Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (served at very select Japanese restaurants in Metro Vancouver), Durian Ice Cream, Mango Ice Cream, and Breyer’s Heavenly Hash all have special places in my heart and on my palate, coconut ice cream takes the cake. Why settle for ordinary when one can have the extraordinary?

Because this is one hard-to-find treat in your typical grocery store, and even natural health food stores. I’m not talking about ice cream with a Continue reading

The Male Intergrade Flicker

Red-Shafted Northern Flicker (male)

Gilded Flicker (male)

With the bright red mustaches, bright red nape, gray face, yellow headcap, and salmon-red feather shafts, it was the male Intergrade Flicker this time! He was sunning himself rather leisurely on the fence. He took a couple of micro-naps, too, or maybe he was just meditating deeply.

Obviously he was not too concerned about the neighbour’s cat coming up from behind, as the latter is wont to do. He was a very patient subject (perching there for a good 10 minutes), and didn’t even touch the suet feeder, which was being swarmed by the usual midday crowd. He must have gorged recently. 🙂 Continue reading

A Spotted Towhee: The Red-Eye Special

Spotted Towhee

a Spotted Towhee pauses

The first time I spotted a Spotted Towhee, it was at least 10 feet up, perched high upon a tree in Van Dusen Gardens. In the midday summer afternoon, its striking red eyes caught my attention.

Compared to the Dark-Eyed Oregon Juncos, the Spotted Towhee dwarfs the bowl. I haven’t seen these ground foragers/dwellers taking food from the suet feeder–maybe they find said feeder too unwieldy for their relatively large size.

This is the closest that a Spotted Towhee has ventured to my camera, though, and for that, I am glad! These shots clearly show its red eyes, white breast bracketed on either side with splashes of reddish brown — and spots of white on Continue reading

Daily Prompt: Trading Places

Tomboy (1985 film)

Tomboy (1985 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have I ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex for a day? What do I think life would be like? As a tomboy in both attitude and appearance–I eschew Barbie Dolls, My Little Ponies, and the wearing of dresses on my person, even to this day–those have been akin to burning questions all my life. (Okay, I never really warmed to cars or earthworms, though).

I’ve always thought of myself as being 50%-50% as far as “brain gender” goes, but an actual brain gender test (taken several times) revealed that my thinking patterns are 95% female (it’s much better than one of my former co-workers, who also took that same test several times, only to be informed that he thought (overwhelmingly) like a female. He was not a happy camper to hear these results. True story). Here’s a short list of what I imagine that life as a guy for a day would be like. Abject apologies to my followers Continue reading

A Mysterious Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker (closeup)

a Red-Shafted Northern Flicker (?)

The largest feathered visitor to the suet feeder to date! I think that it may be a juvenile Red-shafted Northern Flicker, because none of the online images I’ve seen show the red blush on the face and head that this specimen has. It’s good that it’s drumming on the suet feeder (it took a big dig out of one of the nooks and coated its beak with the treat rather generously) and not on the house.

On another note, something knocked over the blue bowl of wild bird seed last night (making for easy pickings off the grass). I don’t think it was the wind. The night time marauder may have been a [vindictive] squirrel, a raccoon (although they have not been sighted since late fall), or even a neighbourhood kitty.

Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five

Plains Zebras (Equus quagga), more specificall...

equus quagga antiquorum (photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are 26 letters in the English language, but I think we can make do with just twenty-five of them. Canadians can get away without using the last letter of the alphabet, because we can opt to go with the British way of writing things: ‘recognise’, ‘nationalise’, ‘visualise’, ‘commercialise’, etc. … you get the idea. Sure, at first, it may look a bit odd Anglicising words that we previously Americanised, but we’ll get over it. It looks more academic, high falutin, and old school, too, to use verbiage from Across the Pond. Even if we win things in a contest, we can call these items ‘awards’ or ‘winnings.’ Thank goodness for the ability to fall back on synonyms.  Continue reading

A Christmas Post from the Resident Junco

Dark-Eyed Junco (female)

it’s the camera-shy missus

Did you think we were just going to visit our nestlings, mates, and a few of our fellow sparrows on Christmas Day, and not swing by for a bit of sweet fruit-and-nut indulgence first?

This time, though, we actually let the lady with that clickity-click device in her hands open the door and capture us doing our daily ‘stuff’ in our backyard (yes, it is our backyard; you’ll see that we have marked various and sundry places with our calling cards). We just pretended not to hear that white rectangle as it squeaked rather noisily open, Continue reading