Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dripping wet, but ...

... it wasn't raining. Not really, anyhow; the water in the air was just a Scotch mist. We took a chance on it not getting wetter, and went down to Cougar Creek Park.

It's a grey spot, in the winter; grey trees, grey water, grey skies, grey bridge. And black and white birds, mostly.

A drop of yellow in the willow, red in the canes. Hints of a future spring.

Last summer, we saw a cormorant here several times, and I was hoping it would stay. It did; today we saw three of them.

Double-crested cormorant. A fish-eater. Unexpected in such a small "lake".

These mergansers were here last spring, too.

Hooded merganser, male.

It's the beginning of breeding season, and they are wearing their most showy finery. This next photo is blurry, but I liked it because one of the males is strutting his stuff to impress a female (the one in the brown hairdo.)

"Look at me! See how white my breast is! How tall I am!"

Wigeon, on patterned water.

A spot of welcome colour.

And, of course, the mallards. A flock of them slept on the mud bank at the far end of the lagoon, a few wigeons among them. This one came over to see if I had any goodies. I didn't.

Far end of the lagoon, where Cougar Creek enters. That's the remains of an attempt at making a beaver dam at the curve; the beavers keep building it in different spots, and someone keeps tearing it up.

Protected tree. Felled anyhow. Its branches ended up at a new dam at the outlet.

The old heron was still there, still as grumpy as ever. He waited until I was a few metres away, with the camera ready, then dodged behind the bushes and flew to the far side. As usual.

Other than that, there were a few common merganser males. I didn't see any females. And the trees by the creek were full of little brown birds, assorted sizes. We identified bushtits, a small woodpecker, several robins. And sparrows, of course.

LBB, very cold.

The trail went on past the schoolyard, but our batteries were failing, and there wasn't a dry spot to change them. Tim Horton's time!

Path in the mist.



  1. Do you ever see beavers cutting down those trees, or swimming with large trunks? I'm curious as to the time of day/night they are most active in cutting and hauling.

  2. It looks cold and gray, but there is something so beautiful about it all. These photos remind me how much I miss the northwest, where the season grips the land and shapes it utterly. Here in California there is an eerie sameness to all the seasons. Only the sun rises in a different place in a clear blue sky.

  3. Zhakee,
    No, every time we're there, we see evidence of the beavers' activity, but so far, I have never seen a beaver. Maybe if whoever is trying to discourage them gives up, they can start raising a family, and then they should be more active in the daytime.

    Robin; Yes, we grumble about the weather, but it keeps things interesting.

    I hope you're feeling better by now.


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