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February 26, 2014 - 9:14am

Furred and feathered visitors come calling in search of a meal

We had a couple of unexpected visitors to our place last weekend. Being February and given the sort of winter we've had, it was more than a bit of a surprise to see a pair of bluebirds come calling last Saturday morning.            

A male and female alit in the apple tree and I never thought they'd sit tight with the powerful wind gusts whipping the branches about. But sit they did and I was able to get several shots of the male while the female was obscured by branches.

A female cardinal seems to be shrieking with delight, perhaps celebrating the sunshine and blue sky

This cardinal seems content to sample a snow-capped frozen apple.

A chickadee sticks close to brushy cover.......

while another helps itself to sunflower seed and millet.

Pileated woodpeckers have shown up quite regularly this winter......we often hear their raucous call long before they come into view.

How did this gray squirrel get a snow hat?

He and some friends were digging for the walnuts I had tossed into the briars last autumn. I knew the squirrels would find them, but I never thought they would wait till there were several inches of snow on the ground before doing so.

This guy, meanwhile, appears to be rubbing his paws in anticipation while eyeballing the bird feeder. 

Prior to last weekend, the last bluebird I saw was just before Thanksgiving. Winter set in on us right after that. I've never seen one this early in the year. I've heard or read somewhere that bluebirds sometimes winter here, it all depends on the weather and availability of food. Regardless, I know we've got some single-digit lows coming later this week, but I've always felt Mother Nature was pretty good at predicting the weather.....here's hoping!

Scott Ogle
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Nice shots, Mr Nigro. It takes a real photographer to brave the elements -- I'll wait for spring!

Doug Yeomans
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Looks like it's time to put up the bluebird boxes! Nice to see them checking out northern territories to see if winter is over yet. I always liked seeing the robins return before the snow is gone, too. Not a single pileated woodpecker has been heard around the house this winter, unlike prior years. Great pics, Jim!

JIM NIGRO
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Thanks, Scott......you're not alone. I no longer handle the cold so well either - this is my first post in over a month.....I've been meaning to fish steelheads in the Lake Ontario tributaries but I too am waiting for warmer weather!

JIM NIGRO
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Hi Doug - We've seen a lot of pileated's this winter, heard several more along with the usual - juncos, nuthatches, etc. One thing we have yet to see is a robin. Hopefully they'll be along soon!

Kyle Couchman
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Joined: Dec 25 2009 - 8:54am

Spring Steelheads..... Stop it Jim now I am nostalgic AND hungry. Mother Nature has always been a better weather forecaster than mankind.

Kathy Owen
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Joined: Aug 23 2009 - 7:45pm

Hi Jim, Over a month ago I saw a good number of robins on the Albion road before Swallow Hollow. They were fixated on some leaf piles that had been overturned by a plow. I think I heard one this morning as I went out the door as well. Always enjoy your pictures. You've inspired me a great deal and I've been getting out for hikes when it isn't too frigid with the new camera (really enjoying the camera!).

JIM NIGRO
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Hi Kathy - FYI.... here's something you may be interested in. Joe Zolnowski, GCC's photo instructor will be conducting a photo course centered around maximizing the use of your digital camera. Cost is $48 and classes will be held at the Batavia campus starting Thursday, March 27 and will run for three consecutive Thursdays from 6 - 8 pm. If interested contact the Best Center at 585-345-6868

Kathy Owen
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Joined: Aug 23 2009 - 7:45pm

Thanks for the heads up Jim. Right now I'm taking a computer class on Tuesday and Thursday evening. They are rescheduling part 2 and this may overlap. Would love to make this if I can!

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