Thursday, December 21, 2017

There's Cold and Then There's COLD

Before you say it, I know it was our choice to go to Canada in December so we get what we deserve. We we prepared for cold weather. The temperature was forecast to be between 5 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We had boots and hats and gloves and layers, layers, layers. We weren't prepared for this:

Dashboard Temperature Reading
That's a - before the 20. 20 below zero Fahrenheit. That's fucking cold. It was that cold even when the sun came up. We didn't venture far from the car. We couldn't. Even with the mittens and hats and boots and hand warmers and toe warmers, it was cold.

We spent a lot of time at the Visitor's Center too - for 2 reasons. First the cold, but also because one of our target species often hangs out under the bird feeders there. This critter is called American Marten or Pine Marten. It is a type of weasel that can climb trees.

Pine Marten
A-dor-a-ble. Right?

Pine Marten
He would eat the bird seed on the ground and then run up to the building and hang out next to the foundation. We figured out that there is a little pipe there that he must use to get a drink. Cute little critter but make no mistake, this is a predator. Look at those teeth and claws. He could rip you up.

Teeth and Claws
OK. One more photo just because. Look how cute he is with the snow on his nose!

Cutie Pa-tootie
It did warm up with temperatures above zero in the afternoon and the next day too. On our last day, we found an uncommon woodpecker on a hike. This aptly named woodpecker is Black-backed Woodpecker, a female.
Black-backed Woodpecker
Another fun thing to do in the park is photograph common and uncommon birds. Here is Todd bearing the cold to take a few photos of a Blue Jay. 

Even the Blue Jays look better up here.

Blue Jay
Up north, there is another type of Jay - Gray Jay. These are the same size as Blue Jays but somehow they look cuter. 

Gray Jay
They are really smart and figured out quickly that when people arrive, they get fed. Just put a little peanut butter on your finger and hold out your hand. Here is a photo of me feeding the jay that Todd took. You can see that the jay has bands on his legs. I think the park does this to keep track of them. 

Linda with Friend
The Gray Jays aren't the only birds that figured out that people equals food. Here I am feeding a Chickadee. 
Another friend
Birds and wildlife up here have adapted to the cold and snow. We found this flock of Pine Siskins on the road eating grit and salt after the snow plows came through. 

Pine Siskins in road
Sadly, some of them are not fast enough to get off of the road. We found 4 of them dead. 

Roadkill Siskins
Their little bodies were still warm when I picked them up. They are now on their way to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia for study. I didn't think about whether that was legal or not but they didn't ask me if I had any dead animals in the car when we crossed the border. 

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