First, at a distance, grazing peacefully on the snow-covered plain, the herd paid no attention to the visitor leaning his lens against the fence post and on the metal wire.
Then, one by one, and two by two, they walked on over, watching the curious bystanders.
In minutes, they were so close that not even just one of the magnificent bisons would fit whole in the frame.
For minutes that seemed like hours, we watched each other, with a mix of curiosity and caution, breath condensing from our nostrils in the cold air, dissipating little clouds.
Too soon, it seemed, they wandered over a little farther downfield to sample the cold grass hiding beneath the unspoiled layer of fresh snow, leaving the few spectators speechless on the other side of a fence that seemed a rather futile barrier.
Candidly, the man who had stood quietly beside me turned and said: “You’re the bison whisperer.”
A shrug of my shoulders my only reply. We both walked away slowly, a grin on our face. Nothing more needed to be said.
This little guy has been on a mission, harvesting the walnuts from our neighbour’s tree, and stashing them in a few choice spots. This morning, he decided to take double-bites. Maybe he knows something… One thing’s for sure, he does not appreciate competition.
Piercing through morning haze
Off the blue liquid mirror
Lost in thought
Pulled from my reverie
Mirage or trickery
Like a gentle shower
Hundreds of tiny circles
Perturbing the water
Here one second
Gone in a flash
There with a dash
Breakfast for tiny pike
Watching, eager to strike
Tiny wings and legs above
All it took was one bite
I really liked the foxglove
p.s. If you’re still reading at this point, you probably wonder what the foxglove has to do with the story. Well, nothing really.
I never took a photo of the lake… I wish I had my camera with me, alas I didn’t.
But I had a photo of a foxglove. That’s it.
This is the last of the winged visitors I met at the Indigo bookstore. This beautiful monocled great grey owl has been taken in by the folks at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre after he was hit by a car. The collision injured his left eye, which had to be surgically removed. That didn’t stop him from keeping a close eye on me.
This is the largest of the owl family, with a wingspan that can reach 152 cm. I’m told that its size is somewhat deceptive, made up mostly of fluffy and broad feathers. It is rather lightweight.
I met this 11-year old peregrine falcon at the Indigo bookstore, of all places. We could tell, from her loud squawking, she was very happy to come out and meet with the other bookworms. She suffers from cataracts (who would have thought birds get these too?). The nice folks at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre look after her.
If you like peregrine falcons, you might enjoy watching a livecam from a rooftop nest, here in Winnipeg. Charming…
I had never seen one of these before. This probably explains why:
Where mice and other small mammals are concerned this fierce, silent owl is anything but cute. One of the most common owls in forests across northern North America (and across the U.S. in winter), saw-whets are highly nocturnal and seldom seen.
This little owl is a northern saw-whet owl, a patient at the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Winnipeg, Manitoba (actually in St. Adolphe). I met her, two other patients (peregrine falcon and great grey owl) along with great volunteers from PWRC at the Indigo bookstore—who would have thought, of all places—while I was there for a book signing.
I approached quietly enough, I thought
Even held my breath
Then I stood at the edge of the water, still
Watching, observing, even admiring
You floated about without a care, but
In an instant you both tipped forward
Holding your breath I assumed
Your behinds pointed to the sky, duck
I see you…
Native to Africa, this large snail was brought to Hawai‘i in 1936 as a garden ornamental and to be eaten. It is the largest land snail in Hawai‘i (can get up to 8 inches [ca. 20 cm] in length) and is considered an invasive pest because it feeds on the tender green leaves of garden and crop plants throughout the islands.