Pine Siskins: Spinus pinus

On a rainy afternoon we watched a flock of Pine Siskins hanging out along a ranch fence line in the light drizzle.

When they show up in large flocks to backyard feeders or your local forest it may not be apparent but Pine Siskins are a Common Bird in Steep Decline. Pesticides, loss of habitat and predation from domestic cats, red squirrels, hawks, jays, and crows are all contributing factors to the decline of this species.

Since we typically hear them buzzing in the tree tops of pine forests seeing them lined up individually along the barbed wire on a quiet rainy day gave us a chance to know each on as a individual so to speak and it was nice to get to know them.

A wonderful little forest bird.

Double Snake

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Getting a glimpse of a snake, or a root, or anything remotely snake like, from along the edge of the trail always makes one do that quick double take. This time it was in fact a Common Garter snake nestled down in a small patch of snake grass (or horsetail if you prefer) that elicited the snake-double take. Although the Garter snake is one of the most common and widespread reptiles in our area and by no means are we snake-lovers it is always nice to see one slither away as we walk the trails. I wonder if their numbers have decreased with the decline of amphibians as this was reported to be their main food source or they have shifted dietary habits?

My Stump!


As we moved into our campsite for the evening this chubby ground squirrel let it be known loud and clear this was his stump and not to be used for a place to put our camp stove.

And in case we weren’t listening ….this is My Stump!

Have a great weekend.

Swainson’s Song

As we set out for a walk on a rainy Monday morning we decided to just carry a lightweight macro lens on the camera as the birds would be hunkered down as it was raining slowly and steadily.

For most of the walk it was one of those very calm and silent mornings only a walk in the rain can bring. However on the way back down the hill we heard the beautiful song of several Swainson’s Thrushes echoing in the distance. As we walked towards the trailhead the songs became closer and more frequent. Much to out surprise the Swainson’s Thrushes were out from the tall trees and perched singing in branches down low. It was nice to get a glimpse of these reclusive forest dwellers and to get a few photos but most of all hearing  that amazing song.

How do they get it to echo like that?