Well, it has taken more than enough visits to the St-Clet/Ste-Marthe area to finally pin down a Snowy Owl for the year list but now it’s in the bag. Today, while beautifully sunny, was viciously cold out there with most creatures keeping their heads well down and we had almost decided to give up and go find hot coffee when just before my fingers gave up the ghost a “lump of dirt” turned its head to look at us ………..

It was quite some way from the road and, while clear and crisp in the spotting scope even my maximum camera lens “stack” (theoretically 1280mm of lens) could only pull in the above view but some PS manipulation below produced some images worth posting as proof of its existence:

Should be sharper but even the tripod was waving in the wind.

Then back at base we saw this chap on one of our feeders. Downy Woodpeckers are perhaps our most faithful feeder birds but we have never seen a brown one before. While brown colouration of worn feathers exists (for example see the images at http://www.migrationresearch.org/mbo/id/dowo.html) such a uniform atypical colour does seem to be unique.

….. and a Red Squirrel just because he’s cute. This guy expends way too much energy chasing the greys but as you can see appears to be fat and in fine fettle.