Last Sunday overnight rain turned to snow by Monday morning. Not much, but the first of the winter and well distributed with the remaining leaves carrying small loads of snowflakes … the leaves were still on the Acer japonica (now almost gone at the end of the week) and the white snow on red leaves was very nice to view from a warm seat indoors.

The cooler weather, in fact quite cold some mornings, continued all week with days of rain and wild temperature fluctuations  – one morning being the coldest on record for the date in Montreal. The pond has remained frozen throughout, occasionally with pools of rain sitting on the surface. It’s raining again as this page is being composed and the day is very reminiscent of the grey, wet, cold days of November we left behind in England 20 years ago.

The bird feeders are well attended  with gangs of Goldfinches and House Finches coming regularly along with Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, Nuthatches and Woodpeckers. The Blue Jays and the Goldfinches have also found the heated bird bath on the deck which they like to drink from.  Last week we encouraged you all to think about taking part in “Feederwatch” during the winter months. This citizen science project is a lot of fun and interesting to do while gathering important scientific data … yes, your Chickadees are important. The 2017/18 season started only a couple of weeks ago and already during the observation periods we have chosen we have recorded 13 species of birds in the garden with more outside the observation periods to top up the list. We are in our 19th season this year with 323 count periods completed and 48 species reported. It’s that last number that is important and we hope encourages you to have a go yourselves … Feederwatch is only during the winter months when people tend to just assume there are very few birds around. Well, 48 species in a suburban garden is a good few more than “not many” – you never know what’s there until you start looking. Right, end of sales pitch …

As you will see from the accompanying photographs, things are really winding down now as we await the first real dump of snow and enter winter proper.

Photographs follow … after the following information:


Featured Images

(Click to enlarge)

A quiet corner waiting for the snow

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There are some new features coming to the garden website:

We are within sight of the end of 2017 and our commitment to post a journal entry every week throughout the year. It’s great that there are so many people who find it interesting enough to visit each week and check out what has been happening. For us it has been, and continues to be, very interesting to make regular records of the changing seasons and the plants and animals that come and go with the months that pass. We will certainly be continuing the challenge of recording what happens here but once 2017 has passed we think it likely that in the quieter periods we may miss the occasional week in order to keep what we do post of interest. There are only so many things you can write about snow.

And so – this website has some fancy technology underpinning it that enables us to make it easy on the eye. We have another couple of websites out there (links at foot of the page) one of which is devoted to sharing one-at-a-time photographs of the sorts of things that wildlife gardeners enjoy – plants, creatures in general, landscapes etc. – but that site is in need of some technological updating. The chosen solution is to merge the two together and that process is already in hand. The two streams will be fully up and running by January but already progress is visible – if you have a look at the newly altered home page (www.sparroworks.ca/journal) you can find out more. Our intention is to keep photographic and gardening posts separate(ish). For those not interested in photos you will can easily avoid them as those posts are identified by a small camera icon in the title. There’s a dedicated photo section (top menu) and page: https://sparroworks.ca/journal/photographs-one-at-a-time/

Photos will be “one-at-a-time” and we guarantee no mega-photo-dumps such as you find in Facebook – everything will be carefully edited and curated. The garden articles will, of course, continue to be fully illustrated as always. Your feedback in the comments below would be welcomed.

And now, finally – GARDEN photographs from this week:


Click on any of the following thumbnails for a full size view of the photographs …