If you follow this blog at all you've heard me say that the west side of the River is Raven country. Now, Ravens are magical birds in the mythology of many people. The story I love the most is the Viking one that has two Ravens sit at the shoulders of Oden, king of the gods, to dispense wisdom. Although they're tricksters, so you must be careful in the interpretation of their advice. One is called Huegin, and this is Huegin's descendant, Huegin" Broken Beak" clan warlord, and chief of the Vermilon Ravens.
Broken Beak will lead our tour, and fortunate we are to have him as both a physical, and a spiritual guide, for he and his clan of six other Ravens will summon up some awe inspiring sights for us. Read the copy and click the photos to enlarge and enjoy the slide show.
This is the trail, but deeper in the black spruce forest than you've seen before. The day promised to be fair, but was only intermittently so. You can see the light on the trail. This is a long post so I'll use captions where I can. But I wanted to add the White-breasted Nuthatches and the Bohemian Waxwings were of course a favour from Broken Beak.
|The Ridge To The NW, as we begin.|
|Again showing the height of the ridge.|
|Blue Jay- cousin of the Crow and Raven|
Shooting in the thick black spruce trees adds a light of its own in the background, which I especially like.
I put this female Hairy Woodpecker here in the sequence, so you could see the difference with the Downy's below. Her beak is bigger; she's bigger, and there are no black lines on her white tail feathers. Great that we saw both.
|Male And Female Downy-Quite a coup seeing them together.|
|Pine Sisken showing the yellow well.|
|Again showing the yellow.|
This was really a stoke of luck as I have been looking for the White-breasted Nuthatches for some time. They're usually hanging upside down on a tree trunk,so are hard to shoot. There were about five of them, and they posed which is also unlike them.
This was a real surprise as I couldn't get close to this tree, but look at the red under tails on these birds. They're Bohemian Waxwings. We're fortunate to have both Cedar and the Bohemian variety. There still must be some berries in the undergrowth.
|Close Up Bohemian Waxwing.|
A Female Common Redpoll. But look at the woodpecker damage to the black spruce base. Remember, the black spruce forest is a haven for wildlife. It was here that I saw the Black-backed Woodpecker last fall.
|Female Common Redpoll|
I wasn't sure if we would see any squirrels, although we could hear them. But true to his word Broken Beak got them out.
I was worried that if the sun was too strong it would degrade the trail and we wouldn't get to the rapids. But here we are. The River never totally freezes. The ice on the slower parts is breaking up now, and soon will be on the feeder rivers. Then the rapids will be in a full spring rage.