Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Leonard Cohen Sunrise

This past Tuesday, I was on the road to Saskatoon very early in the morning.  The purpose of this five-hour winter drive was to see the great, the incomparable, the most wonderful Leonard Cohen in concert that night.

Here is that morning's sunrise.


 (Click on link below to see video of LC singing 'So Long Marianne' in Zagreb in 2010 - the entire audience is singing along - as did all of us in Saskatoon the other day)

"So Long Marianne"

Come over to the window, my little darling,
I'd like to try to read your palm.
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
before I let you take me home.
Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.

Well you know that I love to live with you,

but you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the angels
and then the angels forget to pray for us.

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

We met when we were almost young

deep in the green lilac park.
You held on to me like I was a crucifix,
as we went kneeling through the dark.

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

Your letters they all say that you're beside me now.

Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

For now I need your hidden love.

I'm cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

Oh, you are really such a pretty one.

I see you've gone and changed your name again.
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside,
to wash my eyelids in the rain!

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began ...

Go to Leonard's site for videos, including Hallelujah,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hepatic Tanager in Saskatchewan

A week or so ago, a strange bird was noticed at a feeder in Wadena, SK.  The residents took a photo and emailed it to a more nature-oriented friend, who passed it along to some other people and so on and so on.

Yes, it was a tanager, but definitely not a Scarlet Tanager.  A Summer Tanager, quite late in leaving the Northern Prairies, where a few are seen each year?  Well, no, it looked more like, well, er, dare one say it...a Hepatic Tanager...

A couple of my birder friends from Saskatoon dashed off to Wadena to have a personal look.  And, after confirmation from expert birders.....

Hepatic Tanager  (Piranga flava)!  

And I was on the road to Wadena by 5:00 a.m. the next morning.  

This is a First for Saskatchewan and only the second one sighted in Canada.

You see, this bird simply should not be anywhere north of say, Northern Arizona, Northern New Mexico. (See the range map below). This young fellow is a long way from home territory.  

Cool Facts from All About Birds
  • Although the Hepatic Tanager has the most restricted range of the four tanagers in the United States, in fact it is the most widespread member of its genus. It breeds from the southwestern United States southward all the way to Argentina.  
  • The Hepatic Tanager may include three different species: the Hepatic Tanager, found from the United States southward to Nicaragua; the Tooth-billed Tanager, found from Costa Rica to northern South America; and the Red Tanager of          eastern and southeastern South America. The two southern forms lack the       dusky ear coverts of the  northern form.                                                                      
  • The Hepatic Tanager has been little studied. As of 2002, only 106 had been banded in the United States, and only one banded bird had ever been recovered.

 Range Map (from All About Birds

Hepatic Tanager Range Map

Unfortunately, a snowy, cold winter storm system is passing through the area.  I haven't heard today whether the bird has survived.  Bottom line is that there is no way this little fellow will stay alive throughout our winter, which has only begun. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yesterday's Drive-About

I had cabin-fever pretty badly yesterday, so in spite of the intermittent freezing rain and slushy, slippery roads, I went out to do some birding.  It is time to resume my frequent patrol of my 'usual route' which takes me out to Rafferty Dam/lake, and to the lake at Boundary Dam.

The sky was the same grey-white as the snow on the ground.  Difficult for photography (at least, for me it is).  

But here are a couple of shots from the day.

A young Eared Grebe

A large (probably female) Great Horned Owl

There are still huge flocks of Snow Geese around.