Saturday Snapshot Dec. 21: Life in the Snow

I don’t have to dream of a white Christmas. I’m living it. Today is the first day of winter, but we already have a few blizzards, and record snowfall.

In June we had our hundred-year flood. And now we have our hundred-year snowfall. According to records, the last time we had this much snow in just 16 days was in 1901, 112 years ago.

You might think life is arduous up here, but I tell you, it can be idyllic. Except for the traffic jams in and out of shopping malls at this time of the year, we’re a relatively happy lot. What more, being so close to Nature, I’m always delighted to see how contented our neighbours in the wild are, oblivious to the hustle and bustle of the Season.

Here are some photos I took in the last few weeks.

Snow-covered river banks:

Snowcovered river bankProof of life (and I don’t think they’re all human footprints):

Proof of LifeDid they ever show you how to identify a Mallard’s track in scouting? No? Here it is:

Mallard's Footprints

Galore of duck activities:

Duck Activities

… or inactivity:

Penguins look-alikes

Icy landing:

Landing in the Icy Water

I was elated to see something else other than the common Mallard. At first I thought it was a Sandpiper, but when I checked in my bird book later at home, I learned that it was a Killdeer. Amazing, for they are supposed to be in the American south by now. Guess somebody wants to linger a while longer in the snow and ice:

Killdeer On Ice

Traffic jam in the sky. Not quite a perfect V? You have to cut them some slack, they are Mallards, not Canada Geese.

Traffic Jam in the Sky

A solitary walk for this buck crossing the icy river. No jam here:

Buck at the RiverAnd deep in the snow, a few good folks had left some bird seeds. For the Woodpecker, it’s always tempting to go for fast food rather than to peck wood, especially when there’s no line-up:

Fast Food for Woodpecker

What’s Christmas without a little snow?


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

All photos in this post are taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, December, 2013. DO NOT COPY OR REBLOG.


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

44 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot Dec. 21: Life in the Snow”

    1. David,

      Yes, this is a year of climatic turmoils. Our June flood is the ‘Top Weather Story of 2013’ in Canada… ok, we’ll let Rob Ford take top spot for the Top News Story. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season!


  1. What a lovely meditation, Arti. Nature is a great teacher, isn’t it? I feel most alive when outdoors, vulnerable to the elements. Even fifteen minutes restores my soul.

    No snow here, today. Instead, it’s ice. It coats trees and native grasses and the remaining bones of my garden. Gratefully, no streets though. Last minute Christmas shoppers are likely hitting the malls in search of perfect gifts… or at least, something that will ‘do.’

    I wish them well. And you and all of Nature… in these last days of Advent.



    1. Janell,

      You’re absolutely right! Birding in Nature is my time of solitude, and a most effective revitalization… especially in this busy time. Good to hear from you. All best wishes to you and yours for a blessed Christmas!


    1. Susan,

      The waterfowls were fine. I was totally distracted from the cold by the beauty of the moment. Thanks for your comment and have a Merry Christmas!


  2. Beautiful photos! We had snow, but today’s rain will take care of that and we’ll have a brown Christmas. Pretty normal for us, though.


    1. Joy,

      Our climate is dry, so that makes it easier to take the cold. I can’t imagine if the cold is soaking wet. Thanks for stopping by the pond and leaving your comment. Have a great Christmas!


  3. You give good duck Arti! Actually, your nature shots are consistently superb. I love that woodpecker, too. I’m spending Christmas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Were it not for all the holiday decorations all over the place it could just as well be any ordinary day in May over here. Back in the Apple it’s already snowed four times in fall. I wish you Happy Holidays.


  4. Our birds are quite different aren’t they? And it’s even hotter than when I took those a month ago. We’re roasting in a pre-Christmas heat wave down under, while you’re having extra snow. Gorgeous pictures as always Arti. What are the black and white ducks, with the red bills and feet? How wonderful to see woodpeckers and deer.


    1. Louise,

      You know, that’s exactly my question. At first I labelled my photo as “penguin-like birds”. They were close by the Goldeneyes, but I’m not sure what they are. Woodpeckers I get to see quite often, so are deer, but not a buck though. That’s rare for me, and they look royal, like wearing an elaborate crown on their head. Thanks for stopping by and all the best for a (very warm) Christmas!


    1. Alison,

      I’d rather have snow and not cold. With our sunny disposition and the Chinook wind, that is possible. Have a most blessed Christmas in Scotland, you and your whole family!


  5. Ah, snow…there can never be too much of it for me. I love it with all my heart, even driving in it. There’s something about the purity, the whiteness, the freshness, the blanketing aspect that makes me know I could never live in a climate without it.


    1. Bellezza,

      Of course, here I’m sending out cheery spirit of the Season, focusing on the positive. I didn’t mention the back-breaking snow shoveling, and slippery roads, and the few overcast, grey and gloomy days. However, and that’s one big ‘however’, we do live in a City benefiting from the Chinook winds which can send the temp. up 10 – 15 degrees in just hours. Thanks for stopping by Bellezza, and here let me wish you a most blessed Christmas, you and yours. Will your son be back for Christmas? All the best to him in his military career and a proud mom. 😉


    1. cancancl,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, we have snow, and sunshine too! So, yes, anytime, just drop by and you’re most welcome to bask in our winter sun. 😉

      Have a wonderful Christmas and all best wishes for 2014!


  6. Wonderful photos. Now I have snow envy – although, as you note, even snow has its positive and negative qualities. We’re still in the 30s this morning, although it may hit 50 by mid-day. Here in my little space, the north wind is finding its way through the single-pane glass. They don’t build for winter down here.

    Take a look and see if those black and white birds with the red bill might not be the common merganser. We rarely see them – the hooded are more common in winter – but they’re beautiful birds.

    Your photos are lovely, as always. I hope your holidays are, too – a blessed Christmas to you!


    1. Linda,

      Yes, thanks for the tip! I think they are the Common Mergansers. And today, I saw the Cinnamon Teal, which is brick red, very beautiful. You have a wonderful Christmas too!


  7. That poor killdeer is probably a lonely bird, they are like quail and tend to hang out in small groups. I used to live away from the city and had a field across from my house. In summer the covey of killdeer would usually wake me up in the early mornings. They would stand around in a circle on the sidewalk outside my house chattering away as the sun came up. I loved those birds! Beautiful photos as always. I especially like the one of the buck, he is a handsome fellow!


    1. Stefanie,

      And I don’t know why there’s a solitary one … I hope his/her clan didn’t leave him/her behind. This is the first time I see a Killdeer here. Very handsome indeed!


  8. Wonderful photos and simply beautiful, a magical white world filled with nature. That buck is stunning — and how amazing you could catch a photo of him. I haven’t been to the ditch lately and I suspect only the ducks are there. Life IS beautiful in winter (although this is being a rather frightening Christmas here, with an ice storm that has had power out for many (including Rick) for three days and still out. I was one of the lucky. We drove around the icy hood today — lots of damage, many people have had fires or carbon monoxide poisoning. I’ve shared our guest room, more for dinner tomorrow. It certainly makes it unforgettable. (I have a little bit of survivor’s guilt here…)

    Have a merry, merry Christmas!


    1. Jeanie,

      Yes, there’s a disastrous ice storm in Toronto… tragic now since there are casualties, people trying to burn coals to keep warm and die of CO poisoning. So sad at Christmas time. I’d rather have snow, although I know snow can cause major damages too. I’m continue birding whenever it’s warmer and sunny, that’s when I can actually shoot some photos. Just yesterday I took the pic of a Cinnamon Teal, its color’s beautiful. Wishing you and your family a warm and wonderful Christmas!


  9. I enjoy the beauty of winter but not the cold, and after a few weeks and a card full of photos I’m ready for spring. 🙂

    That Killdeer shouldn’t be so far north but yet, there it is! Hopefully he’s finding enough food.


    1. Leslie,

      I do hope it would be ok, considering it’s alone and our temp. can get really low. We just started our winter, officially, albeit we’ve had cold weather for over a month now. Spring is so far away. Have a Happy New Year! 🙂


  10. My Canadian relatives (in Toronto) escaped the worst of the ice storm, but it did sound like there was a LOT of snow. Snow and civilisation don’t go well together, but snow and nature are gorgeous, as your pictures ably show. Beautiful! Hope you’ve been having a lovely festive time.


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