Thursday, 20 July 2017

Red squirrel usurps wood duck nesting box

Snake scope
What a problem! I was about to open one of my 3 wood duck nesting boxes. They open from the side, on a hinge. I heard a sound, then decided the scope was a better idea. Back up to the house to grab my snake scope. I was hoping it was a duck. Although, it is early for them.
The wood duck hatched 12 chickies!
Frog pond update: Wood duck box #2

April 20

Wood duck nesting box
 Sadly, a red squirrel popped out. They can nest anywhere – the wood ducks, not so much. I went back up to the house and did some research.

Red squirrels build large grassy nests, called dreys. This one was a deep, round circular nest nestled into the wood chips I'd put in for the ducks. Wood ducks have a hard time finding nesting sites, since dead trees, of suitable size and location, are few and far between.

Squirrels are aggressive, busy creatures, feeding on buds, new shoots and sap in spring, insects in summer, and seeds and nuts in autumn. We have 5 up at the house, feeding on the bird feeders. Whilst other swear at them, I figure I cannot be choosy about which critters I feed. Either you feed one and all, or you just stop.
This was a Bala, Muskoka, squirrel!

Having done some research,  I found that they keep the baby squirrels in the nest, safe and warm, until about 40 - 44 days. I hadn't see any babies, and so back down to the nest. I was ready to take the nesting material out and began that, as she watched from above. Me bad. There were about 4 little babies. I covered them back up.

The squirrel family (Sciuridae) is part of the rodent order (Rodentia), which makes up nearly 40 percent of all mammals.
I knocked on the box, but she ignored me until I opened the side door. April 20th.
  Red squirrel from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Daisy was helping...
I emptied the nest, only to find the babies deep in the bottom.

You can see the babies deep down in the nesting materials. They are furless!

I put the materials back into the box. Back up to the house for a think.
OK. New plan. I thought we'd move her and her babies to the Saw-whet owl nesting box that nobody seems to like.

A new plan: move them.

April 21

 I climbed the ladder to check it out.  Below is the saw-whet box, which had had visitors! At least one squirrel. Momma yelled at me from a nearby tree, and hasn't returned to the wood duck box. I think it was a good transfer.

May 10th

Lactating squirrel. This is a good sign. I saw a crow worrying something. When I went over the squirrel sniped at me!

July 15th – both wood duck boxes have had dreys! Sigh.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

What a day for critters!

Twas an adventure. Driving along Lanark County roads, I came around a corner, and spotted a deer and fawn on the road. It's hard to spot on the dashcam video, but momma heads right, into the bushes covering the fence. Fawn stands in the middle of the road, then sprints left as a tractor rounds the corner.
These are stills from the video, followed by archival photos. I haven't seen any fawns this year. They are deep in the forest, avoiding our bugs.

It's no wonder that week by week,  we average about 10 deer collisions in the region.
Fawn from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then, I arrived home. Look up on top of the tree trunk! Can you see it? I stopped right beside the tree and it didn't move for the longest time. This is our regular visitor, a sharp-shinned hawk who likes to fly along the driveway.

Sharp-shinned hawk from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then, there are the backyard birds happily catching all those bugs.
phoebe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Mrs. Grosbeak from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then there was the robin, who was watching the veery pair!
backyard birds from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Book Review: The Curse of Sacerdozio: A tale of judicial conspiracy

Glen Aaron
I liked this book, on many levels. Self-published novels can be tricky, but this was decently written, and somewhat quirky, and a good tale. Even trickier, weaving in facts, real news and historical fiction. This can be too challenging for some professionals turned writer.

The author spent 40 years in trial law, and this adds to the complexity of the tale, wherein the justice system meets traditional cultures, land claims, and mineral rights. He weaves in SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court), Opus Dei, and all those who continue to exploit humans and the earth, in the name of money, land, or religious values.

I have some knowledge of our local bands' traditions, we live on unceded Algonquin Territory,
First Nations, 1491
 and this was interesting in that I could compare and contrast cultures, values and traditions across North America's First Nations.

The Doctrine of Discovery.

The Doctrine of Discovery, 1493. The Papal Bull “Inter Caetera,” issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, played a central role in the Spanish conquest of the New World. The document supported Spain's strategy to ensure its exclusive right to the lands discovered by Columbus the previous year. 
There is much unceded N.A. land, for example,
this is the Dakota Pipeline area.
The above is what gave the Catholic Church "permission" to convert Indigenous Peoples, taking away their spirituality, putting them into residential schools, and forbidding their spiritual practices, such as dances and ceremonies. It was a shameful period in history.

I did some research, and Aaron has done HIS research. This is the tone, the natural history, and the setting for the book. In the Anthropocene Era, with Trump's diluting of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, we should fear for the land, it's history, and peoples.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry (former Texas governor) told CNBC on Monday, June 17th...
  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he does not believe CO2 emissions from human activity are the primary driver of climate change.
  • That view is at odds with the conclusions of the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also told CNBC in March he does not believe global warming is primarily caused by CO2.

A Jicarilla Man, 1904, Edward S. Curtis (sepia restored).

Selling Off Apache Holy Land - The New York Times

May 29, 2015 - The Oak  Flat campground lies at the core of an ancient Apache holy place, where ... President Dwight D. Eisenhower decreed the area closed to mining — which, ... common in national forests — because of its cultural and natural value. President Richard M. Nixon's Interior Department in 1971 renewed this ban.

SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court
About the book: When Harvard Law School graduate Tommy Jon is chosen from a sea of applicants to the opportunity. Tommy is the first Jicarilla Apache to ever graduate from Harvard Law and the clerkship seems like a dream come true. But when he falls in love and impregnates another clerk and she chooses to get an abortion, Sacerdozio’s dark side surfaces. Then, the justice is found dead – murdered and left floating in a hot mineral pool in Texas – and Tommy becomes the number one suspect.
clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anton Sacerdozio, he’s honored and excited by 


I was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Midland. In 1962, while attending Baylor, I ran for State Representative from Midland at the age of 21. I lost that election in a runoff by 42 votes. Deciding politics was not for me, I graduated Baylor with a BA and moved on to the University of Texas law school. There, I won the Moot Court competition arguing before the Supreme Court of Texas sitting en banc. After acquiring my JD, I spent forty years in trial law and international business and banking. Today, I live in Midland with my wife Jane Hellinghausen and two rottweilers. I enjoy writing and working with the Permian Basin Bookies.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Daisy and I went out to play

We've had a lot of rain over the past couple of months. Not as much as Ottawa, but a consistent daily rain, for the most part. My gardens are lush. The bugs are numerous, and the birds are producing broods #3.
Daisy found herself a snake. Two, actually. One in the garden, the other in the forest. She urged them to go on their way.
I found a big, black beautiful bug. I think it is a form of cicada, but I'm still working on it.
The deerflies are awful, the patched on the back of my hat work. I wrap the patch on a stick, and let the goldfish eat them.
Orchid cactus blooming again!
The pearly moth is: Diachrysia balluca. AKA Green-patched Looper

Spring peeper