A female Northern Flicker was at our suet feeder twice this morning, Jan 22. Jim Cashmore, Claudette Court, Peterborough

Northern Flicker at a feeder (Penny Pierce Jan. 2013)

Just like every year for the past 15 years, the Mallard Seniors held their annual “goodbye” convention in December, just days before that big snow dump. This is the latest that they have been here. We know they are the seniors as a few have a limp-gymp, or land somewhat awkwardly. They take a walk around our Armour Road condo, starting along the riverside, and then up the eastside. What a racket, as they are talking the whole time!
Of course what they are saying is only known to them, but it’s rather fun to hear them in what is obviously some sort of serious conversation. Then they are gone and will be back in the spring. We have no idea where the young ones are. They show up two or three times during the early summer. We know those are the year’s young ones as the males are not yet in full colours. This year, we had a good population of young which is encouraging to say the least. Gord Young, Armour Road

Today, January 14, we had an immature Cooper’s Hawk in our Peterborough backyard. It had just caught an European Starling. Eric and Elaine Monkman, Gilmour Street

This week, Snowy Owls seem to be creeping back. Two were reported in the Little Britain area and this male at the Lindsay Airport. Carl Welbourn

Snowy Owl at Lindsay Airport (Carl Welbourn)

We had a very interesting sighting on January 10 in our north end Peterborough backyard at around 8 pm. It was a full size Virginia Opossum, mostly white with a bit of grey on tips of the hair sitting upright in the backyard. We think it is still under the back deck! We haven’t ever seen one outside of a zoo and we didn’t realize they were in southern Ontario. Our dog is still sniffing around on top of the deck today and was the first one to spot the possum last night which caused some very excited barking. Ashley

Virginia Opossum (Mary Beth Aspinall)

Today, January 5, at 11:00 am , I spent a half hour observing the Quaker Oats building . A Peregrine was soaring and scaring the pigeons . Then, another falcon appeared of the same size, colour and habits. After the first falcon sat on the railing , the second one tried to mate with it . However, a Google search didn’t provide anything on falcon mating . Why after multiple bird sightings from lots of accomplished local birders have no reports of two falcons been reported, not to speak of possible mating behaviour? I hope that this is another piece of evidence of birds feeling an early spring. Michael Gillespie

Note: At least one other birder has observed two Peregrines at the Quaker Oats building this month. D.M.

A Peregrine perched on the Quaker Oats building on the west side of the Otonabee River (D. Monkman)

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.