It is always difficult to say goodbye to an old friend. Here in Winnipeg it is even more difficult to say goodbye to that old friend we call Summer.

A little fog

While other places slowly slide into Fall and slowly get used to slightly lower temperatures, here we have to be ready for the onslaughts of

the Arctic. At first I thought that a little bit of fog would be the beginning of the Fall, and that this would last for a few weeks.

Not so.

Frost was soon to follow the fog. Happy enough for us, photographers, that gives lots of nice photo opportunities. And you don’t even have to go far away to get these pictures.

The first frosty nightThe first frosty night

This flower, or what’s left of it was very popular among the hummingbirds here in Winnipeg. Now the flower is good for a last, frozen, picture, before it will get mown away by the gardeners; the English Gardens are now prepared for the winter to come.

Cut down and ready for winterCut down and ready for winter

All the lush green bushes and plants have been removed, apart from a few perennials that will survive the winter.

A fringe of diamonds in the morningA fringe of diamonds in the morning

Now, the focus has to be on what is left, and that is not so easy to find (says the lazy photographer). Coming early in the morning to the English Gardens might help get you a frame or two like the one above.

The last colour in the GardensThe last colour in the Gardens

The crab apple tree here is still showing off its Fall colours. Instead of taking the whole tree, this detail still shows lots of colour.

Old fashioned protectionOld fashioned protection

Some parts of the Gardens are simply protected against the cold by some straw, we will see next year what is currently underneath it.

Bare to the essentialsBared to the essential

The tulip fields are now completely devoid of any flower matter, only the earth is there to greet the upcoming snow. Bulbs have already been planted in some patches of the Gardens.

Playing bear cubsPlaying bear cubs

The only creatures that do not fear the upcoming season are the bear cubs, created by Leo Mol. Most of these pictures have been taken with an overcast sky, hence the absence of any shadows.

Taking away the shrubs and the plants also means that many birds will need to find an alternative supply of food.

Approaching the foodApproaching the food

Chickadees are already demanding to be fed. Even if you have nothing, they can still land on your shoulder or camera, just to see if you have something eatable for them.

Posing and chirping “Thank you!”Posing and chirping “Thank you!”

This is always a nice moment for me, I always try to carry some seeds or other food for the critters. To feel those tiny claws on your hands is just amazing.

TakeoffTakeoff

But sometimes, there are other birds that see the opportunity for a free meal, then come and sit on my hand too.

An unusual guestAn unusual guest

A bird like the White Breasted Nuthatch is not really known for eating out of people’s hands and prefers to forage on the ground and on tree trunks. This one was definitely more daring and greedily took a lot of seeds. As you can see, its “talons” are also a lot bigger than the ones of the Chickadees.

They felt stronger too. The bird usually eats on tree trunks and can even eat upside down, just by putting its claws in the wood. My hands were a little bit softer though.

Waiting for the leftoversWaiting for the leftovers

Once all the small birds were done with the seeds, the leftovers were welcomed by the birds on the ground.

Preparing for winter has to be done in many different ways. For the birds, it is feeding, for the squirrels it means creating a warm nest before the cold really sets in.

We now tend to say that the colours are gone. What we really mean is that the suntan we had in summer is gone. There is still plenty of colour left around us. Now, all we have to do is dress warm and shoot it…