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Friday, 11 June 2021

Blooms

Leaves are on the trees and hedgerows are blooming. Blooms line the roads, trails, banks and shorelines of streams, ponds and sea. 


Sometimes the blooms are unidentifiable in a distant row of trees 





separating fields. 





At times, blooming trees line the trails 





and one can identify some of them. The pink-white colours of the Wild Apple blooms make them easy to distinguish.





Pin Cherry trees are everywhere and are covered in blooms.





Mountain Ash is blooming now as well, its leaves reminding one of the orange berries to follow.





Sumac is distinctive too, clusters of creamy blooms erupting from rose coloured buds. 





On a rare occasion, an old homestead has lilac trees along a trail.





Some of the prettiest blooms right now though are on the Choke Cherry trees which are everywhere as well. 





My favourite photos were from the boardwalk by the sea.





Nature in late spring on Prince Edward Island is a feast for the senses.


Question from the post on Thunder Cove by Boud at https://fieldfen.blogspot.com/


Does the sand stain the way red clay does? 


The red clay of the island does stain sneakers and clothes. We use an old towel or blanket sitting on a red sand beach, especially in the wet sand. However, not all beaches are on the island have red sand, such as the beach at Cavendish and white sand beaches on the south shore of the island. The colour of the sand depends on the rate of erosion in an area. 







Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Thunder Cove

The beach at Thunder Cove is one of the most beautiful beaches on Prince Edward Island. The gorgeous red sand beach, tinted by iron oxide, is pristine and appears to stretch into forever. 





Sandstone cliffs along the length of beach are easily eroded and this process has always been a source of interest for residents and visitors alike. 





The sea’s sustained assault on the sandstone creates interesting shapes, holes and crevasses which are tempting for people to explore. This is not a safe practice however as the cliffs above collapse when the supporting sandstone is undermined.


Then there are the sea stacks around the island, the most famous of which is the Tea Cup at Thunder Cove. Created by erosion, they too draw people, as this one drew us on a recent visit to the Cove. 





We hadn’t seen the Tea Cup in several years and it was interesting to compare it to previous photos. The Tea Cup is not much different although the stem of the cup has narrowed. Every spring people expect to find the cup collapsed but it has defied the elements thus far. Its time is running out.


Meanwhile, one of two other sea stacks nearby has changed more noticeably since it lost its connection to the cliff.





The soil and sandstone nearby illustrate the danger of getting too close to the cliffs. 





We enjoy the cliffs at a safe distance and the sea stacks as long as the exhibit lasts.


  

Monday, 7 June 2021

Green glory

Spring is in full bloom on the island. Over two days the leaves unfurled on some trees and within a week, all the leaves were open in their new green glory. I love this time of year.


We have cycled various trails recently and the beauty of the burgeoning new green of spring has caused my husband and I to pause frequently to take in the glory of the season. 


On May 29th, the leaves along the trail from Darlington to Charlottetown were bursting forth, 





creating a green hue along the sides and above the trail.





On June 2nd, on the Homestead Trail, the leaves were fully out and cast shadows on the trails which we cycled through 




and smiled as we rode in and out of the leafy shapes.





How fortunate for us the leaves are out in time for the warmer weather, providing a respite from the sun’s heat, if only momentary as we cycle by.


Nature is in a hurry. She knows her time in this condition is limited. A few short months and the green will be fading. For now, all over the island the unfurling of the new green of trees and shrubs is apace.





Combined with the quick eruption of ferns 




and wildflowers through the red soil, everything looks lush and green again. Now and then a splash of colour draws the eye to some pretty wildflower, such as this Winter Cress, which has been quick to stake its claim to a bit of the red dirt.




Nature makes room for all of them to our delight.



From my last post, David M. Gascoigne at https://travelswithbirds.blogspot.com/ asked


What kind of breeding habitat are they using on PEI so close to humans? Is your house close to a coastal marsh perhaps? 


We are several kilometres from the coast here. We have trees in our neighbourhood and a variety of birds live around us, including the Song Sparrows. They have nested among our hedges for years now. Many people in the area have similar landscaping, so there could be other sparrows in the area. 


We have heard and/or seen them everywhere we’ve been on the island, except the beaches. Along the length of the Confederation Trail which runs through farmland and is bordered with trees, we’ve encountered them singing their hearts out. Their repertoire is familiar.





Friday, 4 June 2021

Songs for the ages

On our travels around our island home, I never tire of seeing these tiny birds, the Song Sparrows. While not on the beaches, they are in the woods nearby, the trees lining the trails and the boardwalk in Summerside, even among the hedges at home. You see them as you ride or walk along and everywhere, they sing their hearts out.





Their russet and grey back is not distinctive among sparrows. However the markings down the breast and the black mark in the centre make the breast of the Song Sparrow distinctive. 


For years Song Sparrows have nested among the hedges at the front of our house. Every morning, one stands on the balcony outside the bedroom and greets the rising sun with song. That brief interlude is my morning wake-up call. 


Earlier this spring, we had a feeder hung above our patio and our resident Song Sparrows visited regularly. The feeder is down now, so we don’t see the birds as often. However, if we work in the garden, they land on the house next door or the wires into our house and sing to distract us from the nest area.


The sight of such a sparrow in song is heart warming. The little birds often sing looking skyward, as if praising the heavens with all their might. They sing as if with emotion, loud and clear, recognizable songs from a repertoire only other Song Sparrows are party too, but people recognize. They inspire us with their performance and entertain us with their vocals. Our world would be a sadder place without these beautiful little birds.


In response:


Several people wondered about the reed grasses I featured on a recent post. I responded in that post but I am including the information here in case people didn’t see it.


The reed grasses were at the Cavendish Farms Wetland area. It is in an estuary which is under study to see the effect of farming on the waters in the area. I suspect the grasses are a native species, though an invasive species is on the island as well. The Wetland area is protected and it looks as if the grasses have been planted there as part of the on-going conservation project.




Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Traffic jam on the 106

It is a busy time around Prince Edward Island. The spring lobster fishery is underway and the waters of the north shore are dotted with fishing boats as they check their traps and ports are busy with lobster tails/tales. The fields are busy too. For several weeks, we’ve watched as farmers prepared the fields and now planting is underway. The season of PEI traffic jams in upon us.


Last Friday we headed to the north shore with our family to visit a friend whose cottage is along the coast. It was a beautiful day and many of the fields we passed along the way showed recent activity. The roads were busy too. Huge pieces of farm equipment were on their way to another location for Saturday. On Route 106, it converged, pieces headed in both directions. The result was an island traffic jam.


We had a huge piece of farm equipment a few vehicles ahead of us on the road. The on-coming wide loads made for an interesting few minutes.





One of the vehicles had a Hulk doll attached to its front.  It was an uncommon sight for sure!





My husband and I were fascinated with the road traffic. 





Our only experience with any amount of traffic on this island is when we visit the capital, Charlottetown, or there is an accident on the road. Having to stop briefly for farm equipment is a seasonal occurrence, spring planting or fall harvesting. It isn’t a problem.





Such is life on this gentle island.




Monday, 31 May 2021

Picnic at the beach

On the way to another favourite beach for a picnic, we watched a farmer doing some adjustment to the plow he pulled behind his tractor. This time of year is busy for the people who grow our food. 





We stopped at French River as well to watch the boats coming home and spotted a female Belted Kingfisher in the trees watching the shoreline. She was a beauty.





Our destination, the beach at Yankee Hill, the site of the New London Lighthouse, is an area where fishing boats enter a channel to return to French River and other ports along the coast. 





The boats are only a few meters from shore and we love to watch their progress through the channel. We visit here several times every year.


A well used path from the parking lot crosses the dunes which are undisturbed otherwise. I took this photo of driftwood without doing any damage to the Marram grass.





We had our portable table and chairs with us and set them up for a great view of the channel entrance. Before long boats were passing mere metres from us, headed home.





In addition, as we ate, a Bald Eagle flew overhead and disappeared down the beach. Meanwhile, we could see hundreds of cormorants on a sandbar and pylons in the channel. As we ate, we watched the huge flock take flight.


Shortly after, fog emanated from the sand, creating an eerie look of smoke on the water, like the lyrics of the old song.





Even the boats released fog in their wake.





Before we left, I photographed the old pylons in the channel to compare their condition to last year. In the photos I noticed a Bald Eagle sat atop a pylon, surveying his domain. Did its presence scare off the cormorants?





The wonder of island beaches keeps us returning again and again.










Friday, 28 May 2021

At the beach

A beautiful sunny day without much wind drew my husband and me to the beach for a walk for the first time this year. We decided on the beach at Brander’s Pond to see how the sea stack there had fared over the last year. It is one of my favourite beaches but I have many favourites on Prince Edward Island.


Along the way we passed the Cavendish Farms Wetland, an area with huge grasses which the Red-winged blackbirds love. They found a way to land on the tall grasses, 





which sway under their weight, making them impossible to photograph.


At our destination, the pond is mere metres from the shoreline and a stream flows to the beach nearby. This year, Mallards and Ring-necked Ducks swam there. 





The local cottagers have fortified sides of the stream closet to the road which leads to the cottages lining the shoreline above the beach. The steam meanders more along the beach now than it has in the past however.




The sea stack looks much the same as last May, except the cormorants are hanging out there again. It is good to see the prehistoric looking birds back at one of their old haunts. 



                                                                        May 2020



                                                                                                                                                        


                                                                                  May 2021


The face in the cliff looks more tired though. You can’t blame it after this past pandemic year.

The beach is in pristine condition, undoubtedly people picked up any debris which was deposited over the winter. Some seaweed is all that remains. We will only leave footprints which will vanish with the tide. 





Walking along, we could see fog rising from the wet sand in the distance. We imagine the earth, like us, is ready to exhale.





The sound of the sea fills the senses. It is good to be back for another year.