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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Wetland


Recently, as we cycled a section of the Confederation Trail in eastern Prince Edward Island, 





we learned from a friendly trail worker about a Ducks Unlimited protected area near Morell, where we were headed. The wetland had an Osprey nest which we were glad to hear about.


Sure enough, we found the area mentioned and the nest was obvious at the back of the pond.





We didn’t see any Osprey however. It is interesting, though sad, to see how the birds recycle plastic when building their nests.





Also in the pond were several male Wood Ducks.





I was thrilled to see them though they tested the limits of my camera. I had only ever seen one such duck previously but had not been able to photograph it.


In addition, a pair of Canada Geese with five goslings nested on an island in the pond. The goslings were the biggest I had ever seen. The gaggle was initially in the water, 





then moved to the island where the adults gave a display of wing spread. Three of the goslings watched intently.





Meanwhile, three Tree Swallows where flitting above the water, moving too swiftly to be photographed. Among the bulrushes, Red-Winged Blackbirds chattered loudly. 





Before we left, two crows appeared to be bothering ducks at the back of the pond. There was a lot of quacking and the two crows looked like they were attacking something in the grasses. Crows can stir things up when they get started.


A few words from a friendly person can make an already great day even better.


Monday, 21 June 2021

Down on the farm

The Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island travels mainly through the centre of the island, an area which is farmland. Industrial farms and remaining family farms come into view as we ride the Trail. Fields sometimes appear to go on forever as they stretch over the countryside. Now crops are beginning to emerge from the rich red soil.





Horses and cows/cattle are a common sight along the trail. I always stop to watch and admire the beauty of these animals. On a recent visit to the area of Grand Tracadie, these horses looked so peaceful as they grazed on the family farm. In the distance clover fills the field.





In and around Darlington, PEI, there are several farms with horses. Young foals in the fields were curious as we rode by. The older animals had more pressing needs.





Another day, before I saw cattle, I heard a flock of birds, starlings for sure. Then through a break in the trees, I noticed a herd walking through a field. I stopped to watch and listen to the birds and a young calf stopped to watch me.





The animals we encounter are often as curious about us as we are about them.


Further along, the main herd had settled in around their water source and frenzied starlings visited around them. 





In the pond, a female Mallard and her ducklings swam, unconcerned about the cattle nearby. It was an idyllic setting.





On the way back through the same area, what looked like a cattle trailer cut across the trail from a nearby field. 





Some of the cattle may have been headed to market. The reality of farm life for these animals is not idyllic though these cattle are not raised on a factory farm. They looked content in the pasture.


Country life is one of the reasons I love Prince Edward Island.


Friday, 18 June 2021

Along the way

As we travel around Prince Edward Island, my husband and I often see things we like, appreciate or find amusing. There is always something to grab our attention along the way as we cycle or walk the trails of the island.


Early one morning last month, this Cadillac was parked at the boardwalk.





Look at the length of that beauty and those curves! What a treat to see such an oldie so beautifully restored.


We often see Great Blue Herons around the beaches and waterways of the island. This one by a friend’s shed cast a shadow on the wall. Reflections not shadows are a more common sight around herons here.





Along the Confederation Trail, as we approached the community of Winsloe, someone had placed an old milk can over a tree limb. I’ve seen a few of these in different locations around the island. I wonder who last used this one?





Walkers along the boardwalk in Summerside leave feeders with seeds for the birds and other animals. One of the recent additions is this trailer, a unique feeder. It looks like someone enjoyed a nibble on the trailer as well as its contents.





Theodore Tugboat was a Canadian Children’s television series with a model set of radio controlled tugboats, set in fictional Big Harbour. Theodore, the main character wears a red hard hat. The series was produced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where a life size tugboat was fitted out to resemble Theodore. That tug visited Summerside this past week and we caught a glimpse of Theodore Too as he left the Harbour.





On the Confederation Trail near Winsloe, someone put a few Christmas decorations on a tree by one of the picnic stops. It is surprising any stayed on the tree with the wind gusts we have on this island.





It’s been a year of lemons. Is it too soon to celebrate life getting back to normal?






Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Best if by sea

Prince Edward Island is covered in rockets and lupins this month. The beautiful blooms appeared just as the dandelion blossoms made way for puffs of seeds. As my husband and I cycle or walk along the trails, we stop to take in the colourful scenes, fleeting moments in a natural flower show which are too beautiful to ignore.


Dame’s Rocket pops up along the Confederation Trail. Bunches of purple, pink and white blooms can be waist high.





Along the boardwalk, it grows between the walkway and the sea. On closer look, the flowers have four petals and blooms in a cluster. 





In an industrial area of the city, Dame’s Rocket lines the metal fence which closes off the area from the Confederation Trail. It is such a softening element to the industrial look.





My favourite photos of rockets are those with the sea as a backdrop.





It was the same for the blooming trees. There is a common theme here.


Along the Confederation Trail, lupins or lupines as some refer to them, are abundant in some areas. They spread quickly, so we haven’t found single flowers but huge patches. One such patch, this past weekend within the city limits, caught my focus.





Lupins have a variety of colours and shades, including white.





The pure purples, pinks, rose and blue colours are pretty as they are but I am always drawn to the dabs of white on various colours, dabs of rose on pink or purple on pink.





In this lupin patch, yellow day lilies found a footing. They add an interesting puzzle to the scene. How did the day lilies happen to be there?





Lupin season doesn’t last long but the quest is on for a seaside setting which includes them.




 







Monday, 14 June 2021

Notes from the isle

We’d prepped the garden for planting and this past week, on the hottest day in Summerside in 100 years, I planted the vegetables. Two days later we had a frost warning. Such is spring on the east coast of Canada. Further east, in Newfoundland, it snowed.


Our grandchildren have another year of school almost completed. This year they lost three days due to the pandemic after losing three months of in-school instruction last year. The girls were excited to be back in class for this year and fortunately they could finish there. Two weeks left.


Both girls completed another year of dance as well, masks and all. Both continue to enjoy the classes and probably will take an extra class each next year. I help out by collecting them after class, allowing their mother to maintain the home front. The girls and I enjoy the alone time we get on the drive home. 


Our eldest granddaughter won an award for her passion, grace and love of dance which included a $500.00 bursary. She really lives to dance and her interest continues to grow.


We continue cycling at every opportunity, squeezing in a ride among gardening, spring cleaning and regular life activities. We ride to the boardwalk and neighbouring communities on days we don’t walk the boardwalk, beach or other trails. We are at the eastern leg of our Confederation Trail trek for this year and each section of the trail we complete now requires we drive at least an hour to the trail. We will do a section every week to complete the trek over this summer. One recent ride of 56 kilometres tested our physical limits and was a good test of our bikes as well.


Finally, my husband and I have our appointments for second vaccinations within the next month. With 67% of the island with one shot, the hope is to have 80% coverage by the end of June. The plan is by late June, travel in Atlantic Canada will be open again and to the rest of Canada by September, though that may change to earlier like the other Maritime provinces plan to do. This will not be a normal summer which will devastate tourism for a second year.


There is an end in sight, right?


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.