On summer afternoons, we have a drink on the balcony. It may be a glass of wine, a cold beer, a gin and tonic, or more commonly, ice water. While there are some constants associated with the location, there are often surprises as well.
One of the constants is the wind turbines. This past month, they produced fifty percent of the energy needs of the city of Summerside. There are four turbines north of the city and they are visible from our balcony.
We always know the wind direction from the direction of the turbines. This information has become more important to us since we retired.
Malpeque Bay is north of our location as well.
Summerside sits on a thin strip of land between Malpeque Bay and the Summerside Harbour. Malpeque opens to the Gulf of St Lawrence while the harbour at Summerside is on the Northumberland Strait. North or south, the ocean is never far away.
Birds are often visitors as they sit on the roofs or utility lines. Their antics are entertaining. This tree swallow had a lady friend on the line with him. He made amorous advances to her but she rejected him, several times, then flew away.
He sat, dejected, for the longest time. Was it the wind which ruffled his feathers?
This song sparrow, one of a pair with a nest in our flower bed, sat on the utility line waiting for us to leave, rather than chance revealing the location of the nest. The pair of sparrows was protective of the young.
We are on the flight path of cormorants as they travel between Malpeque Bay and the harbour at Summerside. They frequent the area around the Indian Head Lighthouse in the harbour.
These birds often travel in groups and are inclined to travel in the v pattern typical of geese, though they are silent unlike geese.
One calm day recently, we could hear the action of wing against air of a bird flying at a low altitude. On a windy day, we noticed that the young cormorants often gave up flying into the head-wind and turned back. The older birds persevered, though flew much slower than their usual speed.
Cormorants never land in our area and getting a photo of them in flight has proven difficult.
Until 1991, there was a Canadian Air Force Base here in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Today, Canadian aircraft from Nova Scotia do maneuvers in the skies above Summerside and use the air field.
Sometimes sky diving is part of that training as it was on this day. We could see the parachutes in the distance as the aircraft flew overhead.
There are but a few months when we can enjoy the balcony and making the most of those days is important to us. Besides, the balcony never disappoints.