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Friday, 23 June 2017

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers, especially sapsuckers love the old wood forest in Breadalbane. During our recent visit, we heard many bird calls, but the dominant bird sound was the tapping of woodpeckers


My husband and I stopped numerous times to look, trying to pinpoint the source of the tapping. On one occasion, there was activity inside a huge woodpecker hole and we waited, but to no avail. The bird was too busy to exit.


 


This old trunk, with its row of holes, was evidence of a yellow bellied sapsucker. 


 


I finally saw a yellow bellied sapsucker. 


 


He landed on a piece of plywood which was attached to a tree near one of the trail entries. 


 


He drilled at that sign, flew away and came back several times while I watched. I could imagine what he hoped to find in the old piece of plywood but how long would he continue without success? 


Later, I discovered that drilling on such structures by woodpeckers can be a way to mark territory. The sign was perfect for the bird's purposes as well. 


The more I observe and study birds, the more amazed I am by their intelligence and instincts. 




Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Country road

The road is deep in the red dirt.


 


My husband and I were here last October when the leaves were almost spent, the red and orange remnants falling around us as we passed. Today, the dominant colour is green as we walk with the golden grand-dog, Georgie.


 


The Millman Road is in the center of the island, a heritage road which cuts through farmland over rolling hills. The canopy was magical. 


 


The sound of the earth on this day is the wind in the trees while the sunlight dances on the road as it filters through them. It is a feast for the senses.


 


Blossoms are falling today, not leaves. Mountain ash, 


 


pin cherry, chokecherry 


 


and apple trees


 


are in mid to late bloom and in places, petals cover the road. By the side of the road, lupins are in bud or blooming.


 


The forest floor is covered with Wild Lily of the Valley and Bluebead Lily but the blossoms are miniature in this setting. 


 


Their leaves are the dominant feature of the forest floor.


 


Robins land on the road and hop ahead of us until Georgie decides to run towards them. She soon learns how senseless is that endeavour. Woodpeckers have had their way with the trees along the road, as evidenced by the many holes left in the old wood.


 


At the top of a hill, you can look out over the countryside, past the fields planted with various crops, including potato. The countryside below is bisected by the Southwest River which flows into New London Bay on the north shore.  


 


At the end of the road, someone has a garden whose beauty matches what nature provides on the remainder of the road. We walked slowly back to the car, absorbing the essence of the earth as a world of green.

 
 

Monday, 19 June 2017

After the storm

It rained buckets, the wind bent the trees and the temperature was unseasonably cold. It was one of those stay-in days unless you had to venture forth. We didn't.


The next morning it was sunny though chilly again. That sun alone was enough to tempt my husband and I to take our latest visitor, Georgie, the golden grand-dog and head out. 


 


We dressed for the cold.


Thunder Cove on the north shore was our destination. It is a pristine beach 


 


with a sandbar offshore, making the waves break a distance from the beach. Cliffs in the west and sand dunes in the east, give a variety of island beaches in one setting. Only a handful of people were on the beach though many of the cottages in the area were occupied.


Lunch was at cottage level overlooking the beach as we watched the lobster boats travel the Gulf of St Lawrence. 


 


The sound of the ocean filled the spaces in the conversation. Listening to the sounds of the planet was a welcome break from the clamour of world news.


This beach has a tea cup sea stack which we wanted to see again this year. However, high tide made that part of the beach inaccessible to us older folk. People with more courage and younger joints climbed the cliff to transverse the high tide mark.


 


We retreated but not before we had a closer look at the sea caves.


 


One might expect giant mice to peek out of the mouse hole-like erosions in the sandstone. 


 


Some holes were cave-like, big enough for a person to stand inside, bigger than last year as you can see.


 

                                                                              June 2017



 

                                                                              September 2016


On the east side of the beach, Morrison's Pond empties into the Gulf, crossing the beach. We could hear the sand along the banks of the stream falling into the water. 


Rather than cross the stream and get wet on this cold day, we left Thunder Cove to return on a warmer day at low tide.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Garden salad

Every year I change some of the vegetables I grow in the back yard. This year, the crop includes more salad greens 


 


and kale than past years. 


 


I have begun to harvest some of the greens. With a dressing of olive oil and flavoured vinegar, we have tasty salad five minutes after harvest.


I enjoy vegetable gardening. While flower beds are lovely, they don't have the same appeal for me as growing some of my own food. Knowing what's in and on the food is important. Saving money on groceries this time of year is important too. However, one of the best things about the backyard garden, is the benefit to the environment which comes when food is grown ten feet from the door and chemical free. I feel good about this food, it is tasty and healthy, too.


 


Pennies provide enough salad mix for family and friends for the summer. Salad anyone?


 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

In search of goslings

The two stayed close, never more than a few meters from each other. These geese were accustomed to people, watching but never retreating, which we found peculiar. We heard they had goslings at Cavendish Grove every year. My husband and I were determined to see them this year.


This was the scene on May 14, 2017 as the geese hung out on the left bank.


 


We visited again on May 19th and the geese swam around 


 


and later, watched us leave.


 


This was the scene yesterday, June 13th, when we visited Cavendish Grove again.


 

                                                            

Where are the geese and goslings? But, more importantly, where is the pond?

Monday, 12 June 2017

Unspoiled


In the Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island, my husband and I had a picnic in the shadow of the cemetery in Egmont Bay, a peaceful area overlooking the ocean. 


 


Afterwards, we walked the beach as we usually do, combining a walk with a new area to explore. We were not disappointed.


There are a few homes and cottages built back from the shoreline. As we walked east along the shore however, we approached an area without homes and cottages. There was an estuary where the Jacques River flows into an inlet of the Northumberland Strait. It was wild and unspoiled.


 


Spotted sandpipers were busy along the shoreline but scurried ahead of us down the beach. 


 


Ring-billed gulls stood in the receding tide as unidentified small fish came to the surface of the water nearby. The gulls munched on some of them as we watched.


 


A pair of osprey nested in the forest beyond the beach, alternately circling overhead and perching in the trees.


 


Along the shoreline, a willet, a large shorebird, had its mottled brown plumage, which announced it was breeding season.


 


A beaver pond, positioned between the beach and the forest was an interesting discovery when we looked over the bank. Again, the beavers were elusive.


 


Along the beach, at the mouth of the estuary, raccoon tracks elicited images of marauding raccoons at sunset, ready to snatch anything they encounter.


 


We paused along that shoreline to absorb the wilderness feel of the place.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Evangeline

We recently visited the Francophone area of Prince Edward Island, the Evangeline region, just west of Summerside. The area is home to Acadians, 


 


French speaking descendants of the original French settlers to the island, who survived the expulsion at the hands of the British from 1755-1764.


Headed to Evangeline, my husband and I stopped first at a nearby provincial park at Linkletter. Here, at high tide, walking on the tons of seaweed was akin to walking on sponge.


 


The Confederation Bridge is visible in the distance as is the Indian Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Summerside Harbour.


 


Further along the south shore, we dropped by the park at Union Corner where the bridge is visible again but appears as a mirage in the middle of Northumberland Strait.


 


The layers of sandstone in the shoreline here are thinner than any we've seen elsewhere. 


 


Nearby, the shoreline was lined with cottages, some of which were fortified against erosion.


 


The lobster fishery begins in the summer on the south shore so the wharves are not busy as they are on the north side. In Evangeline, boats are still high and dry, waiting their turn at the lobster. We did spot one retired boat, which had seen better days. 


 


A cultural center in Abram Village is the site of summer musical performances in the Acadian tradition. 


 


Those musicians on the Galerie walls will be joined by those inside playing Acadian music. And of course, there is the food!


Acadian festival


Further along the coast, in the community of Egmont Bay, a beaver was busy in the Jacques River which flows out of Arsenault's Pond.


 


She, like the other beavers we've seen on the island, was impossible to photograph, as she disappeared under water when we tried a closer look.


The Jacques River has a fish ladder which allows trout, salmon, smelts and Gaspereau to swim up-river. Both the river and the pond above are licensed for sport fishing. 


 


Gaspereau, the Acadian term for alewife, is a type of herring which swims from the ocean inland to spawn, as do smelts. The ladder makes it easier for the fish to get into the pond. 


We were familiar with fish ladders from our days living near the Exploits River in central Newfoundland. There, Atlantic salmon, much bigger fish than smelts and alewives, use the ladder at Grand Falls-Windsor to swim up-river. We didn't see any fish negotiating the ladder in Egmont Bay.


We enjoyed our exploration of part of Evangeline and will return soon.