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Monday, 18 October 2021

Update

At this point, eleven days post bicycle accident, I have made some progress. Now I can slither my way out of bed without assistance which is great considering all the help I have needed this past ten days.


For the first four days post accident, all I did was sleep, though not well. I did little other than doze round the clock, from erect positions with head supported as much as possible.


I also lost my appetite. The soreness and pain masked my appetite and I had no desire to eat anything my husband offered or suggested. A mouthful was all I could manage. It is not much better today though improving a bit.


Meanwhile, fifth day post accident, I had cataract surgery. That surgery went well. The young doctor looked like he needed a permission slip from his parents to be away from school for the day. However all medical professionals look young to me these days.


There is a surgical unit specific to eye surgery on Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown and the facility is well used and maintained. We are fortunate to have such a facility and staff to operate it. While there is a wait time to have such surgery here, every citizen is eligible for treatment and it is free. One does not require insurance to access the service or have to come up with the money for such a procedure. Waiting time is a small price to pay for this treatment, in my opinion. 


The day I arrived at Emergency following the bike accident, I was seen quickly and efficiently. Had I needed further treatment, it would have been provided at no cost to me. Though it is not perfect, we are fortunate to have such a medical system in this country.


So the healing continues. Bruises are turning yellow, abdominal muscles are not quite as painful and eye drops are the order of the day. While I read blogs I am not commenting yet. However, keeping up to date with you my fellow bloggers. makes one aspect of life feel normal. I’ll be reading you soon.

Monday, 11 October 2021

Notes from the island

The Delta variant of the Covid 19 virus caused a fourth wave in Atlantic Canada. All four provinces have seen an increase in infections with New Brunswick the hardest hit. Here on Prince Edward Island, we have a 94% first vaccination rate and 87% fully vaccinated. Our province has a Vax Pass as well, issued when one is fully vaccinated, which allows entry to non-essential businesses and services.


Shortly after school began, an outbreak in several schools east of us, caused a few anxious weeks but Public Health managed the situation and quickly contained the outbreak. Cases now are related to travel. Masks are in use again though I continued to use them at the stores. Children in school above Grade 3 must use a mask all day now. A children’s vaccine, ages 5-11, will be welcome here.


In September, we met our first Blogger friends, David and Miriam Gascoigne. I follow David’s blog, https://travelswithbirds.blogspot.com/ and enjoy his expertise on feathered friends and Miriam’s photography. It was wonderful to spend some time with them. 


If you follow my blog regularly, you know my husband and I have picnics as we walk and ride the beaches and trails on the island. Of course we had a picnic with David and Miriam and enjoyed every minute with them on a lovely September day. Blogging expands your world via computer and meeting fellow bloggers is an added bonus. 


I had another accident on my bike. This time I fell off my bike on a trail through the National Park at Brackley. I am not sure what happened but I went down hard and went to Emergency at the local hospital to be checked out. After some tests and X-rays, I was diagnosed with a cracked rib. Bruising on my right side is bad and I am sore. It is the worst injury I have ever had. I didn’t realize how much I rely on my abdominal muscles until they became sore.


We were helped at the accident scene by a wonderful couple from Montreal who was vacationing on the island. Several other people stopped and offered assistance. People are kind.


In other medical news, I am having cataract surgery tomorrow. I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist in late September and he evaluated my need for surgery as urgent. There is a huge difference between the vision loss in my right and left eyes which affects my sight tremendously. The doctor told me it could be a wait of two to three months but there was a cancellation and they are fitting me in tomorrow. I look forward to this surgery and who knows, maybe it will reduce my bike accidents too.


See you all in a month or so. Take care.










Friday, 8 October 2021

Autumn on the trail

It’s a scene from a dystopian novel, a farmer’s field with a hedgerow where a gap with an invisible portal takes all who enter to another dimension. Of course, getting back to the present is the problem. My mind worked overtime as we rode the Confederation Trail recently from Emerald to Borden Carleton and back. The gap in a hedgerow in this area is large and it inspires me. I always stop near the “portal” for a few minutes and mentally write another chapter of the next great dystopian novel.





This section of trail is a favourite of my husband and I. Ponds near Kinkora have ducks again though the sunlight on this beautiful autumn day doesn’t allow for great photos. Ducks all but disappear when they moult but look to be in fine form again as far as we can see.





Autumn on the island means the apple trees are bearing fruit again. The trail has lots of apple trees but most of the apples are small. Such is not the case with these huge ones and it looks like those which were reachable have been picked.





Near Emerald, Sumacs are putting on their best autumn show. Some leaves are already flaming red and the berries are plentiful.





I haven’t heard of people picking the berries here but it is said they have a lemony taste without the tartness.





This past summer, the province opened sections of the trail to horseback riders. One such area is north of Kinkora where the trail has new signage. 





We passed several farms but nobody was out riding on the trail that day.


However that day, we discovered one way a horse scratches its back. We stopped to watch this horse and miniature pony 





when the mare lay down on the grass and rubbed her back around on the ground. We had never seen this before.





Not far from the horses, a view over the cornfield across to the hay bales was a pretty scene. The bales in autumn provide one of my favourite sights.





The Newfoundlander in me was shocked to see this Dogberry Tree, without leaves, loaded with berries, a mass of orange. You know what that means for winter this year!






Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Greats in the bay

We thought they’d left already. Great Blue Herons had been missing from the bay for a few days. Then, there they were, upwards of fifteen of them spread out along the bay by the boardwalk in Summerside.  Migration is in the air now as temperatures at night are in the single digits on occasion. My husband and I are happy to observe them at every opportunity.

 

Last month, we watched as one of the Greats caught its lunch as it stood near a sandbar. 





We didn’t know at the time, but it had caught a Sculpin. 





While humans don’t eat Sculpins, herons do. I watched the bird as it turned away from shore to eat the fish. 





Our most recent encounter was with 10-15 of the large birds on a day with a slight breeze. It was hard to keep count of them since they flew around the bay, checking out different areas in the falling tide.


My husband’s photo of four of the Greats with the blue background of a heavy overcast day was my favourite group photo of that day. 





Photos of the Greats in flight show the huge wing span. 





Photos of them landing show the feet reaching for the ground.





The S shaped neck is clearly defined in this photo. This bird looks powerful.





This group photo shows three stances which we commonly see among the birds.





Some of my favourite photos show the neck feathers. Those feathers look fluffy when they are dry.





Wet is a different story.





These birds deserve the word great for so many reasons!


Monday, 4 October 2021

Along the way

There have been some curiosities recently along the way as my husband and I explore Prince Edward Island. 


In keeping with the mask mandate which the province re-established two weeks ago after a mask- free summer for many, masks are back in every aspect of our lives again. While I never gave up on them, masks are even at the farm now.





Our daughter took this photo recently during a visit to an island farm. Look at that toothy grin! Gotta love that face!





On the Confederation Trail to Borden Carleton, this Seadoo was high and dry. How and why was it placed there?





At Skmaqn/Port la Joye/Fort Amherst National Park, a design on birch bark hung on a tree near a wigwam. Artists use whatever medium is available.





While we were at that park, a jet took off from the Charlottetown airport and passed overhead. A face in the bottom of the aircraft looked back at us.





Also at Skmaqn, a kayak was pulled ashore and hidden in the bushes. Someone was trusting of others, more than I would have been, though it was a quiet day with few people there.





Finally, along the Argyle Shore, a fishing boat beside a barn caught my attention. One of the things I love about Prince Edward Island is the combination of land and sea which influences life here. Perfect!






Thursday, 30 September 2021

At the neighbourhood bird bath


A flock of European Starlings lives in our neighbourhood. The flock regularly visits the lawns in the area. We hear their chattering through open windows from spring to fall. I quite like the sociable birds.





At the end of our street, which is a dead end, water always collects after the rain and is often slow to disappear. 





At different times, we have seen the neighbourhood birds, such as crows, robins, or sparrows, having a splash or a drink in that water. While we have seen a few starlings there on occasion, nothing matches what we saw last week.


It was a glorious late summer day, temperatures in the low 20s Celsius, with a breeze which was welcome. Late afternoon, as my husband was closing the blinds, he spotted them, dozens of starlings enjoying the water. 


I took photos through the window but they weren’t capturing the spectacle. 





From an outside balcony, I had a perfect view and captured the scene on video. Birds landed, flapped their wings to splash themselves and took off again.





Others landed and did the same. There were times they all disappeared into the trees and within minutes, the fun began again. 





You can see an six second video here.


When we looked at the photos, we were surprised to see a Blue Jay in the bath too. It wasn’t in the same bathing frenzy as the starlings however and the starlings ignored its presence. This bird was curious!





After five minutes, neighbourhood crows began to gather on the wires and rooftops watching the spectacle. 




The presence of the crows drove away the starlings. 





One lone starling went to the bath again but a crow landed nearby and the starling quickly exited. The smaller birds gathered in groups in nearby trees, 





on wires and on lawns as the crows staked their claim to the bath. 





Eventually, the starlings flew off.


The crows had exerted their ownership of the neighbourhood bird bath and the large flock of starlings acquiesced. In the avian world, we know which birds are at the top of the “pecking order”in our area. Crows raid robins’ nests in the area and they may do the same with the starlings. They are predators of smaller birds, not just territorial.


It was interesting to see the starlings at the neighbourhood bird bath. However, the dynamics of the flock, the relationship between the jay and starlings and the crows in relation to the starlings, make this simple experience a fascinating one. Nature has wonderful dynamics if we but take time to watch.


P. S.




I posted this photo earlier this week of geese flying into the harbour. Since young geese stay around their parents for the first year, chances are there are young geese in these formations. 


The v formation flying of geese is an important skill for the young birds since the flock will be travelling south in the next few months, covering large distances every day. The lead bird in the formation sets the pace. Each subsequent bird flies slightly above the bird before it, taking advantage of the lift of air from the wings of the bird ahead, thus decreasing wind resistance. When the lead bird tires, another replaces it. Birds communicate via honking as they go.


This photo is a snapshot in time. To help reduce wind resistance, the v formation would be in the direction of flight, in this case, from the bird on the top right. The birds could adjust positions to create the v in that direction. The snapshot captured a poor v formation.































Wednesday, 29 September 2021

The Argyle Shore

The Argyle Shore on the south coast of Prince Edward Island is an area we visit several times every year. A national park and provincial parks in the area are well worth visits in the autumn. Besides, we always purchase honey at a farm along the shore at Canoe Cove and it was time to stock up.





At Canoe Cove, it is high tide and there isn’t much beach left to walk. However we walked around the park and had a great view of the cliffs.





It was obvious nearby cottagers aren’t getting down to sea level any time soon.





The sea has been busy making a hole in this cliff 





while the Bank Swallows have abandoned the holes they made in the soil above. They may have to excavate new homes next spring if erosion destroys this area. That’s a tough chore for birds tired from their spring migration.





We continued along the Argyle Shore to Skmaqn/Port la Joye/Fort Amherst, a National historic site held by the Mi’kmaq, French and English over the centuries. We always have our picnic near the wigwam in the shade of the maple trees.





Autumn colour sometimes begins with a single leaf.





An opening through the trees 





allows a close-up of the RV Maria S Merian, a German ocean research vessel in port in Charlottetown.





Two red chairs down by the water are empty and invite us to sit and relax for a few minutes. 





The spires of St. Dunstan’s Church are prominent in the skyline of Charlottetown across the harbour. 





The Front and Rear Range Lights which helped navigation for so long continue to stand vigil.





An abundance of mushrooms line a trail through the area. Some people pick wild mushrooms although my husband and I have never done so. However, some of the fungi remind us of hamburger buns. 





Hmmm… hamburgers…


You never know what will come from an outing on the island.