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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Feathered friends

Over the past several years, my husband and I have taken great interest in feathered friends. Walking the trails and beaches of Prince Edward Island, the sights and sounds of these animals fill your senses if you but stop for a few moments. This past year, with the pandemic limiting our lives as it has, birds have helped us cope as we enjoy their behaviour, sounds and beauty at every opportunity. They have expanded our appreciation of nature in general and birds in particular.


This winter, a few Tree Sparrows have taken to visiting the boardwalk. 





The little birds pick up seeds on the ground by the bridge, blown there from those left for the animals by walkers. Prince Edward Island is the winter stopover for the little birds and they head north to breed as the snow melts. This is the first year my husband and I have seen these birds with their two toned beaks which is unusual, at least among the birds we know.


Some of our favourite winter friends are the woodpeckers, Downy and Hairy. They peck away at the trees along the boardwalk in the winter, but they also frequent the feeders and eat seed left along the bridge.





Most recently, the Hairy Woodpeckers were co-operative for a few photos.


On a recent visit to the Grand River, we saw a huge flock of Mallards, both male and female and a few American Black Ducks. 





They don’t react if a car slows in the area but if you park the car and walk, they swim or even fly away if you walk towards their area, even a distance away. Using the car as a blind was helpful this time. This would be a dangerous practice during tourist season when the roads are always busy.


A stream which flows under the boardwalk, flows into a saltwater marsh which at various times of the year floods and becomes a small pond. There are several Black Ducks which live and breed in this marsh. When everything freezes, the ducks move to open water at the head of the bay at Summerside, so we don’t see them for a few months. We were surprised to see a pair of the ducks, checking out the old stomping ground...uh, nesting marsh, one day recently. 





The harbour ice was breaking up and I imagine the birds dropped by to check out their warm weather home. I wonder what they thought as they looked out over the frozen marshland? Maybe the open sea ice will be enough to keep them in that area.


Periodically in winter, the noisy talk of American Crows fills the air around the boardwalk. During these lean times, the crows sometimes resort to taking peanuts left along the boardwalk. We enjoy watching and listening to the crows and this pair of birds sitting back to back along the harbour’s rafted ice was a curious sight.





These two sharing a branch made a nice silhouette too.




I caught a glimpse of a crow which has some white feathers. This is the best photo I could manage of one such bird near the boardwalk.





Finally, these two Bald Eagles were sitting around at Grand River, watching the proceedings.




They often hang out at the river and ignore the ducks who float and dive nearby. Their eagle eyes don’t miss much.




We are fortunate to be able to enjoy such beautiful animals as we go about our lives on this little island.




43 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

You always have a good appreciation of your surroundings. I like the silhouetted starlings.

Martha said...

Gorgeous photos Marie. My favorites are the cute little tree sparrow and the two crows sharing the branch. Birds are amazing little creatures!

DJan said...

I love seeing and hearing the birds around here, too. Thank you for the lovely pictures of your feathered friends. :-)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Bald Eagles are SO majestic!

Ginnie said...

You have reminded me, Marie, of how much I could get into bird-watching, if I found the right location to do so. I know there are several locations here in the Netherlands. How educational that would be.

Angel charls said...

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Elephant's Child said...

As you know, I also delight in birds. Thank you soooo much for sharing the photos of the feathered enchantment you see.

MARY G said...

You have some fine shots here. Like AC, I like the silhouette.

photowannabe said...

What magnificent birds Marie.
My favorite photo is the ice raft full of crows. Delightful and so different. Great capture.
Sweet sparrow with the ice crystals by him.
Love them all.
Sue

William Kendall said...

The eagles are my favourites of these. I've never seen a bald eagle in the wild.

bill burke said...

The Bald Eagle is looking rather majestic and proud as he surveys his territory. Watching the birds offer lots of entertainment and some interesting photos.

Rhodesia said...

The Bald Eagle looks vaguely similar to the African Fish Eagle but I bet the BE does not have the amazing call that the AFE has. Keep well Diane

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Terrific series of images, Marie from start to finish. With American Tree Sparrow and Bald Eagle you are certainly showing the size range! Some of those Mallards may wind up on the Bald Eagles' menu.

Helen said...

I've enjoyed seeing all these birds. Some we have here but never in such snowy conditions.
Interestingly, I was driving home from a friends late afternoon, yesterday. There was a whole row of crows perched on the electricity line across the road, surveying all who passed. Other birds do this but I've never seen crows before. A great photo opportunity if I had been walking.

Sandi said...

It is good to see at least nature is at peace.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Birds bring so much enjoyment . I am convinced that I need to go back to watching the birds more. My husband and did lots of that, but i have slacked a bit in this area.

Joanne Noragon said...

A lovely bird tour.

At Home In New Zealand said...

Being able to appreciate the beauty of wild life around us is, I think, the very best way to retain our sanity and restore our inner calm. Thanks for sharing your Island life with us :) xx

eileeninmd said...

Hello Marie,

Wonderful variety of bird sightings. The Bald Eagle is awesome, great photos.
Take care, have a happy day!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Beautiful photos. Birds here have been a great source of comfort as well.

Tanza Erlambang said...

Woodpecker is one of our favorite birds...the bird come to our backyard sometimes....lovely bird....

You are so lucky living in the nature friendly island.....

Thank you for sharing the beautiful wild life photos.....

PerthDailyPhoto said...

You are fortunate Marie and so are we, being able to admire your feathered friends through your eyes is a real treat. Happy weekend to you both.

Liz Hinds said...

What majestic eagles.

Do baby woodpeckers have little red caps? I saw two in the garden and checking in my book they seemed to be the only option.

Marie Smith said...

Dear Liz,

Among the Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers here, the ones with the red at the back of their heads are the males. The females lack the red markings. I guess it depends on what species of woodpeckers you have there.

Shari Burke said...

Wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing them!

Debbie said...

i have love birds and enjoyed bird watching my entire life!! you have captured some beautiful images and the bald eagle, wow, what a thrill!!

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Such lovely pictures of all the feathered friends in your neighborhood! We have a lot of the same feathered friends here as well. Great pictures of the eagle! They are such a majestic bird!

Anita said...

Wow such beautiful photoes!!

You are so lucky to see and capture photoes from especially the bald eagle!wow I have never seen a Bald eagle.

I see you have still snow..Here we are moving to spring..Someplaces no snow at all

Wish you a great weekend and thanx for sharing beauty with us

Debbie said...

many thanks for your kind comment today. the quality of the images - not so great but i remember taking those pictures and falling in love with the story. i think all moms can relate. have a wonderful weekend!!

Catarina said...

Bird watching is an excellent remedy for stress.

Rose said...

You sure did show a range of birds...always a good day when I see an eagle. I have enjoyed birds since before I started school...

John's Island said...

Hi Marie, Thanks for taking us along on your visit to the boardwalk. This being my seventh decade I'm now enjoying nature more than ever before. I appreciate your focus on nature. I always enjoy your bird photos. That tree sparrow (first picture) is more attractive than my usual mental image of a sparrow. Nice capture there! The two sharing a branch ... very nice. The crow with white tail feathers ... my curiosity sent me to Google where I found this ... "older crows are more often seen with white feathers." Hmmmm ... I hadn't considered that birds might be a bit like humans in that respect. Best regards from the other side of the continent. John

baili said...

"an eye that cannot stop seeing beauty in things around never get old" this was quote i heard somewhere few days back dear Marie and this is so true about your keen observant eye that always picks up beauty withered in everything around :) such a blessing!

i always LOVE what you share through images and words !

how great we too have same looking sparrow here
thank you for transforming my day !
b;essings!

Liz Hinds said...

We don't have downy and hairy. We have greater and lesser spotted and green woodpeckers. The green ones I see most often but the little birds with the red caps did have a black and spotted look about them.

Mage said...

and I appreciate every photograph you take of these birds.

Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

You are indeed fortunate to have such a variety of birds ... small ones and eagles. I love it.

The Liberty Belle said...

Ooh, I really like the silhouette photo! That tree sparrow is cute too. One thing about Covid-19, it's made quite a few of us take notice of nature and things around us. Have a richly blessed and beautiful week.

Glenda Beall said...

What wonderful shots of all those birds. Such a variety and all in the snow. Wish I had your ability to make those photographs. I feel like I made a visit to your island every time I read your blog.

Susie of Arabia said...

Birds aplenty! Those eagle shots are spectacular. It should start warming up there a little by now, no?

Susan Zarzycki said...

Oh, my, such lovely captures. I would love to see and photograph a bald eagle in the wild. I have seen them flying high up in the sky over Mom's house though and that gave me a thrill.I thought I had pictures I took of some at Cape May, N.J. years ago but I can't find them so it must have been wishful thinking.💖

Polly said...

Gorgeous images, especially the silhouette one.

Barbara said...

Isn't the Bald Eagle noble? I don't think I have ever seen one in person.

bill said...

My son and I went home to Newfoundland every year and started our vacation as soon as we left the driveway. One year we took his friend and when we got to Deer Lake my brother took them in helicopter and practiced landing on the pond , my other brother took them in boat in Tilton harbor . There was a iceberg in the harbor about 40 ft high and when we got too close for my nerves the iceberg shattered away to nothing , I took a piece of ice out of the water and put it in my glass of rum . Never told my wife!