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Sunday 30 July 2023

Blooms and birds

There is always a surprise along the boardwalk in Summerside. This past week, my husband and I found sunflowers in various stages of development, from immature buds to full flowers in the area of the salt marsh. They captured our attention!

The first one we saw was visible from the gazebo, our first stop of the day.

It’s shining face was turned to the east, greeting the morning sun. We couldn’t resist walking to the beach to have a closer look. Often, people will pick a sunflower which grows along the shore so it might not last long if the past predicts the future.

How did this bloom and the others which are in bud,

happen to grow along the shoreline? We suspect birds drop some sunflower seeds which walkers leave at the many feeders along the boardwalk. Another possibility in that some seeds drop into the stream and are deposited along the shoreline. Either way, the plants are a wonder of nature.

The younger plants have buds of various sizes which expand as they near blooming. The buds have so much potential for beauty. 

Further along the boardwalk, more wildflowers are beginning their brief and glorious days in the sun. Now goldenrod 

and Joe Pye weed are coming into blossom. 

In the scene below, the newcomers join roses, Queen Anne’s Lace and Sow Thistle. Nature is an amazing florist!

Lastly today, I want to share a brief video of the shorebirds which stop by the same place where the sunflowers bloom. You can see the video here.

These birds are on their way south after weeks spent nesting further north. They stop over in Prince Edward Island in preparation for the long flight to warmer climes for the winter. This day, the tiny birds resemble ants scurrying around in the seaweed.

It is a joy to watch them.

Sunday 23 July 2023

July along the boardwalk

It has been hot and humid, so my husband and I have been staying close to home. However, we walk early in the day, ahead of the worst of the heat and humidity. The boardwalk is our usual destination where we can often depend on a breeze to ease the effect of the heat and humidity. That breeze helps control the mosquitoes too.

The view from the gazebo is always our first stop, to look over the bay 

and across to the lighthouse.

The salt marsh changes with the wind and tides as rough waters wash inland during high tide. 

Shorebirds, such as Yellowlegs,

frequent the marsh but we happened upon a visit by a young Robin recently as well.

Every day, I photograph Song Sparrows along the boardwalk. Numerous tiny choristers sing to the heavens every day, oblivious to their human audience. I caught this tiny sparrow eyeing lunch as it flew by, hoping it would land on the tree.

At the bridge over the stream, a feeder is filled by walkers every day.

Recently a young squirrel was reluctant to share the food with birds and other squirrels who came by. It didn’t mind scolding them either.

This time of year, we always notice the wildflowers along the way. As children, my husband and I spent long summer days playing outdoors in different parts of Newfoundland. Seeing the seed pods on the Vetch plant reminded my husband how he and his friends ate those pods every summer. They are healthy and nutritious when the pods are newly formed. The kids didn’t care about that of course. 

Recently at low tide in the bay, a man dug clams along the sand bars as walkers watched him collect his supper. 

The border between the boardwalk and the sea is filled with a sequence of blooms every summer. I love the scenes with the sea as the background to the wildflowers. 

The floral border outlines land and sea.

Finally, even the crows are finding it hot these days. The four we had in our area have become six with the addition of two young ones. They have spent time on our patio railing with their heads back and mouths open but they don’t make a sound. It looks like the equivalent of a dog panting but we are uncertain what the behaviour means. 

All creatures are finding it hot this summer.

Monday 17 July 2023

Memorial Square

I’ve been to this square numerous times with our granddaughters in the autumn. Their dance classes are across the road from Memorial Square and I’ve often spent time in the square with one of the girls as we waited for a class to start or finish. Recently, driving by, I noticed the water lilies in the pond there and decided to take some photos. 

This square is in the heart of Summerside, an older part of the city, a block from city hall and the library. The United Church borders the square and other churches are nearby.  

It is a place of beauty in the summer with a water feature which includes a waterfall and a small pond with water lilies. 

The area is peaceful, a lush green with blooms of various kinds.

It is a memorial to the residents of Summerside who lost their lives at war. A short distance away, a statue stands over the landscape. 

The blooms of the water lilies are like stars come to earth in this special place. They shine in their own special way.

Their colours range from rose to pink, yellow to orange and white. 

They are numerous in the pond, capturing one’s attention as you approach the feature. 

I sit in the quiet and watch as the setting fills my senses. The trickle of the waterfall is joined by the sounds of birds in the trees while the wind gently stirs the leaves. Small children laugh as they quickly run through the square while a senior with a cane takes her time as she goes.

An early July morning in Memorial Square is a reminder what others fought and died for, what Ukrainians are fighting for today. Is peace in this world an illusion?


Sunday 9 July 2023

Through the open door

For a few glorious days every summer, the peonies bloom in the front yard. A few days without strong winds and rain mean we can enjoy the blooms, soaking up their beauty for another year.

A flower such as this, 

opens the last of its petals to reveal its inner loveliness.

Another variety of pink has a much fuller bloom, more to enjoy. 

A hint of pink and a variety of petals give depth to these blooms.

These pink buds 

open to be the size of dinner plates.

The beauty of this blossom 

or the miniature blooms of an astilbe nearby, are eye catching in their whiteness.

The red ones are relatively small 

when they burst open but expand to greet the world for a few short days.

In July, the blooms take over the garden and make us smile.

Meanwhile, a new resident has settled into the neighbourhood 

and has been drinking from the local watering hole. 

This young fox spent some time there this past week and provided an opportunity for some photos from the balcony.

It is a beauty, with its red fur and black boots. It paused several minutes at the water, probably watching its reflection. 

Sometimes one merely has to open the door.


Sunday 2 July 2023

A walk with friends

The Heritage Roads of Prince Edward Island were cut into the red soil at least a century ago. The Millman Road in the centre of the island is one such road which we visit occasionally to take in the beauty of the season.

We walked that road this past week with some friends who are on the island visiting family.

The Millman Road is in a part of the island which has rolling hills. The old road doesn’t have any homesteads these days but the fields are still planted in rotation every year. This undulating field of corn is just sprouted and within three months stalks of corn will be taller than we are. 

As we walked, the wind in the trees provided music to our ears. That wind kept the mosquitoes at bay so days with a breeze are great days to explore such areas. Birds sang in the trees and while it was hard to see them high in the canopy, sometimes one is lucky enough to see one of the songsters, like this Black-capped Chickadee.

As we turned around to walk back, the fields around the Southwest River stretched before us. 

The ditches along the road were full of blooms, among them the showy lupins which have beautiful variation in colour in that area. 

I am uncertain as to identity of the tall plant with the delicate pink blooms growing with the lupins. 

We continued on to the park at Cabot Beach where we had a leisurely lunch with our friends. However, it rained before we could explore the beach together. We will get together again later this week.

Finally today, I want to introduce you to one of our animal friends along the boardwalk. We first saw this squirrel late last autumn when it was eating at one of the bird feeders. It had the shortest tail we had ever seen on a Red Squirrel, so we called it Bob. 

Over the next several months, we saw Bob regularly. Then it vanished and we feared Bob had fallen victim to a predator.

                                                      Unlike Bob, this squirrel has a normal tail.

Much to our surprise, last month, a squirrel with an unusual tail appeared on another section of the boardwalk. We suspect it is Bob, with a lengthened tail. However, the tip of its tail has grown fur which looks different from other squirrels. Could this be Bob?

We like to think so!