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Sunday 30 June 2024

Blooms, birds and butterflies

It rained most of last week but we were out a few times between the raindrops. We had record rainfall, often with winds enough to deliver it horizontally. The most spectacular lightning storm accompanied the rain one night, lighting up the neighbourhood like mid-day.

Our peonies bloomed late the week before, so as usual, they didn’t do well with the wind and wet weather. Petals are beginning to cover the ground.

I did manage some photos when the weather was good, knowing what usually happens! Hope you like peonies!

We feed some neighbourhood crows late fall and winter but let them fend for themselves the remainder of the year. As a result, they haven’t been stopping by recently.

However, last week, some of the regulars dropped by with two of the young ones. These juveniles have red mouths and make unusual sounds, unlike the adults. 

We gave them some food and stayed nearby to get them accustomed to us. Two young ones have been back several days since. They wait around for a bit but we don’t feed them. It is good to see the family is healthy.

Meanwhile we continue to follow the Osprey at Blackbush on the webcam and their three young ones. The parents keep the chicks well supplied with fish and now that the little ones are more active in the nest, it looks like the adults are building up the sides of the nest with more twigs in an effort to keep them safe. Those Osprey are great parents!

Along the boardwalk one day, I stopped to photograph the blooms of a blackberry bush and out of nowhere, this Canadian Tiger Swallowtail landed and posed.

I usually chase butterflies without success so this one was a gift.

Another day, a White Admiral posed 

and this tiny Northern Crescent landed nearby at the same time.

I was doubly thrilled.

The wonders of summer from blooms, to birds and butterflies are a great diversion from the news. They kept us going this past week.

Sunday 23 June 2024

Land and sea

On a lupin quest this past week, early one day ahead of the smothering humidity, we headed around Bedeque Bay towards the Indian Head Lighthouse on the shore opposite Summerside. As we neared the south side of the bay, a Great Blue Heron flew across the road about five meters ahead and above the road. Such a sighting was a great start to the day.

Along the way, fishers and farmers were busy. In the bay, on the south side of Holman Island, oyster fishers grasped the shellfish between the teeth of the tongs they held over the side of the boat. 

On land, the first cut of hay was underway in one field but cows nearby weren’t ready for breakfast.

In another field, an elderly farmer used an old tractor in his field near the road. I missed that photo and on our way back, he had stopped the antique and left it in the field. Tractor without farmer isn’t quite the same.

However, lupins lined the red dirt road near the lighthouse. 

Our first look at the breakwater was one of surprise. Had the breakwater been damaged by storms, removing some of the huge rocks along its length? 

After the requisite lighthouse shots, I walked out the road to see the lupins. The sight of the blooms in this seaside setting, though high above the waterline, is a favourite of mine.

The pinks, blues and purples, the mixes of colour along with an occasional white, always make me smile. 

Overhead, Bank Swallows flew their usual erratic way catching insects. They are an important part of the aesthetic of this place.

Islands by their very nature are linked to both land and sea. Earlier in human history the sea was our only means of transportation to and from an island. The sea also provides food as does the land of course. The vistas before me on Prince Edward Island are a combination of land and sea which I have known all my life on my island homes.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Sunday 16 June 2024

June in bloom

Our morning routine has changed recently to accommodate the weather. It has been humid in the afternoons, so our walks are earlier in the morning when it is cooler. Life has moved to the patio for the summer too, many meals cooked on the barbecue and eaten on the deck. I love this time of year.

It is lupin time now. 

We have seen some along our usual pathways but lupins require a special visit to large patches we know in the area. We will visit the lupins soon. Daisies are present too with their beautiful faces smiling in the sun.

We usually arrive at the trail or boardwalk after eight a.m. and the early morning has attracted some of our favourite animals too. A Great Blue Heron likes fishing at that time 

and a female Mallard likes that hour as well.

Away from the marsh, young foxes enjoy the early morning, playing near the boardwalk.

It is green and shaded along the Rotary Trail though light makes it to the trail in places. 

The wind, usually present here, rustles the leaves, creating its own sound track. However, the birds add their voices too, Warblers I can’t identify and Blue Jays or Robins which I recognize.

A nice addition to nature this past week was the presence of tadpoles near the surface of a pond along the Rotary Trail. 

Hundreds of the larvae were visible just below the surface of the water.

We’ve checked in on the Bald Eagle pair recently too. One adult was in a nearby tree while a young one was visible in the nest.

On-line, we keep a watch on the pair of Osprey at Blackbush, Prince Edward Island, where two of the four eggs have hatched and the parents are busy feeding the two hungry chicks. The photo taken from the feed is blurred but worth a look.

On the home front, the tomatoes, peppers and cucumber plants are all transplanted and doing well but beans have yet to break ground. We look forward to the produce from our strip of earth.

It is a glorious time in nature!

Sunday 9 June 2024

Early June

We’ve had another week close to home working in the garden. Between trips to the garden centre, when weeding filled the day, sore muscles made the next day a chore. The vegetable plants will go in the garden this week.

On lists of healthy dietary must haves these days, kale often makes the cut. I planted kale last June and left it in the garden late fall. Well, fall became winter and those six kale plants weathered the worst Prince Edward Island could throw at them. This spring, when I expected mush where the plants were located, healthy plants greeted me. I swear, kale will be the last plant on earth after the apocalypse.

Garlic, planted late October, will be ready next month 

and rhubarb is plentiful, enough to share with friends. Rhubarb contributed to a great birthday cake recently.

In the flower bed, the nine bunches of peonies we are tending are in bud, waiting for a wind storm to bloom, at least that’s what always happens. They are our favourite blooms though they only last a few days every year.

Under the patio deck, a new generation of robins learned the sad truth about crows raiding nests in the area. The robins abandoned this beautiful nest after the crows ate their eggs.

When we did walk the boardwalk this past week, Dame’s Rockets had popped up along the shoreline. 

Ferns are unfurled now and are a welcome addition to the greenery. Chokecherry trees are in bloom and the trail is lined with them.

Meanwhile, a mama Red Squirrel was in a feeder, taking time to eat before returning to her babies.

It was a busy week but a lovely one in June.

Sunday 2 June 2024

A week around here

Family commitments kept us close to home this past week, so we kept our walking to the boardwalk. I finally finished spring cleaning and we bought the mulch we needed for the garden. My husband and I hope to get the work done outside this week. In between, there may be a picnic or two.

One day, the sun poked through the clouds to illuminate the far side of the lighthouse in Bedeque Bay. Cormorants were visible along the rocks and platform there.

The warblers have returned to Prince Edward Island and we saw a few this past week. Yellow Warblers serenaded walkers 

while this Yellow-rumped Warbler collected material for its nest.

The Black Duck grabbed our attention as it noisily made its way to the salt marsh. The other soon followed.

Great Blue Herons frequent the salt marsh. It looks like they can twist their long necks in a knot.

This male Mallard is without his mate now. She is probably on a nest these days while mister argues with the Black Ducks in the salt marsh. The fine pattern on the white feathers and the fluorescent colours on his head are evidence of nature’s artistry.

Muskrats, which were absent from the marsh last summer, have returned this spring. They are welcome additions!

In the woodland along the trail, Blue Jays find peanuts left by walkers 

before the chipmunks can get to the nutty treasures. 

In the field by the trail, this American Robin draws our attention due to the feathers on the front of its upper breast. 

Could this be the start of molting?

This Red Fox, photographed from a distance, proved it has beautiful teeth.

Finally, closer to home, these two male Northern Flickers landed on a backyard fence. 

The bird on the right mimicked the movement of the bird on the left. They stayed in the area for several minutes bobbing their heads and other movements, initiated by one and repeated by the other. 

The animals make any day more interesting.