Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wild and not so wild things

I'm home from a visit to Goderich where my parents live and where some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world happen over Lake Huron. I was to have had a busy visit with lots of family around and a shower for my niece but I had to cancel that trip and rebook -- summer colds, don't you just hate them! The visit I did have was quieter, busy enough of course with a beach day, shopping, breakfast out, gorgeous sunset watching, a visit to say hello to my sister, Bernadette at the pier: a tender, sweet, happy visit with long serious talks, old family stories and some good laughs. Here's a picture of my parents, married 64 years in June:

Home now to begin to eat from our garden -- finally. We've had tons of lettuce, gone to seed while I was away, but because we had so little rain, everything else held back. Cape Breton has been wonderfully hot and dry, a great combination for summer fun, but not entirely good for a garden. This week we've had real rain and the garden is taking off. Here's supper last night, raw & cooked, with  a thanks to Alan Kitz for the amazing venison chops:

Here are my fat sandy feet taking a break at St. Christopher's Beach.

And finally, here's my sister, Anne, who I stayed with my  last day, with one of her amazing planters -- Ontario is not having a hot summer but a cool, wet one, obviously good for flowers! And lastly you'll see a pic of the squirrel that visits under Anne & Peter's bird feeder.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Alaska brown bear feeding on salmon

Just to keep the nature theme going -- wild in Alaska once again -- here's a quite wonderful Explore brown bear cam situated on a river waterfall in Alaska:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Snowy owl nest, Barrow Alaska

And for a change of scene, check out the snowy owl nest, also on Explore, in Barrow, Alaska.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Atlantic puffin cam: a chick has hatched

A fuzzy, cute baby puffin has been born and you can watch it on the puffin burrow cam shown below.

Here's a little puffin info from the Explore site:

Atlantic Puffins spend most of their time at sea — coming to land each spring to breed in colonies on northern seacoasts and rocky islands, like Seal Island in Maine, home to the puffins visible on our live cam. These colorful pigeon-sized birds lay one egg in their burrow homes, with the male and female sharing incubation duties for approximately 39-43 days. After the chick hatches both parents feed it fish for approximately 45 days. After that the “puffling” is large enough to fledge (leave the nest.)

Puffins are excellent swimmers, using their wings to essentially ‘fly’ underwater while using their feet as rudders. They eat a variety of small fish including herring, hake, capelin and sand lance. Puffins do not come to land outside of the breeding season, flying, swimming or riding the ocean surface throughout the year regardless of weather. The Atlantic Puffin is the only species of puffin found on the Atlantic coast. The three other species of puffin are found only in the Pacific.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cape Breton wild things #2: a Puffin tour

Bald eagle with fish

Yesterday was the perfect day to be a tourist in my own neighbourhood. My friend, Sarah Beck (Wildfire Pottery & Books) has her mother Joan visiting and Joan wanted to see puffins, so Sarah arranged for four of us to go out on Donelda's Puffin Boat Tour.

Donelda & John's boat

Sarah &  Joan birdwatching

For our tour, the boat left Englishtown wharf at 10:30 on a gently rippling sea (thank goodness!) under blue skies. Donelda's husband John, a fishing boat captain with many years at sea, drove while Donelda filled us in on area history and showed us photos of the birds we'd be likely to see so that we'd recognize them when we got out to the Bird Islands -- Ciboux and Hertford -- where in the spring a variety of gulls, cormorants, sea birds and herons come to nest. The cutest and smallest of the nesting birds is a sea bird, the puffin, who only comes to land when it is laying eggs and raising its babies. 

On the way out and back, Donelda's eagle friends came for a fish snack she threw into the water for them-- as you can see in the photo above and below. They'd circle the boat then swoop down to grab the fish in their talons, then head off to their nests. 

We got to see all the birds Donelda promised and she was a grand guide, pointing out birds in the water, watching the cliffs for  nests, describing behavoiur, and telling us stories of the islands.  (a complete list of birds can be found on Donelda's website -- see above) On our ride home, she told us about her other job as a lobster fisher -- she arrived at the wharf to take us out on a lobster boat -- and about the life of a lobster which was worth the price of the ticket itself. 

To finish off the day, we headed to Morris Leif's fish and chip stand, Captain Caper's, in Englishtown just down the road from the wharf and had a lovely outdoor lunch.

If you're interested in puffins, here's a wonderful puffin nest webcam site: 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wild things in Cape Breton

warbler feathers

A damp morning walk with Honey, wild things -- cherry, honeysuckle & strawberry blossoms -- beaded with moisture. It is spring at last.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New beds: Cape Breton on a foggy spring morning

The gardening kind, not the sleeping kind of beds, though my asparagus is still asleep so I suppose plants rest in them, but the garlic I planted last fall is up and seems happy. Andy built the new beds for me because the wood in our old beds burst from the weight of ice and snow this winter & spring. Now the garden looks fresh, ready for another ten years of vegetables and flowers. 

A few other fresh things: click on pictures to enlarge them

Bunny's memorial daffodils and her bench that looks out to the foggy sea.

Mayflowers along the walking path.

Ferns, a la Alien.

Emerging ferns.