Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My World Tuesday

I know, it's Wednesday!  But I was away on Tuesday, fabric shopping!  When the closest fabric store is 1-1/2 hours away, and the opportunity to get a ride up presents itself, fabric shopping takes precedent!!

The Ranger was exploring a block of Crown Land (government owned) on our little island last week, with the hopes of being able to recommend it as a protected area.  This parcel is not accessible to the general public, as it is surrounded by privately owned property.  Judging by the photos he returned with, I'd have to say it is most beautiful.

While he was wandering the coastline, he heard a most welcoming sound, and looking up, saw this magnificent creature!

He'd heard it spout,
 and said it was massive. 
 Not the typical Pilot Whale we often see in our local waters, 
we hit the books in an attempt to identify it by it's fin.  
The best we could figure is that it's a Fin Whale, but we aren't sure.  
It appeared to be all by itself.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meadow Walk

Savannah Sparrow
(Passerculus sandwichensis)

The Evil Stare

No matter where I went!

Ohhh, a baby!  No wonder!!

Remember a few posts ago, I put up a picture of a 
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)
in the treetop?

He was protecting a nest, as well.  And now there are three!

The Eastern races of both Willets and Savanah Sparrows nest in the grasses,
favoring wet meadows by the shore.
An interesting note about the Willets - the female departs
after 2 or 3 weeks, and the male becomes
responsible for the young.

My meadow abuts an old church, and these willets,
alarmed at my presence, sought refuge in the graveyard.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My World Tuesday

Fuller River, Cape Breton, NS

Finally, my first paddle of the season, 
and oh, didn't it feel wonderful!

Fuller River flows from the ocean to the most wonderful floating bog in the area.
Today we chose to paddle out to the ocean.

The tide was going out, so the paddling was easy 
(until it was time to return!).

There was a lovely little pond, but not much activity. 
 I could hear birds,
but was unfamiliar with their songs.

We beached our boats, grabbed our lunches, 

and climbed the headland.  
This view is showing what we just paddled.
See the lovely little pond?

This view shows what was on the other side!!  
Pretty amazing!

An old wooden lobster trap,
remnants of days gone by!

Street-side again.  This is where we went.
Only the willets and one Northern Flicker
graced us with an appearance.
But, this is a hot spot during fall migration!

That's My World!  Click here for other My World postings!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Common Yellowthroat Warbler

Common Yellowthroat Warbler
(Geothlypis trichas)

During a walk along the ocean this afternoon,
in the close vicinity of a bog and a barrachois,
I came across this handsome fellow. 
 he called out to me.

You'd think that if he wanted me to know he was there,
he could at least have stayed still long enough
for me to take a decent picture.
This is as good as it gets!

His black mask is called a 'domino' 
and he prefers swamps, marshes, and wet thickets 
from Canada to s. Mexico.

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delightful photos of Camera Critters!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My World Tuesday

Arichat Harbor
on a sunny afternoon.

Doing what I like to do best,
except this is more civilized than the usual
destinations, but handy.  

When I am out skimming the surface of the ocean, 
I have no sense of size.
I am just me, in my 17 foot long boat, working hard against the tide and wind, 
in awe of the surrounding beauty, listening to the song of the thrush, 
the cry of the angry osprey........

......but when I look out over the harbor from the road,
I realize just how small I was against the vast landscape.

It's powerful.

During autumn, 1776, Revolutionary giant John Paul Jones 
once navigated through this harbor 
while on a tour of the coast of Nova Scota 
reeking havoc against the British fleet, 
and burned the fishery that had been established here.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alder Flycatcher

It was with sheer delight that not only was I greeted by a temperate, mild, sunshiny morning,  but to sounds of "Re-veal, re-veal" coming from the meadow, announcing the arrival of...

...Yep!  My Alder Flycatcher, (Empidonax alnorum), and a quick referencing to last year's yard notes "reveals" that he's right on time, one of the later migrators.

According to Kenn Kaufman's Lives of North American Birds, "...many other kinds of songbirds have to learn their songs, but (Willow and) Alder flycatchers are born  instinctively knowing the voice of their own species."

He's only passing through, as he does each year, and I could track his breakfasting attempts across the meadow until he was out of earshot.  I was unable to photograph him, but last year he posed quite nicely for me.  And there's always the possibility he'll be back before he moves on.

It's not surprising to have an Alder Flycatcher in the vicinity, for they prefer to feast in the thickets of the alder and willows usually near the water and along brushy swamps, and guess what?  That's my world. And it offers him sustenance along his journey to a more remote, less disturbed habitat of similar vegetation.

True to its name, an Alder Flycatcher dines mostly on insects, but not exclusively flies!  An occasional spider and a berry or two round out a most superb diet.  They perch within the branches of tall shrubs and low trees and fly out to catch their prey in mid-air.  Kind of reminds me of Mr. Miyagi in older version of The Karate Kid, sitting at his table, trying to catch a fly with is chopsticks!  But I think the flycatcher has better success!

(A few hours later...oh, oh, oh!  He did return, giving me a few minutes of opportunity to watch him flitter through the canopy of the stand of willows by my back door through my binoculars, but no photo opp!  There's still hope!")

( Munutes later.....I felt like a cat in the window chattering at a bird I'm unable to pursue through the pane of glass!  So off I went for a stroll through the squishy, wet meadow.  I found my flycatcher, but he led me on an elusive chase.  Again, no pictures.  However, I watched a Willet land in a tree...

...took two blurry photos of a couple of Savannah Sparrows
(new to yard list!), 
and came across this beautiful Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

I overlooked many other treasures as I tried to keep the flycatcher within eye and earshot,
but couldn't help but admire my blueberries in progress!

Just a note:  If I wasn't familiar with a little birdtalk, I wouldn't 
know that half of my visitors were there.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend purchasing or accessing
an audio CD of bird song.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Eagle Encounter

Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephlus

It was the day before Hurricane Bill, August 18th of last year.
The calm before the storm.
I was battening down the hatches, preparing to slip my kayak
down the cellar stairs.
But the harbor was so calm and inviting, 
I decided to go for a quick paddle first.

I paddled around for about an hour, enjoying the serenity
that comes with being out on the water, so small
amid such a vast environment.

When returning across the harbor, I noticed some eagle activity
just around the bend from my house,
so thought I should paddle over to check it out.

There were 5 eagles.  FIVE!  Feeding on this large boulder.

Two juvies and 3 adults.  Upon my approach, one adult flew across
to the old causeway out to yet another island.

I often see him sitting out there in the early mornings.  
Even at a distance, his profile is pretty unmistakable.

Anyone watching me would have thought they were watching
an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos
because I was trying not to spook them,
but the tide was rushing in and directing my kayak the wrong way.
There I was, trying to manipulate the paddle as a rudder 
to keep to the left, my binoculars and camera around my neck,
and all tangled up as I was shooting one picture after another.
In all my excitement, I kept pushing buttons on the camera, so
I'd turn it off and on again and keep shooting.

They were flying in and out.  Once I thought one was 
going to fly right at me!

I didn't want any buildings in the background, no telephone wires,
only a natural background, but it was difficult to swing that boat around.

One by one they all flew away

Leaving that lone adult.  And he/she just sat there for the longest time
as I floated nearer and nearer,
shooting photo after photo,
until I didn't need to use my zoom at all.

I was so pumped!

Bill hit with a vengeance, but it wasn't quite as devastating as predicted,
and all was well.

I made some cards from that first photo. 

There are more Camera Critters HERE!