Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Red Winged Blackbird’


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So Tuesday was slightly overcast and I went for a little walk to Swan Lake .. only for 1 ½ hours !!  I just had to go and see the new structure by the Nature House, with the green roof.   It is just beautiful and planted with native grasses, plants and flowers.  I look forward to seeing the changes over the coming seasons, as the garden grows and grows.

Listened to the cries of the male Red Winged Blackbirds as they called out, marking their territory or calling to their mates?  Heard the songs of the Marsh Wrens.  The territorial honking of the Canada Geese.   Didn’t see many Mallards though .. perhaps they were all in the side marshes.

Saw one of the local eagles soaring .. nearby was a seagull, both seemed to be sailing along on the same air currents.  The eagle wasn’t hungry, so the gull was safe.  Later on .. I noticed some crows playing around with the eagle .. and the eagle just ignored them and flew farther afield.

Not many people out walking when I was there .. just a few joggers, birders out on the trails.

Talked to one of the Sanctuary employees about the markings on the Mallards .. turns out that each one does have a different look about them.  The older ducks have longer back feathers.  There are slight differences in eye markings and colouration.  The green billed Drake is a bit unusual and might be the result of some breeding with another type of duck.  So now I will start to pay attention to the differences.  I do note that some of the females have darker feather markings.

Lovely relaxing walk!

Then, back home, outside, busy reshaping the veggie garden .. an easy thing to do, since I use rocks and bricks as borders.   Room for change .. which is a great thing for the garden.

Still feel so terrible about the Scotts Miracle Gro birdseed .. and awaiting a response to the e-mail that I sent yesterday.  I’ll go to the supermarket to fetch more fat for the feeders.

Sat down for a while to leaf through my birding books, seeking recipes for our birds.  I have most of the supplies in the cupboard so will make some for the fall.  Right now there are plenty of insects for the birds to munch on .. and I still have sunflower seeds for them.

Felt wonderful to be outside.   I’m trying to decide where to place my many propagated plants.  Think that I might change the shape of the veggie garden and then re-arrange the plants in a nice tidy fashion.

The branches are starting to green up with new leafy growth and soon the yard will be nicely framed with greenery.  The Silver Lace Vine (aka “mile a  minute”) is living up to its name and there is new growth on the old woody stems and now is the time to train them to grow along the top of the fence.  They have a tendency to grow up the plum trees . .so I’ve caught them in time.

I’m trying to pot up the comfrey so that it won’t grow wild in the yard.  There is a type of comfrey that doesn’t spread, Bocking 14, a Russian cultivar .. so I’ll be looking out for this one.  The comfrey that is in our yard (all over the yard!!) originated from just a few plants that I obtained many, many years ago.   The bees love the flowers (which unfurl a few at a time) and the leaves are good for the compost, so it really is a good plant.  I just don’t want it growing all over, as they get to be quite large.

Replanted the two large currant plants .. there is a lot of new growth on these.  And still digging out raspberry canes to form a raspberry bed.   These canes originated from just a few canes given to me by a co-worker, many years ago.   And I’ve given away the volunteers for years and they keep on growing.  Good thing, as they produce massive amounts of berries!

This year I’m also training blackberries along the fence, nice and neat.  What tastes more delicious than ripe berries, warmed by the summer sun?  I’ve dug up tons of these berries from the yard and finally decided to keep some of them.  Why fight them, they will be a nice addition on the fence, no harm.

Well, the day is marching on and I’m eager to get outside.

🙂

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Friday, February 24, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thursday was a mixed bag of weather .. .sunshine .. clouds.

After morning chores completed, decided to go for a brief walk … which lasted about two hours!  Started out towards Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary .. .it’s been awhile since my feet walked along those trails.

Pure bliss to be there …. seeing the new spring growth of leaves on trees and bushes as all plant life prepares for a new season.  Listening to the breeze rustling the dry marsh grasses .. music to my ears.  Stopped to look at the slim thread of water trickling through the mix of dried and emerging stems of grasses.

Not many birds out when I was there.  Thought back to my lucky encounters a few weeks ago .. when I saw my first Cedar Waxwings and then the Northern Shovellers … such beautiful winged beings.

Saw .. and heard .. some Marsh wrens calling out.  And some Red Winged Blackbirds singing away.  At the smaller observatory I chanced upon some Mallards .. they were very cautious though .. and I understood why later on.

I pulled out a bag of flatted oats and scattered them onto the surface of the lake … one little Mallard swam over.   Followed by a female .. then more and more and finally there were about 10.   Scattered more oats on the surface boards and them some on the side marsh ..

Continued on my walk.  Noticed new signage showing the latest improvements to the Sanctuary .. growing specific plants/trees to attract a wider variety of birds and animals.

Looked way up and sure enough .. at the top of the flat-topped tree . .there was one of the resident eagles.  They’ve been favouring this tree since for years now .. I used to spend so much time watching them over the years . .even lucky enough to see part of their mating ritual.  I was in the backyard and just happened to look up to see them, talons intertwined as they tumbled through the sky .. remember to look up .. .there is so much going on.

Well, this year they have attained the mark of maturity, with their white heads and tail feathers .. wonder if they will nest in that tree?

Anyway, their presence explains the absence of bird activity.

Time to visit Orr’s Butchers for more of Farmer Ben’s eggs … and then some grocery shopping.   And then .. the long walk homewards with a heavy Thrifty’s shopping bag.  I decided to ignore the hefty weight .. I’d soon be home!

Returned via the Sanctuary .. one more opportunity to walk in nature … all birds, ducks are well hidden away.

As I made my way home .. enjoying the beauty of the day .. kept looking up to the sky .. but no aerial activity.  And .. soon I was home .. groceries put away.  Kitties fed.  Ole Toshiba turned on … spent a few hours lost in the worlds of gardening and re-trying the online quizzes of Gaia.

Then I allowed myself to enjoy the wonderful world of gardening outside .. sheer bliss.  And a bit sad, also.  My gardening world has turned all topsy-turvy with the new learning.  As I stood and looked at my leaf mulch pile .. I thought of how my focus has changed.

Where once I truly believed that oak leaves were the be-all and end-all of gardening .. now I realize that, although they do serve well as mulch to retain water for landscaping purposes .. they are not the cure-all that I thought they were.  That because the centre of a pile gets to be “smoking hot” .. that feature isn’t conducive to supporting healthy microbes in the soil.

I quickly fill containers with the mulch and sidedress the trees and plants along the fence .. this does dress up the areas.  Just a few months ago I was saddened at the thought of not having enough .. now I just want to disperse it all around the yard.

It’s not that it’s a bad thing .. just not quite the thing for my veggie garden.

Worked away, not conscious of time .. till DH arrives home .. and surprises me with a mug of Yorkshire Tea!  Yea, time for a Sudoku break and a quick look through some stone landscaping books (treasures from the “Friends of the Library” book sale.

Enjoy the brief break and then .. ta da .. back to the garden.  More shovelling, moving, planning, dreaming.

Another lovely day ….

🙂

Read Full Post »


Friday, February 10, 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  Thursday morning was a little overcast .. I decided to walk over to Borden Mercantile to pick up some rock dust for our class on composting, to take place on Saturday.

That way, I could multi-task by: 

– getting a few good hours of walking exercise

– look for the Northern Shoveller

– look for the eagles

– look for any other birds

– fetch the rock dust (for Saturday’s compost class)

– just enjoy being outside in the lovely outdoors

Thus I found myself walking along the trails at the Sanctuary.  Along the way I saw some Spotted Towhees … such striking birds!  Not too many Robins were seen when I was there.

Still looking for the Cedar Waxwings that I saw last week. What a gift that was .. to see these gentle birds.

Walking along the short observatory .. .not a duck was to be seen.  Only a little wren, who was intent on digging away at some treasured seeds that were tucked away in the spaces between the boards that comprised the walkway.   I stopped in my steps while this little bird sought the treasures.  

When the bird was finished feasting and had flown away .. I continued my walk along the observatory.  Strangely quiet .. yet I couldn’t see any predators.  But they could have been well hidden.  Birds know when the predators are about.

 Happy to hear the trill of the Red Winged Blackbird … as he sat high atop a nearby tree .. trying to communicate with others of his species.

As I reached the pathway that connected to the asphalt section of the Galloping Goose .. I looked up to the flat-topped tree on Saanich Road.  That’s where I first saw the young pair of immature eagles years ago.    Now that they are more mature, sporting the distinctive white feathered head and tail feathers …they still favour this same tree.

So on Thursday morning on my walk, I noticed that one of them was sitting on a nearby oak tree.  And there I saw one of them.   Feathers slick with rain.  Fierce eyes scanning the meadows and fields of Swan Lake  below … looking for any activity that would entice them to soar down.

Such noble and magnificent beings. 

I continued on my walk along the Galloping Goose, quite quiet at this early morning time .. before the coffee breaks and lunchtime joggers had started to populate the scene.  Relishing the quiet.   Appreciating the many years it had taken me to reach this point.

Finally reached Borden Mercantile and purchased some volcanic rock dust and some kelp particles for our upcoming Saturday session, to build a composter.  Plus myself an a few others will be building some work composters.   I’ll take pictures.

Retracing my steps, I again appreciated the peacefulness of the Galloping Goose trail at this time of the morning.   Not very busy.

Couldn’t help but notice the nests from last year … clearly seen in the absence of vegetation.   And can’t help but appreciate the positivity of nest-building birds.   They just get on with it.

Once I’d approached the wooden section of the Goose, I was nearer the oak tree and saw the eagle’s mate approach ..and land .. on the oak tree.  So there the couple sat .. regally perched …silent communication … surveying the meadows below.

Humbled by the sight of this example of pure nature, I resumed my walk…. happily taking the muddy pathway of the Sanctuary .. in lieu of the asphalt walkway “up above”.

And continued home .. where I combined housework with studying.   Nerve wracking work on my assignment. sigh.  more later.

Thursday was, to say the least, “quite the day”.

🙂

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: