Oceans of thought

We're so very fortunate to live beside a river, and it shapes my view of the world continually as it informs me about the land I walk upon and the air that I breathe. But nothing compares to being beside an ocean. Nothing. Every wave brings something new, and on our recent holiday, I was told that there are about 10,000 waves a day along the Atlantic coast. 10,000! Imagine having to cope with that as you go about your daily life, trying to keep safe, or warm, or fed.

How each creature adapts, to me, is truly miraculous. The little ghost crab is a case in point.

As is the Sand Crab...who not only looks like sand, but lives within...digging a home sometimes as much as 4 feet from the surface hole...and don't forget about the 10,000 waves he has to fight continually. They're feisty little critters, and as I walked along the beach,there were 100's skittering sideways away from me...

Will it, or won't it, get eaten by a Willet?

These are the kinds of thoughts that can entertain me for hours...wet, watery, windswept thoughts that clear my mind of stuff that 's grown old and moldy and is no longer important.


A Fish Story.

Ah, holidays are great! Here I am enjoying the fantastic weather and the absolutely beautiful beach on Assateague...part of the Barrier Islands of Virginia. Sun, surf, and sand...and hey, check out the guy sitting in the beach chair behind me...

He is definitely into the R&R zone...cooler at hand, sunscreen (I hope) and he's not really nodding off, he's actually fishing! Who knew how relaxing a sport it could be! In fact, he has three lines on the go...and while there were several other fishermen on the beach, buddy seemed to be the only one catching anything.
As I watched, he reeled in a small Sand Shark. For someone from the Ottawa Valley, who thinks fishing is about small mouth bass, this is a BIG DEAL! Even bigger deal was the way in which he deftly reeled in the shark, quickly unhooked it, and threw it back into the water. I liked that.

Then, a few minutes later, his reel started to bend in that way that means "get over here, now!" So, of course being nosy tourists, we did. One guy must have said something especially nice, because all of a sudden, HE was the one reeling in the big one, while Mr. Catchanrelease watched and coached. See? Fishing is easy! It took about fifteen minutes of effort, and finally, what to our wondering eyes should appear?

A Stingray!! A large, lethal one that is closely related to the one that killed everyone's favourite crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin! And Mr. Catchanrelease just smiled, lifted its tail and pointed out the deadly spurs to the witless woman watching with mouth wide open. (Me).

And then, he did something even more amazing! He rolled the stingray onto its back and began to rub its belly, and talk softly to it while the guy who landed it gently removed the hook. OMG.

And THEN, he took the time to show it to a little toddler before he carefully moved it back into the surf, free once more to tell the whole school of stingrays about the adventure on the beach it had just had!

The guy who brought the beast in loudly proclaimed that landing it successfully had been better than sex!

And I decided I was in love. With fishing.

And if you happen to be Mr. Catchenrelease in this photo...thanks, it was great! TTFN


From Dawn 'til Dusk

The eastern shore of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia is an amazing place to visit...steeped in history that extends back to the edge of time as we understand it, waning and waxing in prosperity as the tides of Chesapeake Bay ebb and flow. The light at this time of year is diffused with softness, as summer draws to an end, and autumn begins to glow.

The morning sky over Rehoboth Beach draws me down to the water.

And I'm still there ten hours later, to see the sun set over Chesapeake Bay, as the beach which is softly cloaked in a pastel wash gradually turns to molten bronze.

A time and a place when it is right to use epic words like grandeur and magnificent and inspiring.


Delmarva Land

That's what Joe the volunteer at the Cape Charles Visitor Centre called it..Del(aware)mar(yland)v(irgini)a...the string of barrier islands that we were about to leave. Picture the eastern outer shore of Chesapeake Bay. That 's where we were today..finding the gorgeous hazy, hot and humid weather that never did seem to find us this past summer in the Ottawa Valley .
So, this trip thus far has been about finding things. And so far, so good. As well as some amazing food - crab, clam, flounder, and full -the birds have been fun too.

Like this Great Blue Heron...seeking the source of the ticking noise...

Or this Boat Tailed Grackle, seeking what lies beneath...

and then there's the Great White Herons seeking, and finding, their family tree...

The best thing about travelling, for me, is the anticipation of what I'll find next that will cause me to think, laugh out loud, cry or cringe. But mostly, just appreciate for being.


The Teddy Bear's Picnic

Our good friends, Joan and Eli, are excellent cooks and therefore, by default, excellent hosts too! Everyone I know loves getting an invitation to their beachfront home. Feral cats hang around the patio doors, waiting for tasty little morsels to be cast their way, so it was no big surprise when this "little" fellow came looking for the source of all the delicious scents wafting over his neck of the woods behind their home!
Definitely not Little Red Riding Hood!

Seeing the big Black Bear looking through the windows to see what was cooking, Eli dropped his spatula and quickly called the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources. They are very resourceful indeed, and know just what to do when B.B. king comes calling ...

Sensing he may be in a little bit of trouble, B.B. headed up... (By the way, this is a great shot, and a great time to say that Eli and Joan took these pictures with their cellphones! Amazing!)

And we all know that what comes up, must come down. Fear not fellow nature bloggers, it's a dart gun,
and, two darts later B.B. was in dreamland.

When he awakes, he will be about 50 km north of the deck, in the midst of the forest and free to forage without harm to himself or the humans who cared enough to call the bear busters.

There are lots of reports of Black Bears on Allumette Island this year, and we who live here are happy about that, and about this ending!


Fitting in.

We all do it, though some better than others. Whether it's wearing the latest clothing dictated as "in" by the fashionistas, eating the latest food fad, playing the latest game...you name it, we're doing it. Trying to fit in - not to stand out in the crowd, but to be the crowd. We want to be like everyone else in the tribe, because to be different puts us at risk of being noticed. And if we're noticed, who knows what will happen next?Might be seen by someone or something that doesn't have our best interests at heart. Better to blend is Nature's primary dictate.

This little American Goldfinch looks pretty much like the sulphur yellow leaves of the birch tree it's perching on...a blink of a leaf against a perfect blue sky.

And the Great Blue Heron slowly weaves through the reeds, seeking to blend with the long slender stalks as it stalks its dinner.

His slate gray body matches the water below, and the sky above, a ghostly apparition that's only sensed. And by then, it's likely too late.



It happens every year - that first glimpse of brilliant crimson that always manages to surprise me. There is so much emotion packed into that heartbreak red. Summer regrets, time passing, winter coming.
There are so many cliches about fall - and they are all true. It is a time of reflection, of gathering our rosebuds while we may, of discovering silver threads among the gold. Carpe diem.


Bawh! Hmmmm, Bug!

Today in the Ottawa Valley, you couldn't help but be outside, enjoying the spectacular weather...sunny, clear blue skies, with just a wee hint of fall in the air so that a cotton sweater felt okay.
And off into the world we went to see what we could see....
Crap! First up, a sulphur yellow and black spider, sittin', waitin'....I'm not a spider lover, but I do appreciate them as long as I'm in control of where they are.In this case, just hanging around on the stair railing of a friend's deck. I can look, and he (perhaps she?) can't touch. So we're good.

I continued on my merry little way, and lord knows how I ever happened to notice this fuzzy little critter...again, suphur yellow, with black and white horns, about 1 1/2 inches long and cute as a bug's, er, ear!

It's a bit fuzzy (the picture I mean) but perhaps it's a swallowtail? Time for me to go back to grade 5 I think. I used to teach it for a year or two..now I can't remember anything, and so, no, I'm not smarter than a fifth grader! I do remember pupa, chrysalis, caterpillar, and butterfly stages, but isn't it a little late in the year (September 13th) to be turning into a butterfly or chrsyalis or anything?

While pondering this deep thought, I looked down on my leg -because the two women I was wandering around with were screaming "Oh, my god! Look! I haven't seen one of these in ages and ages!" Look at your leg! So I did...Speechless ( for about a minute) because I hadn't see a Praying Mantis for about 10 years, and never, ever have I had one crawling up my leg to say "Hello, I think I'll eat you!"

So, we moved her off my leg, and introduced her to a teeny martini before letting her loose to meet her sole mate...

Final bug of the blog today was this bee dahlia, just chowing down, barely moving, and humming a happy song...as were we!

I really should have paid a lot more attention in grade five..both taking it and teaching it.


Skywatch Friday

My first look out the window this morning...
The early morning sun just beginning to get her bearings.

September is drifting in with the morning mist.

A collection of colours and codes long established.

I love mornings like this.


Kodak Moments

A new camera is pretty much an open invitation to take pictures of any and everything in sight, play with all of the crazy settings and generally, lose your focus! This is, after all, a blog that is supposed to mention birds from time to time. But, peaches , log homes, sunflowers, Lola and Vera, and eggplants have pretty much taken over of late!
Time to remedy that!
I am so lucky to live in an amazing place, on the water, and with a back yard filled with mixed hard and soft woods. So on any given day, there's lots to divert my attention span, and render it to a series of Kodak moments.

Kodak One -

Black-capped Chickadee dee dee dee. I think these are the cutest little creatures in the world, and love it when they land on my hand to take the proffered sunflower seed. Like being touched by a fairy!

Kodak Two - Goose bums. I would love to get a picture of these guys under water. Are they standing on their bills?Are they tilted totally forward on their little webbed feet?

Is it a contest?

Kodak Three -Knock knock !
Who's there?


Gonna who?

Gonna Getcha!

What, you expected better from a bird brain?

Kodak Four - Private Screening. The awesome thing about this not so awesome photo is that I'm actually standing inside the screened in porch, and the tiny RTHB is sitting outside.
And the amazing camera has shot right
through the screen mesh!

Kodak Five - Milkweed Seed Pod...no birds yet,
but once it opens, the American goldfinches love to use the fluff to feather their nests.
And all's right with the world.


A Peach of a Day

Every once in a while a day comes along that's pretty much the way we wish all our days could be! Today was one of those.
First, we made peach freezer jam -determining that this is so easy, that we believe it is the key to world peace and life everlasting. We should all be jammin' together!

Step one...get fresh peaches. Slice. Dice. Add sugar and pectin. Done.

Step two. Ladle into containers.

Step three. Take a picture. Put in freezer.

There! That was so easy, that we're going for a drive along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, and hanging a left at Black River Rd/ Chemin Riviere Noire. This is a great river, rich with the history of logging and the founding of this area as Her Majesty's (Victoria's ) official Tree Prospectors came looking for tall timbers to fell for her fleet of ships
with which she hoped to conquer the world.

Some of those gentle fellers of trees may have seen this scene...goose, goose,cow. Which was one of the first Chinese Canadian foods on offer back in 1828.

Then, this being the perfect day it was, it was time to return home and
still hyped on peaches make some Peach Cobbler for dessert
(because it seems we had a bunch of fuzzy orbs still sitting there on the table that either needed to be dealt with or thrown out).So...cobbler it is.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Say "Ohmm."


Skywatch Friday

Today was a glad to be alive day here in the Ottawa Valley! Skies that give the word 'azure' its meaning, clouds that look like you could live on them, and sun that warmed the soul!
Looking due south from our home on the Ottawa River...Take a turn to the east...

90 degrees to the right brings you to the north...this is a blog about, among other things, birds..but I don't have a clue what little feathered friend this is...a bird in the north, caught by the camera..warbler, and that's as far as I can go...any guesses?So then I look to the east, beside the cottage... this little sprite I do know...

And a turn to the west brings us to this view that we get to enjoy daily...And one more look just before I post this...a spectacular harvest moon that will likely keep poets, songwriters and lovers busy tonight. Enjoy!

For more views of the sky from around the world, visit http://skyley.blogspot.com/