Friday, 24 April 2015

Down To The River

There are three dug ditches that run through my family property. As well as draining farmland, they provide habitat for water loving plants and for wildlife. By mid summer they are usually dry. So when I feel the need of a big water experience, I take a forty-five minute drive south to the mighty St. Lawrence River at the village of Morrisburg, Ontario.

Standing at the marina, I relish the sight and sounds of the waves. Sea birds soar overhead on the lookout for fish. Some bob about on the waves. I imagine I can smell the ocean. Just standing beside this great river is a tonic for my marine starved senses. 

Incorporated as a city in 1860, Morrisburg has a population of just over 2,700. It is a lovely, friendly, slow paced town with enough stores to satisfy all of my shopping needs. Yesterday, when I visited there, was cold with a very strong wind. But I strolled the marina's jetty and filled my lungs with the fresh spring air. And I came away feeling that I'd just had a restorative little vacation.

The marina at Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada. The far shore is the U.S.A.

Morrisburg's marina park on a cold and windswept April day.

The wind was so strong that I had difficulty holding the camera steady for the following video. So, sorry for the shakes. The music, called 'River Walk' is a copyright free music track on my iMac.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday Stroll

There is no finer tonic for body and mind than a good old stroll in the early morning. At this time of year the grass is still flat and conceals very little in the way of tripping hazards. Bird songs often identify the singers before they are even (or ever) spotted. Nuisance insects like mosquitoes and black flies have not yet become irritations. The earth smells deliciously fresh and loamy and surprises are anticipated with each step. Walk on! 

This drainage ditch on the south side of our bush lot is a summer hangout for deer.

Muskrat excavations dot these banks. Careful foot placement advised.

Ducks circle overhead and quack their annoyance at my intrusion.

My honey bees will be pleased that the maple tree buds are open for business.

Last summer's Baltimore Oriole nest has withstood the winter gales.

The water level is low for this time of year. We need rain.

This male Northern Flicker was a bonus sighting.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

First Come, First Served

Occasionally I use my motion activated camera to see who's visiting my handout dish at night. Skunks and wandering cats are regulars. But the dish does not magically refill and only early patrons are guaranteed a meal. Latecomers are out of luck. Last night's fare was roasted chicken skins and dog kibble.

Customer Number One has first dibs on the roast chicken.

Not a patron of the dish but a passing, rather chubby rabbit.

By now only crumbs of dog kibble is left for this white cat.

A raccoon briefly looks at the empty dish.

Oscar discovers that he is too late. (I gave him some cat kibble later in the day.)

Soon after sunup, a robin hunts for his own breakfast.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring Snap Shots

Over the past few warm days, snow has almost completely melted. But until trees and shrubs grow their new leaves, the landscape has a 'work in progress' appearance.

A streamside nest box awaits a tree swallow or bluebird family.

I've unwrapped my honey bee hives and confirmed that two out of the three colonies have survived. To give them a head start before flowers become available, I added feeders filled with sugar syrup.

Two of my three honey bee colonies have triumphed over winter's deep freeze.

Empty vent boxes now replace the ones that were filled with wood shavings.

A few bees have left their night's cluster to feed.

Starlings and robins dash about snatching cluster flies from the lawn. How nice to have this compliment of clean up workers on duty.

On legs stronger than they look, a robin chases after cluster flies.

Feral tom, Oscar, warily checks to see if I've left anything in the handout dish.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Buzzing Along

Spring is buzzing along here in the North country. Yesterday was windy but warm enough for my honey bees to take an outing. Two colonies whirled and danced about their entrances. I offered them sugar syrup in a feeding tray but they were not at all interested. It seems they only had orientation and exploration in mind. The middle hive, which was suspiciously quiet this winter, showed little or no bees around it's entrance. In a couple of weeks I'll remove the winter wraps and check within.

My honey bees breaking free of their winter's confinement.


Also breaking free from winter confinement, a male chipmunk is venturing from his den under the lawn and having a good look around.

Fresh from his den, he checks for danger.

Seems safe enough.

Might as well have a wash up.

He seems to be calling, "Hey ladies, I'm over here!"