Monday, April 30, 2012

CROW VS TURKEY VULTURE

Turkey Vulture headshot



I like crows.   I find everything they do, no matter how heinous, extremely interesting.  So today, as one flew low across my path as I was driving home, my eyes followed it.  I was amazed to see him slow down enough to bounce off the head of a turkey vulture roosting on a stump by the ditch.  That turkey vulture was one cool bird.  He just kind of hunched his shoulders as the crow's talons hit him and just kept  on roosting.  By then, the car was past them so I don't have any further information to help me figure out just what was going on.

It felt like a game to me; precision flying, ice-for-blood stoicism;  avian thrills and chills.Or was it a turf war over a piece of particularly choice offal in the ditch?   Did the crow wait for the car to come by for an added filip of adrenalin?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

SIGNS YOU DON'T SEE IN CANADA


I happened upon an old trip journal tonight from a family visit to England in 1988.  I used to write down every pub we went to, and what brands we drank.  I was also tickled by the different ways of expression on road signs.  Here are some that I wrote down.

WAY OUT--don't you just want to add, MAN! to that?...no, wait, that would be "Far Out, Man"....

UNSUITABLE FOR MOTORS--here you might see that on a protected lake, there it means, if you go
down here in your car, you will be very sorry, and quite possibly dead.

OLD PEOPLE CROSSING--are there any old people anymore?

DANGER DEEP MUD

DANGER  MUD ON ROAD--I want to say this one with a northern accent  MUHD ON T' ROAAHD

TOAD CROSSING

SWAN CROSSING

HEAVY PLANT CROSSING--makes me think of Triffids....
















BEWARE OF TRAINS--wise advice

POSSIBLE QUEUES AHEAD--pigtails? lineups?  Neither one is particularly noteworthy.

But my two favourites were these: NO DOGS OR CHILDREN ALLOWED.  (Actually, this one was at a pub, and at the time made my blood boil--I love how dogs took precedence over children)  and

STEADY
CHILDREN
CROSSING
ROAD

Is that  PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE HORROR OF SEEING CHILDREN CROSSING THE ROAD or NOT TO WORRY, THE CHILDREN CROSSING THE ROAD ARE VERY SELF-ASSURED AND WILL CAUSE YOU NO TROUBLE AT ALL. ?



Sunday, April 22, 2012

TOO SOON FOR TRILLIUMS?


Happy Earth Day, Everyone!  I've lived down here for nearly thirty years, but I still can't get used to seeing trilliums in bloom in April.  Where I come from they are a feature of late May in the woods.    But this year, I'm pretty sure they're early, brought on by that hot spell that had us stuffing our sweaters away in boxes,  forgetting that we'd be sure to have at least one more snowfall before winter was done with us.

This time, I'm not wrong.  My searches of the web reveal that other people, the people who actually keep track of these things in a regimented, organized way, have found them early too, a week early to be exact.  Accordingly, I have hung out my hummingbird feeder a week early too.  My youngest son tells me he has already seen two hummingbirds in two different locations.  Its easy to be fooled:  at this time of year so many small fast fliers are about; bumblebees, warblers. Its easy to tell yourself that the speed demon you caught just at the edge of your peripheral vision was one of the longed-for returnees.  But so early?  It couldn't be.  My earliest record of a male hummingbird in our yard is April 27.  Back when we lived in the Rideau Lakes area, it was more likely to be May 6 or 8.  There's no question that the seasons have shifted a bit.

Happy Earth Day?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

IN THE VANGUARD OF SPRING

By being away last April, I missed our spring. So this year, it’s doubly exciting to me.  Today, being Easter, seemed like a good time to go and check on the progress of the Earth’s regeneration;  so I took my camera for a walkabout of the perimeter of the yard to see which brave species were leafing out and flowering.  We’re having an early spring; whether that’s due to La Nina or global warming remains to be seen.  Some things have lunged into life, while others seem to be biding their time.  Frost is the enemy of the boldest warriors; but so far, nothing appears to have paid for its impetuosity with its life.  Here are some of them:

spicy tarragon
Daffodils like Free Range Eggs
Primroses
Can you spot the snake?
Bloodroot which I rescued from the bulldozers
Vinca Minor loving the heat from a lump of granite
Mmmmm, Rhubarb!

Daffs!
Bravest of the brave, honeysuckle.
Dependable Sorrel
Grocery Store Hyacinths that just don't quit.

Spring has sprung, I think.