Archives by Tag 'birds'

The Sandpipers At The Johnson’s Mills Mudflats

By DAMI - Last updated: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Pipers Gather on the Mud Flats for a snack as they prepare for their 4500 km migration South. Johnson's Mills in New Brunswick is one spot protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada so these delicate migrators can live in peace.

Pipers Gather on the Mud Flats for a snack as they prepare for their 4500 km migration South. Johnson’s Mills in New Brunswick is one spot protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada so these delicate migrators can live in peace.

We drove to The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s protected lands along the Bay Of Fundy at the Johnson’s Mills Grande Anse Mud Flats. We had stopped at the site on another trip along that coast but the site had been closed and so after seeing on the CTV News a report about the hundreds of thousands of Semi-palmated Sandpipers that gather at the site prior to their 4500 km migration to South America we decided to get and check it out.

The actual interpretive center has a few rooms of displays and information as well as guide books and souvenirs for sale and there was a guide on the boardwalk lookout answering questions. A crowd of bird watchers was on the boardwalk poking their long lenses left and right hoping to see the flocks of pipers either hopping along the mud looking for food or flying in the awesome packed formations the birds create when so many thousands are flying together.

All the pipers had decided to move their picnic spot to a little bay a few hundred meters from the info center so we drove over to the beach area where the pipers were gathered. As soon as we got out of the car we could hear the high pitched squeaking and chirping of the thousands of birds and it created a whispering siren of crystal bells, a chorus of secret communication that we could only imagine what was being said.

Through the binoculars it was amazing, the telephoto perspective flattened the slope of the mudflats and all you can see is a wall of tiny grey and black and white birds moving this way and that. We always like to see a piper on the beach wherever we are but this was something else! It was the sort of sensation you get when you look closely at an ant hill that is swarming and thriving and heaving with thousands of ant bodies; this was similar with the feather bodies seeming to create a moving carpet or a curtain of singing bodies that flitted and danced along the mudflats.

What a lovely visit to this intertidal piece of heaven with all these tiny singing angels who gathered together for one last goodbye before they took to the skies on their way to the warm South. See you in the Spring!

Living in New Brunswick means there are always special places where a piper will appear, not just on the beach or the mud, this little fellow was up near Bouctouche standing on the roof of a baby barn!

Living in New Brunswick means there are always special places where a piper will appear, not just on the beach or the mud, this little fellow was up near Bouctouche standing on the roof of a baby barn!

Victoria, British Columbia: Musical Penthouses

By DD - Last updated: Saturday, May 23, 2015
On our way to Victoria, British Columbia on BC Ferries

On our way to Victoria, British Columbia on BC Ferries

After visiting Sechelt for a special 3 generation Mother’s Day and a very special birthday, Mama D and I (dd) were on our way to Victoria on Vancouver Island. After a 3 hour ride on Malaspina Coach including a ferry ride, we hopped on a Pacific Coach bus for another 3 hour ride including another ferry ride. It was a 9 hour trip in total from door to door.

The heart shaped bed at Point Ellice House

The heart shaped bed at Point Ellice House

We spent a day with Auntie CJ. She brought us to Point Ellice House and gardens. It’s a beautiful place to visit but because it is between two dump sites the smell is unbearable. Maybe they were composting sites, I thought it smelt like strong fermented Kalamatta olives. After the House we went to the Fol Épi bakery and bought some bread, pâtisseries and checked out the small water garden with the birds having a bath among the water lilies and the string algae.

Oliver the goat petting me!

Oliver the goat petting me!

On another day we went to the Beacon Hill petting zoo where I spent some time with Oliver the goat, he was so affectionate! He let me give him kisses and rubbed his head on my face like our cat Alaska does and he licked my nose and my fingers.

Mama D under the giant tree at Beacon Hill Park not far from the petting zoo.

Mama D under the giant tree at Beacon Hill Park not far from the petting zoo.

We also went twice to see two IMAX movies at the Royal BC Museum. We saw Wonders of the Antarctic, Journey to Space, Gold Fever and Journey to the Pacific.

Can you see Craigdaroch Castle?

Can you see Craigdaroch Castle? This was the view at the Airbnb Penthouse.

Our penthouse in Victoria was not as polished and shiny as it was hyped to be. I found it through Air BnB and even though I am not crazy about modern decor, I thought the layout and space would be perfect for Mama D and I, having each our own bedroom and bathroom. I was so uncomfortable there that I don’t even have a single nice picture, only of a hole in the ceiling, cigarette butts in empty bottles on the terrace, cigarette ash around the bedside table, a toe nail, a dirty washing machine, dirty this and dirty that, and I kept mostly all my stuff in my suitcase. We were supposed to stay 8 nights but after a chaotic morning, Mama D and I looked at each other and agreed to just leave. I had been awake for a couple of hours and waiting for Mama D to get up before having my breakfast. The microwave had just broken down on us and as I turned the oven on to reheat my frozen muffin and pancake, the oven started to smoke and it triggered the smoke detector. Mama D and I were waving tea towels frantically and after opening the windows and door things finally quiet down. As it was Victoria Day weekend there was only one room left at the Harbour Towers where I had previously booked and cancelled for the stupid condo. We went ahead and booked it and by 9:30 we were out.

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Now that’s what I’m talking about! View from Harbour Towers Penthouse suite 1213. This picture was taken on Victoria Day and the boats were giving us a mini parade as the action was all happening on Douglas Street and we were watching it on TV!

While I was away from home, our business was turning into a monster and Dami was overwhelmed. My netbook was useless to help as it was too slow. To top it off, the TV cable went out, the laundry and kitchen drain clogged, the power went off and his father had a stroke!

Thios is the trolley they got out after the bus we were on got a flat tire the previous day.

This is the trolley they got out after the bus we were on got a flat tire the previous day!

After settling in to our new quaint penthouse with harbor view, we went thrift store shopping: we were now penthouse poor LOL!

Mama D celebrating! We made the right decision as it was the last room available in the hotel and it was perfect for us!

Mama D celebrating! We made the right decision as it was the last room available in the hotel and it was perfect for us! The Penthouse suites are situated on the 12th and 13th floor of the building and our room number was 1213! The bedrooms and bathroom are on the 12th floor and the kitchen, dining and living rooms are on the 13th floor. No superstitions here… like Stevie Wonder’s song says superstition ain’t the way!

The next day we bought a 2 day pass for the Big Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. We visited Oak Bay and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria where we had lunch in the quiet zen Japanese garden. After the Victoria Day Parade we went to The Robert Bateman Center and I really connected with his work and his philosophy. I agree that the world would be a better place if everybody was a bird watcher.

A lot of work was put into the restoration of the Emily Carr house.

A lot of work was put into the restoration of the Emily Carr house.

We visited Emily Carr House and Gardens and I was disappointed I didn’t get a connection with her and with her work. I couldn’t feel it even though they put a lot of work restoring the house. I really enjoyed the gardens outside though.

A peacock warming up in the sun at Beacon Hill Park.

A peacock warming up in the sun at Beacon Hill Park.

We had an awesome 2 week vacation in British Columbia with lots of twists and turns and that’s what life is all about. When things don’t turn out the way we plan, we get proactive, we move on and do what we must to shape our vision. The weather was on our side again and while we were away, our service berry tree started blooming for the first time so that means we’ll have berries! Finally after 3 years! Update: Let’s say the birds or squirrel got to them first…