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Posts Tagged ‘herons’

‘We’ve been expecting you,’ the salt marsh sentinel announces from his roost at the top of the spruce.  It’s the first time I’ve seen great blue herons perched high on the treetops.   Though it all looks like business-as-usual in the marsh, there are always wonders waiting to be discovered.   It’s good to be back. 

‘We heard you’d been combing the beaches looking for us,’ the sea stars say collectively.  ‘We thought if we gathered together in one spot, you’d know how much we missed you and you missed us.  Why did it take so long for you to seek us here?’  

‘It’s a long story,’ I tell them, ‘one with lots of drama that didn’t involve me but nevertheless took a toll on my days.  Children suddenly needed me and caring for them took all of my energy.’

 ‘Tell me about it,’ another heron adds.  ‘We know what it takes to rear the next generation in an environment that seems more and more out of our control.’

‘I knew you’d understand,’ I tell them.  

A kingfisher ‘s compact body finds a stable position at the end of a dried twig.  I marvel at how expertly birds keep their bodies and lives in balance.  

In spring and summer their focus is on ensuring that the young ones survive to maturity.  No hardship or sacrifice seems too great as they provide sustenance and safety to the next generation.  But then, after giving their all for a season, they quietly revert back to concerns for their own well-being.    Could it be because they carry no burdens in their hearts that they are light enough to fly such long distances to warmer climes?

Thank you to all who sent emails or left kind comments asking where I was over the past few months.  It is good to be back 🙂

 

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This weekend’s venue for the Fall Marsh Conference was the beautiful salt marsh in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.  The location was ideal, as northern delegates such as the Canada geese were able to stop over to attend the events during their migration south.

This year’s conference theme was The Tides of Change which gave all attendees opportunities to discuss strategies for the future while sharing lessons learned.   A panel presentation facilitated by Dr. Bob Cat, entitled The Coyote Bounty:  What it Means for the Rest of Us drew standing room only crowds, especially from the rodent delegation.

Four workshops were also well attended:  Innovative Uses for Discarded Tim Horton’s Coffee Cups, Coping with Off-leash Dogs, Managing Expectations for Migration Destinations after the Gulf Oil Spill  and Winter Storm Survival Techniques.  Once again this year, the sessions were coordinated by the great blue herons.

A gala evening on Saturday featured music by the Sandpipers.   Though the main vegetarian course was delectable, many of the attendees chose to find alternate fare off-site at the Roadkill Café on Bissett Road.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. B. Eagle who provided some keen insights into life at the top of the food chain.  It should be noted that conference organizers greatly appreciated his willingness to refrain from eating any of the delegates until after closing ceremonies.

Thanks to all who worked diligently behind the scenes to make the conference a success!  We hope to see all delegates again next year.

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Undaunted by the threat of rain, I thought I’d trek out to Silver Sands Beach last Friday in search of seagulls’ nests.  I had seen an enormous flock of seagulls there last year, and figured they might be nesting there as well.  Inspired by some beautiful photos of gulls’ nests taken by Anne at Nova Scotia Island Journal, I set out. 

seagull carcass

Five minutes into my trek , I stumbled across this large carcass of a seagull. I had just made a large painting of a gull’s head last month and recognized it immediately as a Herring Gull by the red markings on its mouth.   Although I love to collect feathers that I find while walking in the woods or on the beach, it somehow didn’t seem right to pick some feathers off the remains of this large, beautiful bird. So after taking a photograph, I set out again in search of the nests.

white birdSilver Sands gets its name from the sparkling sand that used to cover its beach.  This sand was taken away decades ago by trucks for use in the city.  Now all that remains are stones and short pockets of sand here and there at low tide.  There are mud flats and grasses in a marsh behind the shore.  This is where I caught sight of a very large white bird.  Its elongated neck and long legs reminded me of the many Great Blue Herons I’ve seen at Rainbow Haven Beach and along the Salt Marsh Trail.  My best guess is that it was a White Egret. It flew off as I approached,  and in its flight looked very much like the herons. 

sandpipers at silver sands

Sandpipers could be seen along the water’s edge on both the ocean side and the marsh side of the beach.  They called to one another continually, probably to let one another know of this large intruder in their midst.  This is the only place where I’ve been able to see Piping Plovers in the past.  They probably make nests here too.  I looked around the grasses but was reluctant to disturb anything or give any of these dear little birds cause for concern, so I moved on.  It wasn’t long afterwards that I was able to spot some rather unusual looking eggs …

eggs at silver sands

… probably because I had walked so far along the beach that I was almost at Hartlen’s Point where the golf course is located.  Still not having seen any nests or real eggs, I decided to head back.  Maybe I’d find them on another walk, on another day… 

Seeing the large white bird had made the long walk worthwhile.  Walking home along the beach, I could see Flandrum Hill in the distance.

silver sands beach

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