Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘sandpipers’

‘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 :)

 

Read Full Post »

According to the Canadian Ice Service, an enormous chunk of ice, 260 sq.km. in size, separated from a glacier in Greenland last week, becoming the most spectacular event to take place in the Arctic in 50 years. The broken piece will eventually fragment and inevitably melt in warmer waters, contributing to rising sea levels worldwide.

The first 6 months of 2010 were the hottest globally on record.  [See Ice Island Breaks Off Glacier at the Weather Network].

It’s dawn and the sandpipers are gathering at low tide along the shoreline in the marsh.  They’re so intent on eating that they take no notice of humans next to them on the trail.  Their gentle piping calls to one another are a fitting accompaniment to the rising sun.

Sandpipers have always seemed to me to be among the most delicate of the shore birds.  Like the endangered plovers, their fleeting movements, whether in flight or along the edge of the water,  never give me a chance to appreciate them for long.  I wonder if they’ll be affected by the oil spill down south when they migrate this fall.  [See BP oil spill could affect Maritime plovers at CBC].

Further along the shore, growing near the strandlines, statice is beginning to bloom.  It seems odd that such a delicate flower chooses to grow here along such a rugged shoreline.   Yet it manages to survive, despite winter’s stormy waters and winds.

When I think of rising sea levels, I wonder how wildlife such as sandpipers and statice will be affected in the years to come.  Will they simply disappear?  Or will they find a way to cling to life beyond the present shoreline?

This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile.  Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages.  But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature has proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.

~ Michael L. Fischer

Read Full Post »

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

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

sun-rising
The path is dark as we head out towards the marsh before dawn.  A hare and porcupine share the trail ahead in the shadows. Twilight is high traffic time for nocturnal animals going home and diurnal ones just heading out for the day.

sky-at-dawn
There is nothing that awakens the senses more than a spring morning’s dawn at low tide.  Shore birds are busy finding mates and breakfast.  Seagulls and Sandpipers call out to one another, announcing the discovery of crabs and other tasty morsels in shallow water.  Canada Geese and ducks are heading out early to continue their flight north.  Great Blue Herons re-acquaint themselves with the marsh after spending the winter away, while Ospreys scan the area for fish.

sandpipers-at-dawn

The sky is painted brilliant with pinks and oranges that contrast sharply with the shrinking darkness.  It lasts for but a few minutes.  And then… it’s day.

There is more day to dawn.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Receive by email or subscribe in a reader

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: