Thursday, May 22, 2014
Today was the last day of school, so I am now free for the summer! Mark worked from home this morning and had everything loaded up when I got home, so we were able to be on the road by 12:30. We brought the new trailer this time – I am so excited to take the canoe out again! – so it was a bit slower drive up, but we still made excellent time.
Mark came in through Elk Valley. I got to thinking about all the elk we have NOT seen in Elk Valley. Once we got to our road, we got stuck behind a logging truck coming out from Sportsmens Dam. Our road is an absolute wreck from all the logging trucks. One good rain and it will be an impassible quagmire. They have dumped loads of rocks all along the length of it from Sportsmens Dam to M33, trying to fill in the giant holes left from the semis.
It is a tad bit greener than it was two weeks ago. As I brought my first arm-load of things inside, I dumped them on the table and went to get the bird feeders. I couldn’t believe it when I stepped out the door and saw a white-breasted nuthatch waiting on the maple where I normally hang some suet and one of the sunflower feeders! I swear that bird heard our car doors! It was soon joined by many other birds. I think this is the fastest I’ve ever had birds show up before. In a blink we had white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, hairy woodpeckers and rose-breasted grosbeaks! I could not get the feeders out fast enough. It was as if they had been anxiously awaiting our return. The hermit thrush was also singing us a “welcome home” tune. My favorite sound in the world!
After unloading, Mark was taking a rest on the porch while I unpacked. It wasn’t long before he was being buzz-bombed by a male ruby-throated hummingbird! So, I quickly mixed up the nectar and hung that feeder out. One of my students had given me a lovely bouquet of red flowers (don’t ask me what they are called, flowers are nowhere in my area of expertise!) so I put them in a mason jar and set them on the porch table. The hummingbird was checking the flowers out in no time! Unfortunately there was a stiff breeze blowing straight out of the west all day and pretty soon the flowers toppled right over in the wind, scaring the hummingbird.
I only got a few minutes on the porch with my camera while the dogs ate their dinner.
One of my goals for this weekend is to get a GOOD picture of a chickadee with my new camera. This is a start, but not quite good enough.
After my short photo shoot, it was time to take the dogs for a walk to burn some energy after their car ride. We walked up Stevens Spring to the big ATV trail crossing and turned left. There were a few marsh marigolds blooming in the water-spring and a scattering of trillium. Maybe it is still a bit early for wildflowers? There didn’t seem to be as many as usual.
The ATV trail connects with our road, making a triangle. As soon as we got on the ATV trail I noticed a bright flash in the canopy overhead. There was a scarlet tanager!! Mark gave me a few minutes to try and get a photo, but even with the new camera, it was nearly impossible. With the sun setting in the west, the bird high up in the tree, the shadows, etc, all I could see was a dark blob. This was the best I got, a great shot of the back of him!
I’m only posting this to prove I really did see one! A couple of baby bunnies gave the beagles fits as we walked down our road back to our place.
There was a nice-sized maple that had blown down along Stevens Spring last month. Mark brought the chain saw up this time so he could cut it up and add to our woodpile, so that is what we went to do after our short walk. When we got back and were unloading the logs, there was a pair of scarlet tanagers way up in one of our aspen trees!
It was 8 o’clock before we ate our dinner. Mark was still bugged by that logging truck coming off of Sportsmens. He thought they were done back there. So, he wanted to go see what was going on and asked if I was up for a short drive. I really wish we wouldn’t have gone. The utter decimation that has taken place back there truly breaks my heart. It is so much worse than what it was a month-and-a-half ago. I honestly do not see how this practice can be considered “forest management”. More like forest destruction! A place that was so beautiful just a few short months ago has been completely destroyed. It will never be the same again.
The only good thing about the drive was that we could see the swans (trumpeter, not tundra as I thought before) are still on the lake. I tried counting but it was hard in the dusk, with the sun setting on the water. I hope all twelve are still there. Oftentimes people camp in the rye field next to the lake. I am praying no one does this weekend. I worry for the swans. I never trust people when it comes to nature, for some reason! We also saw four deer while we were out and a turkey.
Mark has already gone to bed while I tap away at my keyboard. He’s resting up for his big day of garage sale-ing tomorrow!
We had a total of 10 bird species in our yard this afternoon and evening: hairy woodpecker, rose-breasted grosbeak, white-breasted nuthatch, ruby-throated hummingbird, chickadee, blue jay, robin, scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, mourning dove.
Since I have so few photos to share today, I decided to leave you with this one. I took this Wednesday, only the second time using my new camera. This was shot out my front picture window. I thought it turned out so cute!