Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sounds of Spring

OK, I'm trying again with some short videos.  At least the pictures showed up this time.  These are really audios of some of the bird songs I hear on our property.  The flower is native Dutchman's Britches and the squeaky bird calls are made by the Downy Woodpeckers.  We have quite a few woodpeckers in our bush as we let some of the dead trees stay standing.

Brunnera just starting to bloom.  Robins may be common, but they still are wonderful to hear.  It is such a treat to have them back for the summer. Hopefully, they will nest near the house .  Last year, they nested in a lilac bush where we had a good view of them.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rocky River

This picturesque little river is about half a mile from my parents' home, and in the summer, when it wasn't so full, we would sometimes walk upstream carefully stepping from rock to rock,  or simply sit on a rock (the one middle left in photo was a good one)  and enjoy the sound of the water.
I don't know why this upload has no picture but it does play!
About thirty years ago, a ski hill was started nearby . The land by the river became valuable, and houses were built   so now the river banks are all private property.  The photos were taken from a bridge on a public road.

This is on the other side of the bridge.  Just out of sight is  a quiet (at least in the summer)shallow pond with a gravelly bottom with some big flat stones on the shore.  Great place for a picnic.
This video taken with my tablet gives a more gurgley sound to the water, although in actual fact the constant rushing sound is what you really hear when you are there.  This sound track would be more in keeping with a slower flow later in the season.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


 Glory-of-the-snow (chionodoxa) is perhaps not as well known a spring bulb as crocuses, but it has been a very dependable bulb in my garden.  
After a cold February, a chilly March and a cool April, they have still opened up nicely.

 The pulmonaria is making a valiant effort to get going, but it would like a little more sun and warmth.

The scillas are a lovely blue even if some are still closed.

 This patch is doing its best to open up.

 Wind-blown and wrapping their petals around themselves, these crocuses will probably just call it quits when the sun does come out.
I think the chipmunks have been raiding the bulbs as I seem to have fewer crocuses and tulips.  Oh well, I guess they were hungry.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Peepers

Here is a very short video that lets you hear the spring peepers (little frogs) that have started singing. The watery  sound is just some wind noise, but you can really hear the peepers.  It is a sure sign of spring.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Now Spring is Here

 Finally, beautiful warm spring weather has arrived, and it looks like the rest of the month will be more of the same.  A number of honey bees were enjoying the snowdrops.  Another smaller black bee thought I might be a flower, but, after landing on me, it came to the correct conclusion that I was not a flower.

 A young hemlock soaking up the sun.

It's a great time of year to wander in the woods - warm and no bitting bugs.

A couple of birch bark swirls.

Native sedge and vinca looking unbelievably fresh and  lively.  I think they both would have been under snow yesterday.
I put quite a few of the plants I had started inside, outside today where they get morning sun. With the temperature staying above freezing for the next while, I won't have to keep moving them in and out as I sometimes have to do at this time of year.  My hose has thawed so no more bucketing water for my horse.  Ah! Spring!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Museum of Nature - Rocks

 One of the things that I find fascinating about rocks and minerals is that so many of them look so dull and boring on the outside, but when they are split open they  have wonderful colours and shapes. 
 This is a meteor about 2 and a half feet wide.  It came all the way from - well, who knows where...

The patterning on this rock is reminiscent of an abstract painting  or an aerial view of a town.

The quality of the photos is poor.  I found it difficult with the glass, lighting, and sparkles to get good pictures, but you can still get an idea of the diversity of the rocks.
 I haven't labelled the rocks as I was only interested in them as natural pieces of art.  I particularly like the bright green sprinkles in this one.

The white rock in the middle had very fine spikes all over, but they got bleached out.  I like the large agate on the right side with its lovely contours.

 Again the whites are bleached out but you can still see the different shapes presented here.

 No, that is not your kid's playdough mushed together.

 The left one would make great paving stones. The spiky middle one in the foreground looks to me like an upright bunny facing left.
 Soft and bubbly on the left, cool and minty upper right, and  a patch of snow lower right.

 This is not an etching - this is an original rock painting done by a rock.  And the one on the right is not a child's glue project.

 Too bright for the camera, but vibrant red crystals are  poking out of a grey rock. In the back, tropical sea blue inside  a dull brown rock.
 Very fuzzy pic, but I really like the dramatic markings.

 Great chunks of colour.

 A crystal angel flying above a blue fountain.

 Just like a piece of modern military sculpture.

A gently nestled delicate aqua crystal in a shimmery silver setting.

A pouff of brilliant white.

And finally shades of blue, purple and brassy coins.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter

"...and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

Revelations 22: 17

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Museum of Nature - Birds and Watery Creatures

 Some  highlights from the bird exhibit.  Above is the iconic loon with its bold black and white patterning.

 Birds in flight illustrating different wing positions that different species use.

  On the left is the peregrine falcon that has successfully come back from the brink of extinction.  On the right is a prairie chicken puffing out its throat in its bizarre mating pose.                                                                                       
 A nice little   diarama showing how well the three little birds blend in to their natural environments. 

 A beautiful owl with the most wonderful lower feathers guaranteed to keep is feet warm.

The bird room encourages people to learn something about bird identification.  This display is a collection of common birds that the viewer is challenged to identify.  Elsewhere, you can try to identify birds by their songs.  

 This is my favourite display in the museum.  The photo does not do it justice as the green anemones in the background are really lime green.  The pink one on the left has jazzy spots on the base. Every time you look in this aquarium you see something new:  a different starfish, a purple sea-urchin tucked behind a rock, a fish swimming into view, and, tantalizingly, there are things that you can't quite see properly but look like they would also be fascinating to watch.

 The pink corner of the aquarium - even the rock in the foreground matches.  Whose the interior decorator of the group?

 A striped fish slides into view before hiding behind a rock.

 I thought this was fun .  A box crab that fits together like a puzzle.

 A model of a sea turtle.
Also on display is the skeleton of a blue whale which is, of course, huge.
Some other fish and small turtles are in aquariums, too.
Next time,  the rocks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Museum of Nature - Mammals

 At the Museum of Nature, I always enjoy looking at the diaramas of Canadian wild animals.  The attention to detail in the backgrounds is excellent, and the postures of the animals very authentic.
First up, Mr. Moose.

 These two wolves are barking at a couple of bison on the left of the diarama, but I wanted to focus on the wolves who look so lifelike.

I have never met a bear face to face in the wild, but this encounter will perhaps give me an idea of what it might feel like.

Some pronghorns. They are so delicate looking and have lovely markings.  The plants in the foreground really add to the atmosphere of the scene.

Cariboo in the far north on one of their long migrations.  The background painting really captures the feeling of late winter.

 This is a female polar bear who is focused on a seal under the ice. A museum worker told us that the male polar bears can be twice as big as the females.  They can stand 11' high.  The polar bear's feet are really large compared to the rest of their bodies and they have long curved claws.  You would not want to be swatted by one.

 The little pica blends in well with the lichen covered rocks. The rocks are my favourite part of this vignette.

And finally a profile of Mr. Moose because I just like moose, even though they can be aggressive, dangerous animals. There is something appealing about their funny looking face, and oddly proportioned bodies.
This is only a selection of the diaramas and specimens in the mammal section, but a post can only be so long!
Next time, birds.