26 November 2023
Good Morning Everyone,
I hope that you had a chance to get out for some time and enjoy yourself. Breathe in the fresh air and listen to some birds! It was nippy in Winnipeg. No snow but a crisp wind. So, keeping the vow to continue ‘moving’, I headed off to Assiniboine Park to the recently opened Leaf.
But before we get to the Leaf, awhile ago, I mentioned leaf blowers. My friend ‘R’ explained to me – the choir – how much he dislikes them. ‘R’, you are not alone! As the girls and I neared the end of The Comfort of Crows, Renkl’s chapter ‘How to Rake Leaves On a Windy Day’, reminded me of that conversation with R. She says, “Leaf blowers are like giant whining insects that have moved into your skull. They are swarming behind your eyes, drilling down Ito your teeth. Leaf blowers have ruined autumn with their Insistent drone and their noxious fumes, and they are everywhere. You may believe it is futile to resist then, but you can resist them. In almost every situation where something is loud, obnoxious, and seemingly ubiquitous, resistance is an option. Head to the toolshed in your backyard and fiddle with the rusty padlock until it finally yields. Reach into the corner where you keep the shovel and the posthole digger and the pruning shears. From that jumble of wonderful tools requiring no gasoline, pull out a rake…Leave the leaves lie everywhere it is possible to let the leaves lie. You aren’t trying for clean lines; you are trying only to pacify the angry neighbour who complained because some of your leaves blew into their yard. Leave the leaves in the flower beds. Leave them close to the house…When the birds return in springtime, these insects will be a feast for their nestlings. Whatever it might feel like on a damp November day, remind yourself that spring is coming.” She continues, “The leaves you let sit today will colder and rot through the winter, generating their own heat and protecting large trees and small creatures alike. Think of your desultory raking as a way to feed the trees, as an investment in an urban forest. If your neighbour complains again, tell them that you are feeding their trees.”…”Before you go inside, take a leaf into your head. Put it on your desk or next to your bed. Keep it nearby, through whatever troubles the long winter brings. It will help you remember that nothing is truly over. It will help you remember what the wind always teaches us in autumn: that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there”. (241-43)
Moving to another Leaf.
So, today we are going to start off with something different. I am going to take you for a walk around The Leaf. It is at our zoo!
This is the Parks Department description of the four areas inside the glass building with some commentary running through by yours truly.
Hartley and Heather Richardson Tropical Biome
Visitors become immersed in the warmth and vibrancy of the Hartley and Heather Richardson Tropical Biome, where exotic plants and a balmy environment creates an oasis, particularly during the winter months. This rainforest-like paradise is brimming with tropical plants, bold textures and lush green colours. The largest of The Leaf’s planted spaces; it is home to Canada’s tallest indoor waterfall, a peaceful koi pond, and lush plant material from tropical regions of the world.
It was hot! Thank goodness the reception area recommended that everyone remove their heavy winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves! People were happy, enjoying themselves. Looking at wonderful or sitting in quiet contemplation.
There was a time when everyone seemed to have a Prayer Plant in their collection of house plants.
Some of the very best Cacao I have ever tasted comes from the island of Grenada where my son lives. Deep, rich, and earthy chocolate.
The Chinese Hat Plant.
The Koi seem to have a wondrous pond.
The Mediterranean Biome is home to plants from regions known for their superb fruits, fine wines and abundant crops. Visitors are surrounded by plant life from climatic zones characterized by moist, cool winters and hot, dry summers including Greece and Italy, as well as South Africa, South West Australia, Central Chile and California. This biome hosts a memorable mosaic of colour, texture and fragrance that reaches its peak during the winter months. A welcoming seating area invites visitors to relax and enjoy the sights and smells of these fascinating plants.
This area turned out to be my favourite because it was cooler than the Tropical area and also because they had the plants identified more clearly. As you enter, there was a long area (see below) of the herbs that grew so well in my garden this past summer – thyme, rosemary, mint.
What a gorgeous hibiscus this was. The one I have in the house – that goes in and out during the seasons – is pink. You can collect the flowers and make a very nice Hibiscus syrup or I have often added them to cakes – tiny chopped up bits of Hibiscus.
There are two other areas. One is a place for special floral displays and the other is the butterfly garden.
No one saw a single butterfly in the Butterly Garden. There are rumours that they flew out of the building by accident in the early fall. Perhaps, the call of migration was powerful.
The flower area was small but pretty. Would love to see it lit up at night!
It was a very nice afternoon.
We continue to wait to hear if little Greyish is available. We are approved for adoption but…the girls have slept most of the day. I caught Hope licking her incision. That is bad but, there is no way that she will wear a cone and unlike her Mamma, Calico, she will not let me get near enough to put antiseptic cream on the incision and olive oil. The trip to the vet caused her to go back weeks in terms of socialisation. It really did scare the wits out of her. Next time, when she needs her booster shots (in 3 weeks), the mobile vet will come to the house. The need for some cream on that tummy might mean that I have to toss the blanket on her and grab…I try not to do that because it is also stressful but, there is no way she is going to get an infection!!!!!!!!!
M15 got to see the first egg for him and F23. Today, he was caught bringing in a huge stick. He is going to make sure these babies do not fall out of that nest!
I know that each and every one of you is thrilled that M15 is going to get a chance to be a Dad again.
Pa Berry and Missey are working hard on their nest. Is it possible they could be next?
Gabby and V3 seem to have lined the entire nest with Spanish Moss. Just look at it. Think comfy. Now…let’s talk eggs.
There is good news coming from ND-LEEF. Lovely to see both Dad and the new female at the nest!
Looking for treats at Eagle Country…
Happy to see some stick moving at the nest of Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear on Saturday. Always good to see one or both at the nest.
Good night, Anna, and your two precious eggs at Kisatchie National Forest E-3.
Good night, Connie, at Captiva.
Good night, Muhlady. Just think. We are 12 days away from hatch!
At the NCTC nest of Bella and Smitty, Smitty has not been seen on the nest for 66 days – since 21 September. Feeling so sad for Bella. This nest has attracted many intruders with physical injuries over the past few years.
The Hancock Wildlife Foundation held its eagle count and the total was 1066 Bald Eagles. Wow.
Just look at the geese in New Jersey near the Barnegat Light Osprey nest! Oh, goodness. I would love to be there to listen to all their honking – or just to see them. I miss all the migrants once they leave Canada for their warmer winter homes.
Kestrels renewing their pair bonds in Germany.
The water at Port Lincoln looks quite calm. Mum and chicks are waiting for fish! Sometimes it seems that the life of a raptor is simply that – a life of waiting. Waiting for eggs to be laid, incubation, waiting for fish deliveries…waiting for it all to begin again.
The Fish Fairy arrives and saves the day with three fish. We get to see Giliath self feeding! They are growing up fast. Remember 8 December (that is Australian calendar/time) will be ringing, weighing, and putting on trackers. #2 will get its name.
Heidi Mc caught the fledgling/juvenile of Diamond and Xavier and its aborted landing in the scrape yesterday for us in video.
Falco, the Eurasian owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo nine months ago, has made The Guardian in a story questioning whether or not the owl can survive in the Big Apple.
Sadly, Glaslyn has lost one of its oldest female Ospreys. Blue 8C was the daughter of Ochre 11 (98), the last chick from the original male of the translocation project. Blue 8C fledged from Rutland at 53 days on the 8th of July 2014. She was almost ten years old when Jean-Marie Dupart found her injured, and when he returned to the beach area where she was to retrieve her, she had died. Condolences. She knew her route well between the UK and Senegal…so sad to hear of her passing.
One lucky falcon. So many injuries, rescues, and will be free again soon. Magnificent.
The crimes against raptors in the UK are largely linked to the large land estates associated with shooting parties. Will a younger generation turn on this medieval tradition amongst the aristocratic classes?
A fun bird fact from ‘J’ today:
Roger Tory Peterson’s first painting was of a Blue Jay! And it was his favourite bird.
His seventh grade teacher brought a portfolio of The Birds of New York State by bird painter Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Each kid was given a small box of water colors and a color plate to copy. Peterson got the Blue Jay.
Thank you so much for being with me today. Please take care of yourself. Enjoy your Sunday — or whatever day it feels like. When you are retired, the days roll into one another! See you soon.
Thank you to the following for the comments, notes, videos, articles, screen captures, and posts that helped me to write my blog this morning: “J”, Margaret Renkl and her book, The Comfort of Crows, The Leaf, Janet Gray, Nancy Babineau, Berry College Eagle Cam, NEFL-AEF, Philippe Josse, Eagle Country, FOBBV, KNF-E3, Window to Wildlife, Superbeaks, Hancock Wildlife Foundation, Wildlife Conservancy of NJ, Michael Raege, The Guardian, Mary Cheadle and Jean-marie Dupart, Robin Stockfelt, and Raptor Persecution UK.