Friday, March 28, 2014

THE 26TH AGM OF THE OEBS

To date, this is my favorite Eastern Bluebird shot of Rob's. Point Pelee 2011
Last Saturday, Rob and I attended the 26th Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society. This was only our second meeting and the first one since we starting running the groups Facebook page.

It was an all day event, but when you're spending the day with like minded people and learning about things that interest you, the time goes very fast, too fast.

The meeting starts with opening statements and members give nest box reports from last year. There is a guest speaker in the morning and another one in the afternoon. The always popular "Bucket Raffle" and lots of chatter and laughter, it's a grand time!

I loved meeting people who follow the Facebook page. Me with Delores & Patty who both have nest box trails.
Rob with Kristyn from Bird Studies Canada.
The morning guest speaker was Kristyn Richardson from Bird Studies Canada who gave a very informative talk on Barn Swallows. Barn Swallows are now on Canada's endangered species list. You can learn more about that and how to help by clicking here.

In the afternoon Josh Sayers gave a talk on a species I'm not sure many people even knew live in Ontario, Badgers. Learn more about the Ontario's Badgers. Now that I know what to look for, I'm going to have my eyes peeled when we're in a habitat I know they would like.

I have to share this picture of Bill Read, the Founder of the OEBS, and long time member Stanley Haworth. Bill presented Stanley with a certificate of appreciation for his long time service to the society. Stanley was instrumental in getting the society's charitable status and served on the executive committee for over 20 years.  

When Stanley gave his thank you speech he got a little emotional and teary eyed, which of course got me teary eyed. You could feel the love and respect he had for Bill and other long time members.

"There is nothing more noble then working with wildlife" ~ Stanley Haworth
Our donation for the Bucket Raffle, 2 Eastern Bluebird coffee mugs and a bag of coffee.
I love the Bucket Raffle and always buy lots of tickets. This year we won a couple handmade lawn ornaments, a homemade bird house and a honey gift basket!

Our haul from the raffle.
Eastern Bluebirds will be returning to Ontario soon to start nesting, keep your eyes open for them!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

AN EPIC BIRDING DAY!

There are 4 Short-eared Owls in this photo, can you find them all?
It has been a long, cold winter, but spring arrives tomorrow, finally! It won't be long until we are seeing green grass and enjoying warmer temperatures. Some of the first migratory birds are starting to return to set up territories and they will soon be followed by the beautiful warblers and nesting season will start again.

We didn't do as much birding this past winter, it was just too cold. We went out on Saturday and were joined by our friend, Lev. I really had no idea what to expect in sightings, and honestly, it was just nice to be out.

We ended up having a pretty grand day, or "epic", as Lev called it later. We were treated to 3 different owl species; Short-eared, Great-Horned and Screech. Winter and summer birds crossed each other on this trip for us, much to my delight. I saw my first returning Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Bluebirds and Turkey Vultures. I had my second look at Snow Buntings and first sightings of Horned Larks this winter. We also had some Rough-legged Hawks and a Kestrel put on some amazing flying shows for us.

Please enjoy a few photos of our day.

Red-morphed Eastern Screech Owl.
A Tufted Titmouse at Ruthven Historical Park.
That's a female Great-horned Owl sitting on eggs in their nest.

I was thrilled to see my first Horned Larks this winter! We saw many.

American Kestrel.

I have to say a few words about this Kestrel. Sometimes a bird that you've seen many times can take your breathe away, and this one did. We watched him hoover for what seemed like forever, and then he swooped down and got a big vole right in front of us. The bitter wind had us watching this amazing show from the warmth of the truck. I'd never seen a Kestrel hoover before or catch something, it was awesome to witness!

First Eastern Bluebird sighting of 2014!
Always nice to see some fur bearing wildlife on these birding outings.
We ended this great day just the way I like, by having a grand meal! Lev and I feasted on a variety of oysters and seafood chowder at Jake's Grill & Oyster House. Rob tried his first, and probably last oyster! LOL!!  I love memorable days like this and hope to have a few this spring.

Friday, March 14, 2014

25 YEARS IN TORONTO!

It's been 25 years since I moved to Toronto, Ontario!
I still remember walking out of Toronto’s Union Station onto Front Street all those years ago, and looking up at the tallest buildings I had ever seen.

It was 1989 and I was 19 years old. I had left my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia the day before on the train. I came with a friend, Sherry. She was on March Break during her final year of high school. I had finished school and was working, but was off, still recovering from a serious car accident the November before. My older brother lived in Toronto at the time and I was coming to check out the big city. I had a return ticket for two weeks after I arrived that never got used.

There was a lot of job opportunities here at the time, and having my brother here was added security. Toronto was a big, new and exciting place to a small town girl from Nova Scotia.

Those first few years were spent taking advantage of all Toronto had to offer; the nightlife, new foods, seeing the bands live that I had worshipped as a teenager. My brother and I had a couple apartments together before I broke out on my own. He eventually moved further west, and I was truly on my own.  

I had a variety of jobs over those first years; cashier, filing clerk, and credit investigator. I’ve been working for the University of St. Michael’s College for close to 20 years now in an administrative type position.   

One of the things I am most proud of since I’ve been here, is starting a successful women’s social club that ran for over a decade. Many friendships were formed because of that club, and many of my closest friends are a direct result of it.

It hasn’t always been easy here for me, especially on the relationship front. I kissed a few frogs before I found my prince, but he was worth every tear shed. Rob and I have been together for over ten years now, and married for just over one.
 
I’m definitely not the same person I was when I left Nova Scotia. I don’t feel the need to always be on the go anymore and enjoy my time at home more and more. Rob and I have discovered a shared passion for birding, wildlife and nature in general. We volunteer and try to support many organizations dear to us. When we do go out, it’s usually early in the mornings to see birds instead of late at night to see bands. I still enjoy a few concerts every year though, I’m just more fussy about it.  

I will always be a Maritimer at heart and I still miss many things from Nova Scotia; my family, friends, the seafood, and the smell of the salt air, but Toronto has been good to me.  

Nova Scotia gave me my roots, but it’s in Ontario that I learned to spread my wings and fly.

Here's to 25, cheers!