Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Dave helping me locate the Brewster's Warbler
I have this joke about hanging up my binoculars on June 1st for the summer. It's not because I need a birding break or don't enjoy seeing the birds in the summer, it's another flying species that keeps me home.

Mosquitoes REALLY seem to like me, but my body does not like them. Too many bites and I swell up like a balloon, and feel flu-ish. Having to take Benadryl to deal with it is not my idea of a good way to spend the weekend, so instead I choose to stay close to home over the summer and enjoy our summer birds, like Baltimore Orioles and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in our backyard.

On June 17th I decided to risk it. We were invited on a little road trip by our friends, Dave and Andi,  for a morning of birding and a picnic lunch at Big Chute. This was the first get together with them since confirming Andi and I are actually cousins (you can read about that here) and after finding out Dave went out and purchased some mosquito netting clothing for me, how could we say no.

They picked us up at 6:30am and after the new cousins shared a big hug we were on the road. I'm actually not even sure where we went, the Port Severn area I believe. I'm not going to lie, when we got to our destination I was a little worried about how bad the bugs were going to be. I had even brought a book  with me in case I needed to stay in the car. I put on my mosquito attire, sprayed the bug spray and hoped for the best. Thankfully, except for one area they weren't too bad.    

The highlight of the trip for me when we go birding with others is always the company, but the highlight bird of the day was the Brewster's Warbler, a hybrid of  Golden-winged and Blue-winged, and one Rob and I had never seen before.

Brewster's Warbler
I enjoyed watching the MANY dragonflies, like this Racket-tailed Emerald.
Snapping Turtle at the Big Chute marina.
Waving to Rob and Dave.
I meant to get a photo of Andi and I at some point during the day, first one as official cousins, but I forgot. We both fell asleep in the backseat of the Jeep on the ride home. Rob took a picture of the two sleeping beauties with his cell phone. Not going to share the photo, but let's just say it's proves we're family.

It was a great outing, and I'm glad I didn't let the mosquitoes keep me home.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Andi and I at Disney World in 2014. 
In February of 2012, Rob and I went on an organized bird outing with a group. A friend of Rob's was coming, Dave, and his other half, Andi. (Rob and Dave had met a few months earlier through birding and became friends). I honestly can't remember if I had met Dave before that cold and windy February day.

I didn't realize it at the time, but all of us going on this trip together was a set-up. Dave brought Andi along that day because he wanted to see if Andi and I would hit it off. We did, I remember the both of us chatting away on the bus, and before the day was over we already had future plans for all of us to get together again.

Andi and I have been girlfriends since that day. We've celebrated our birthdays together for the last 5 years, we went to Disney World together in 2014. and have gone on a few girlfriends weekends over the years. We see each other quite regularly through-out the year, what I didn't realize until quite recently was that I was hanging out with family!

First birthday celebration together, June 2013
Andi got suspicious about us being related this past Easter, after reading one of my blogs, where I mentioned my Mother's maiden name, Levy. I knew Andi's family was from Nova Scotia, I didn't know she was related to the Levy clan. She had her Mom look into it a bit more. She gave me the info she had during our birthday celebration, and I sent it to my Aunt Charlotte to look into a bit more and confirm.

Yup, we're 4th cousins twice removed, or something like that, I stopped listening after I heard the word "Cousins". We're related through my Grandfather Levy's chain of the family, I have a copy of the family tree and can follow it right to Andi and I.

I'm not going to lie, this discovery is really special to me. My Mother passed away one month before I met Andi, and finding out that she is a connection to my Mother's family, my family, no matter how far back is really special. For well over 20 years I have always said that I have no blood relations in Toronto, I can't say that now. Andi and I do share the same bloodline, and mutual family history, and that is very cool!

My cousin, Andi and I celebrating our birthdays together, June 10th, 2017
Magic Kingdom - Disney World 2014
Finding out one of your girlfriends is actually a family relation is pretty awesome. It really is a small world after all!

Monday, June 12, 2017


Andi and I celebrating our birthdays together again. 
Andi's birthday is June 7th, mine June 10th, and for the last 5 years we've been celebrating them together. Not much changes year to year (and we like it that way!), except our age. Andi always hosts and puts on a delicious spread which includes lobster. I normally take care of the cake, we always enjoy a bottle or two of wine, and we always have a fabulous time!

The celebration started with Grey Goose Lemon Vodka Slushies! Just like we had in Disney World!
My chauffeur, photographer and husband.
Loved Andi's new lobster bowls for shells.
The main course, for the girls, the boys had steak, not lobster fans.
Our birthday cake.
We all seem thrilled with the cake.
Make a wish!
Shelby and Ashley enjoyed the tissue paper after presents were opened. 
It was another fabulous birthday celebration!

Sunday, June 4, 2017


The star of the yard for me in the summer, Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
May was a busy month, we were on vacation for two weeks, various appointments and errands. We always seemed to be on the go. I was looking forward to spending an entire day in our backyard  and yesterday, except for a walk to the corner store, we did just that.

We spent the majority of the day sitting on the deck watching the wildlife entertainment which included different species of butterflies, birds and mammals.  We also got some more planting done and brought out the yard ornaments. We enjoyed some Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum and a BBQ for dinner. It was a great day in our backyard!

Decorating the yard. 

Planted "Foxglove" this year, we hear it is popular with Hummingbirds.

Impatiens are new to the yard this year.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the afternoon was watching this Momma Robin feed her young. At first we thought it was only one fledgling she was dealing with. But we counted 4 she was taking care of as the day went on, and we saw them all at one time. She had them scattered all over the yard, all at different stages, but she gathered them all together come dusk.

Momma Robin worked hard all day to feed her 4 young.
Quiet for the moment.
See how well they blend in with their surroundings? (3 in the pic)
The mammals come out at dusk, though we did have a walk-through by a raccoon earlier in the day. We think he was looking for a new place to sleep due to lots of construction noise for a while at a neighbors.

One of the two skunks that are in the backyard regularly. 
At one point the hummingbird came up to the tree close to the deck for a rest.
We look forward to spending many more days in the backyard like yesterday.

A rainy Sunday morning in the sanctuary.