Friday, March 30, 2018


We found this guy having a good feed as we rounded a corner.
Rob and I recently purchased memberships to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. We've been going there yearly for the last 6 years, as that is where the annual general meeting for the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society is held. We live in the West end of Toronto, so it's just a quick 45 minute drive east on the QEW.

After looking into memberships and learning more about the area, I thought we'd make pretty good use of a membership. Rob tells me we explored a couple of their trails many years back, but I don't remember much of it. It is a large area with many trails. The main building has a restaurant, gift shop, meeting rooms, and places for exhibits, which they hold regularly.

Our first official visit was last Saturday, March 24th. We didn't really have a plan, we just wanted to get out and go for a nature walk. We knew a pair of Bald Eagles had built a nest again this year, so we decided to do a part of that trail.

Marsh Area
   We didn't see the Eagles, but we easily spotted their nest once we got in the right area. We did see lots of songbirds on our travels, including a singing Carolina Wren. The White-breasted Nuthatches were quite friendly, as were the Chickadees. I had a "Hat Trick" hand feeding day with Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches and a Downy Woodpecker coming to my hand for some seed.

White-breasted Nuthatch in Rob's hand.
We saw many friendly Chickadees on our walk.
"Bottoms Up!" A pair of feeding Mallards. 
It was nice to see a few Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
One of the many White-breasted Nuthatches we saw.
After we finished our walk we enjoyed a delicious lunch in one of their restaurants, The Greenhouse Cafe, and took in the Frog Exhibit that is going on until April 15th.

Small but mighty poisonous Dart Frog. (Pic from RBG Facebook page)
Waxy Monkey Frog. (Pic from RBG Facebook page)
I think our first visit was a grand success, and I look forward to many more visits. So many trails yet to explore!

Friday, March 23, 2018


Delicious cake for coffee break.
We had a very busy but fun-filled St. Patrick's Day. It fell on a Saturday this year, and it was also the day of the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society's 30th Annual General Meeting, an all day event.

The meeting had some great presentations this year. One on an incubation and release program for Ontario turtles, one on Chimney Swifts, and the last talk of the day was on the return of the Piping Plovers  to the Great Lakes after a 30 year absence and the struggle that continues for them. This talk was very moving and I plan on writing a blog about it in the next couple weeks.

It was another great meeting with a good turnout and educational talks.

Love seeing friends at the meeting and making new ones. 
Very honored to be apart of the Executive Board of the OEBS. 
      On our way home from the meeting we stopped into my cousin Andi's place for dinner. I kinda invited myself when I found out she was making Corn Beef and Cabbage. YUM! We enjoyed a hearty dinner, Irish music and a couple drinks. It was the perfect end to a great day.

We got into the spirit of the day!  
Shamrock sugar cookies for dessert! Dave INSISTED on adding his Owl cookies to the plate.
Wonder what we'll get up to next year.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, and the above picture caught my attention. It was an ad for a National Geographic Live event, as part of their series, taking place at Roy Thomson Hall. As our backyard has played host to many raccoon families over the years, and my husband "has a thing" for them, I clicked on the ad to see what it was all about. 

Wildlife photographer and filmmaker, Bertie Gregory, was giving a presentation about his life and work with wildlife. He's been to many exotic places and has filmed some amazing animals. But a lot of this presentation was going to be about some Canadian wildlife on the coast of Vancouver Island. Rob and I had never attended anything like this before, but I was intrigued. After talking with Rob about it, two tickets were purchased for the first of his three presentations here in Toronto.  

February 25th, waiting for the presentation to start.
We really had no idea what to expect, but I know I didn't expect to walk away feeling like I had just been on a wildlife roller-coaster. Bertie was engaging, his stories riveting, humorous, and sometimes heartbreaking. I was on the edge of my seat during some of the presentation. His photography and videos were breathtaking, but even that wasn't what impressed us the most, it was Bertie himself.  

Throughout the presentation he slipped in issues that need to be addressed. The importance of co-existing with our wildlife, and conservation. The animals (subject) safety being 100% the priority, not the product (picture/film). Hearing him speak words that Rob and I believe so passionately was spirit lifting. 

We stayed after the presentation for the Q & A. Bertie really has had a fairy tale start to his career, but that's better told by him. Click here for his website to learn more about him and his work.   

When we were leaving we saw a line-up just forming. He was coming out for a Meet & Greet, so we got in line for that too. I wanted to thank him for a wonderful presentation but I also really wanted Rob to show him a pic he took of a Peregrine Falcon in front of the Canadian flag at the corner of Islington and Bloor where Rob does fledge watch. Peregrine Falcons are Bertie's favorite animal, and he has a stunning picture of one in front of the Union Jack Flag on Big Ben. (You can see it on his website)

Rob's Peregrine Falcon picture.
I also slipped him a note with a couple Peregrine Falcon nest site locations here in the city and told him where he could see some Snowy Owls if he had time. Happy to report he did get to see one of our Peregrine Falcons during his stay.

Rob and I with Bertie Gregory.
Since the presentation last week I have started watching his series wild_life with Bertie Gregory on YouTube, shot off the coast of Vancouver Island.Very enjoyable series, educational, funny and sometimes thought provoking. 

Bertie is very charismatic, honestly, you just want to take the guy out for a pint and talk nature and wildlife. The passion he has for what he does and the respect for his subjects is undeniable. We look forward to following his career.