Thursday, June 13, 2019

MY FABULOUS 50TH BIRTHDAY!

I had a very memorable 50th birthday weekend. 
My 50th birthday was Monday, June 10th, which I had off work. I had a fantastic birthday long weekend full of friends, family and fun.

It started when I got home from work Friday afternoon. Rob and I work different shifts and he wouldn't be home til later that evening. I came home to a very unlike Rob thing to do surprise!
He had put decorations up around the house!
I giggled like a fool when I saw what he had done.
What a lovely surprise to come home to!
The event that took place on Saturday, June 8th deserves a blog of it's own, but I will give you a little hint.
If you recognize this, you are going to LOVE my next blog post! 
Sunday, June 9th we had a lovely dinner with friends at Scaddabush. Amanda decked me out in a 50th birthday tiara and sash. It was decided at dinner that both items will be passed down to the next girlfriend in our little circle at their 50th birthday celebration.

Being treated like royalty! 
Rob had to work on my actual birthday, but we had a nice morning together and lunch. We had cake and I opened gifts.
My cute little birthday cake.
Molly wanted to help with the wish. Sorry Molly, it wasn't for cat food.
Rob surprised me again with the gift he gave me. It was a Swarovski figurine I fell in love with. He knew I wanted a memento gift this year. Something I could hold and remember my 50th, but I wasn't expecting this, it was a huge surprise. It is in a place where I will see it daily, and remind me to hang onto my childlike spirit and to appreciate the little things.
I've loved Winnie since I was a child, and still do.
 Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful birthday wishes, my 50th was truly fabulous!

Friday, June 7, 2019

RAMBLING THOUGHTS ON TURNING 50


Did you read the words? In my Mom's day they called it "spunk" or "gumption", and I remember her having a lot of it. I like to think I inherited some of that from her, though I don't really consider myself a badass. Spirited with a hearty dose of child like tendencies would probably be a good way to describe me, or at least it was.

I turn 50 in a couple days, and I've been doing a lot of reflecting on that. Though I had some great times in my 40's, the highlight, marrying Rob, but they also came with their fare share of struggles. I got diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my left knee, due to a split knee cap I have, and didn't know I had, from a car accident that happened before I entered my 20's. I may require a new knee cap down the road, but so far so good. A chronic case of "Tennis Elbow" due to over use of my right arm, and the latest health issue, diverticulitis.

The latest diagnose had me off work for a couple weeks at the beginning of May, went for lots of medical tests and a couple visits to emergency. One of the biggest struggles of my 40's was losing my Mom in 2012. I know she had arthritis and diverticulitis. How I wish she was here now so we could talk about it, and support each other.

Though none of these health issues are life threatening, they all require management, with diet, physio and exercise. Lately it has seemed to me that I just get one thing under control, and something else flares up. Throw in the occasional migraine, bouts of depression, and anxiety and it's enough to make a person want to go to bed, pull the covers up over your head and hide from the world. But life goes on, and so must I. So I do the best I can every time I'm dealing with something else life puts in front of me.

I feel like I lost of bit of myself in my 40's, and I hope to find that part of me again in my 50's. Let's be honest, at 50, my life is pretty much more than half over, and I feel like I'm running out of time. There is still so much I want to do, that I want to see!

My Mom was here in Toronto with us to celebrate my 40th birthday, how I wish she was here for this milestone.

Mom and me at my 40th birthday party.
My health, enjoying life and trying some new things are my top priorities as I enter the next decade.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

STAYCATION - PART 3 - LAST DAY

I missed this Canada Warbler, this visit.....
One of the highlights of our vacation for me came on our last day of vacation, May 20th. I finally got to see two of my most coveted warblers. The Canada Warbler and the Mourning Warbler. Neither were lifers, but the Canada Warbler is my favorite, and I've only seen a male Mourning Warbler once before, years ago.

We had visited this spot the day before, and though I had many fantastic views of lots of warblers, I missed them both, though Rob saw them. I knew I wanted to visit this spot early the next morning to see if I could see them before we went for our nature walk at another place, and success, I saw them both!

We had great views of this Canada Warbler on our last day of vacation.
Only my 2nd male Mourning Warbler! Thanks to our friend Dave, who was there too, for the pic.
We saw many Wilson's Warblers in this area.
 I was feeling pretty great after these sightings, so we headed off to our usual weekend nature walk spot. It's become a pretty regular weekend ritual for us to visit this area, usually on Sunday morning. It has a paved path, and it's a great start to my new "steps week", as I usually rack up anywhere between 6000 - 9000 steps on my Fitbit just on this walk alone. But the best part, we never know what we are going to see wildlife wise, and it's always a surprise, this day being no different.

Rob had seen them before here, but this was my first mink sighting here.
Lot's of butterflies around, like this "Question Mark" 
This coyote woke from his nap to watch us walk by.  
  Another great walk, and a great way to end our vacation!

Friday, May 31, 2019

STAYCATION ~ PART 2


My first of the year Eastern Bluebird sighting wasn't until May 24th.
 Our other big day trip was on Friday, May 24th, when we visited The Carden Alvar area, near Kirkfield. Had some great sightings, including Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks. 

I heard lots of Snipe, but only Rob saw this guy.  
Pair of Eastern Bluebirds, love the Prairie Smoke in the background.
I became quite enamored with these Steers for a while. 
Trying to make friends.
They followed me up the road til the fence ended after this. 
Spot the Eastern Bluebird!
Love the gorgeous blue on the Eastern Bluebirds!
And there goes an Eastern Meadowlark! We had many great looks at them and the Bobolinks.

Female Eastern Bluebird.
Savannah Sparrow.
New yard ornament being investigated by a backyard regular.
We stopped at the Kirkfield Restaurant on our way home for a late lunch. I fell in love with this little Buddha statue they were selling there, as it reminded me of the Buddha statue in the Flamingo Hotel's Wildlife Habitat in Las Vegas, where we visited often on our trip to watch the huumingbirds.
 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

STAYCATION ~ PART 1

It was great to finally get out and look for some birds!
AH! I needed that. Rob and I were on vacation the week of May 20th, and after dealing with some health issues for almost 3 weeks, it was great to finally get out of the house and look for some birds, as migration was starting to wind down.

As we were just in Las Vegas in March, this vacation was a mixture of day trips and time at home. It was nice to have the extra rest and relaxation. We enjoyed a couple dinners out, saw the latest Avengers movie with friends and of course did lots of birding.

Our first day trip took us to the Port Rowan/Long Point area, where after a great morning of birding we had a delicious lunch at one of my favorite spots, The Country Fork, it's a must when in the area.

Here's a few of our sightings from a great first day of vacation. (Click on the photos to enlarge)

Stunning male Scarlet Tanager, we saw a few this morning. 
The "Swamp Candle" aka Prothonotary Warbler, we saw a pair.
I also spotted this Blanding's Turtle. He's not alone on this rock, a Bull Frog is with him.
We didn't think our morning could get any better, and then the male Hooded Warbler landed in front of our car in the parking lot when we were leaving. He posed for a few minutes while Rob took a load of photos of him. I was already in the car and got out again to enjoy the view and his singing, the birds, not Rob's. LOL!

Very accommodating male Hooded Warbler.
He was singing so hard, his feather popped up!
As always, the backyard visitors are always welcome.

This guy is spotted using the bird baths to wash his paws quite often.
We had a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds visit.
A  Nashville Warbler pair stayed for a few days, we were hoping they were going to nest close by, but they moved on. 
It was a great start to our week off.

Friday, May 17, 2019

SOME LIGHT IN THE DARK

We hosted over 20 Baltimore Orioles on a rainy and cold May 13th.
May is normally a great time for me. Spring migration is in full swing, and we normally go out birding for hours at a time and see not only our returning feathered friends, but also other birders we haven't see since last Spring.

This May has been different. I have been ill since the end of April. Was off work for 2 weeks and 2 trips to the hospital. Not going into all the personal details, but feel free to send well wishes my way.

While I was home, I wasn't off the couch much, but one joy I found throughout the day was watching the return of our feathered friends through our kitchen window. (click on photos to enlarge)

Our Baltimore Orioles returned May 7th.
We had 3 male Red-breasted Grosbeaks stop by, and 1 female.
"Papa" has returned for another year and has a lady friend again, babies are soon to follow.
New yard visitor this year, Orchard Oriole! We had a few around for about a week. 
Female Orchard Oriole  
May 12th and 13th were cold and rainy days, Rob put out extra food to help the Baltimore Orioles. 
It was hard to keep up with the demand.
So he made a "buffet" feeder to help, oranges and grape jelly for all!! 
We have a pair of Robins again this year. Wishing them a successful nest.
We have also had some warbler species stop in, I've only seen a Nashville and a Yellow-rumped, but Rob was super excited to spot a Blackburnian, new to the yard list. Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have returned as well, no pictures yet, but it was a joy to see them once again. Our backyard birds we're a bright spot during a dark time, I am grateful that they visit us.

The couple times I did manage a quick outing it was nice to have some first of the year sightings.


First Yellow Warbler sighting of the year, May 4th.
We also saw a Belted Kingfisher on this short outing. 
First of year Black-throated Green Warbler, May 5th. 
First of year Cape May Warbler, enjoying a bath. May 11th
First of year Northern Parula, May 11th.
Young Great Horned Owl, May 11th 
First Oven Bird I'd seen in a couple years, May 12th.
Great way to end an outing, pair of Eastern Screech Owls. May 12th
Rob and I are off next week, and I'm hoping I continue to recover so I can enjoy the next week off and get out there and see some birds!