Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for March 2011

GEESE, GROUNDHOGS & ROBINS

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Shot by Bonnie Patterson Collins - Lake Range Road, btwn 10th & 8th just N of the farmhouse on S side, south of Port Elgin

Is spring on its way?

Perhaps.

If a pair of robins sift through the snow to get to brush beneath – then yes.

If the sight of a groundhog sitting on a sandy-brown snow bank is a sign – then yes.

If pairs of geese on the wing – or  floating on melt-water in farm fields inundated by overflowing creeks and streams, are honking incessantly – then yes.

If starlings attack each other as they battle for space on the suet feeders – then yes.

If high snow banks shrinking on the shoulders of county side roads send streams across the asphalt that splatter your windshield when you drive through them – then yes.

If long leads crack open the thick ice up and down the Saugeen River, giving all manner of ducks and shore birds a place to swim – then yes.

Yes – spring, quite possibly  –  is on its way.

 

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

March 13, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Searching for Eagles

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We are outward bound from Port Elgin heading for Baie Dore. Highway 21, usually a mess after a Storm Watch, is icy, wet and slushy. The sky is an unbelievable blue. The day is cold and clear. And you can feel the warmth of the sun on your face when the wind isn’t blowing.

We pass through a forest of wind turbines that seem to go on forever. Turning down Concession 8 on the Bruce we drive in the middle of the ice-covered road because the plough hasn’t scraped it down to the pavement.

As we crest a hill Bruce Power comes into view. It sprawls along the edge of the water dominating the shoreline with a commanding presence.

The frozen lake is white with snow-covered ice out to the horizon. Blue water leads filled with miniature icebergs show themselves closer to shore.

We are here to look for eagles. Today they are hanging out close to the Power Plant. They are not discernable with our binoculars, at least not until some industrious gull drops a fish on the frozen water. Then they move in, steal it and take flight. More eagles appear and the thievery continues. Their attitude is obvious – let the gulls find food for our young. But, that’s about the extent of our birding this day.

Two men unloading an aluminum boat from the back of their truck grab our attention.

They dump their gear and a small outboard into it and proceed to man-haul the thing across the snow-packed parking lot to the frozen shore and out to the edge of the ice. Risky. But the ice is thick and strong. Once they’re fully rigged, the craft becomes their ice breaker as they motor out to open water.

What could be more ridiculous than fishing in the middle of winter. No matter how you dress for it, it is still cold out there. There is no shelter from the wind. But watching their antics is certainly more fun than eagles you can’t really see.

 

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

March 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM