Swanning Around with a Cygnet
Coy Parenting Tactics
A young swan or cygnet is cuteness factored by three, or maybe thirty three. Baby animals have a special place in our heart. Young swans swaddled in fluff and curiosity giving them an extra high heart rating. They wreak of softness and innocence. Exposure and vulnerability. We just want to swoop them up and cuddle. But that is best left to swan parents.
Adults mate for life and have years together to finesse parenting. Harmonious in their relationship, together they safeguard their offspring. After up to 150 days the youngster can take flight. If you are on a large waterway when a cygnet is present the parents will remain between humans and the babe. This is done with the utmost of coyness. They swoon into position so gracefully, you may not even realize an invisible, protective shield has been raised. One that they will fiercely defend, if under pressure. But who can resist mother nature at it’s finest? You will be so emotional over the entire scene of youth, guardianship, attachment and perennial bonding you will not notice the defensive positioning. A cygnet being nurtured along on the waterways of life.
For more on swans and their habitat, see also:
Backyard Birding Is For Everyone
I can still hear the screaming sirens of the merlins, the clucking of the cormorants and the take-off squawk of the great blue herons. That was backyard birding this summer and it was always entertaining. Often the entertainment was from a particular perch that was favoured by most flying visitors from songbirds to birds of prey.
Backyard birds as entertainment? They can actually compete with any social media feed, preoccupying you mindlessly, if you just take the time to tune them in. Behind a pair of binoculars you will become immersed in colour, song and behaviour, forgetting that to-do list made moments before. All you have to do is hold your position and take it all in. They will fly into your live feed without prediction or warning sometimes. A drop-in visit last Monday will not guarantee the same bird this week but another may be in the same place. Some are more predictable than others but you can always reap rewards with the usual suspects. They will flit and flutter, scratch and twitch, those fickle feathered friends.
Birds are always on the lookout for their many enemies, eagle eyed or four footed, even the two footed ones. As long as they feel safe from their many predators they may fan their feathers and show off their plumage or spurt out a territorial or mating song. So, if you have a happy place where birds feel safe, and it is in the open where you can keep your eye out for them you will have many hours of happy viewing from your own backyard perch. This year is Year of the Bird.
You can start your 2018 bird quest in your backyard. For more on birds and birding, see also:
Autumn Skies Colour Palette
from Whitehorse, Yukon to the Rocky Mountains to northern Quebec
Autumn skies lure venturesome folks to the forests and streams and mountains and roadways this time of year. It is annual pilgrimage time and everyone is in search of colour. Nature dresses up the landscape for another showstopper season. Colours that pop with the post summer cool down when the autumn skies are bluest. Red, orange and yellow against azul skies. Even mother nature knows that complementary colours, opposite positions on the colour wheel, catch the human interest. Every day the blends evolve, meld, and transition into a new canvas.
Depending on where you live the experience may differ in palette but always thrills. Within a mere hours drive north of Montreal, Quebec lies a haven of lakes and streams with a multicoloured Appalachian mountain backdrop. In the east you can find the much sought after crimson reds. On the western prairies nature sticks to an analogous palette, primarily tones of yellow and orange with different values. On the west coast the big leaf maples wield the largest brushes. If you want to venture north where autumn takes on the coloured dress earlier look for brighter bluer skies to show off the colours. Even for those who prefer or can’t get off the beaten path most are accessible from the roadside. Midweek, you are in deserted territory. So what are you waiting for?
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Joshua Trees Weather California Desert Storms
If you like trees, you will like Joshua Tree National Park.
Trees are the main act at this place. And they put on a unique performance from a surreal stage.
Joshua Tree is the place to be for unique trees. They are stalwarts of stability in a world of change. These trees only grow in one part of the world, abundant as they are in the park and surrounds. Craggy and prickly to ward off the unsuspecting, but are they weak and spindly? Not at all. Standing, sitting, leaning, reaching, bending, living, dying, all are represented in a unique California desertscape. Biblical and solitary they exude an otherworldly aura.
They stand out on their own against the weather gods. Withstanding the elements, snuggled into destitute rock niches and narrow slats. Not only in appearance but also in their ability to thrive in this harsh and formidable physical landscape. Where few others can barely perform, these nature specimens dance. The American southwest can punch up formidable temperatures in the summer and the winters can edge into freezing. This intimate corner has trees adapted for the elements though. When a desert bluster moves in, the sands swirl, and the Joshua Tree digs in. After all, they have been here for thousands of years.
Freshly jumped out of a Dr Seuss text? Maybe. But these are no childhood fantasies. They are the real thing.
For more on Joshua Tree National Park and trees, see also: