wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


30 Comments

Location, Location, Location

A few days ago, David Kanigan posted photos of a Canada goose nesting on a dock.

https://davidkanigan.com/2021/04/20/and-the-show-goes-on/

Please visit it to see this post.

I had mixed feelings about this goose’s choice of location. It’s right out in the open, and so vulnerable to predators and the weather. I hope for, but don’t expect, a good outcome for this brood. Still, if she pulls it off and any of her goslings hatch and survive, the goose will deserve a medal for bravery and stamina.

I thought of this goose nest when the Captain came home from a trip up the BC coast, having taken pictures of a goose nest in a very remote location. This is how it should be. This goose nest is beside a river, but somehow the goose knew about rivers rising in the spring, and it has placed this nest high up out of the reach of a flooding river.

The nest is on top of this tree stump, out of sight, and out of reach of the spring run-off in a rising river. It is sheltered from aerial predators by the new growth on top of the stump.  Being up high would also give it a slight advantage over animals that might threaten it from ground level.

But even with all of the advantages the goose has with this remote nest,  it is probably at just as much risk as the town goose in David Kanigan’s blog post.

Thank you, David, for showing the city goose as compared to my country goose. I hope they both manage to bring off a nice batch of goslings.


33 Comments

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Sadly, this golden-crowned sparrow is no longer with us. He hit one of my recently cleaned windows yesterday, and reminded me why I had put off cleaning them for so long. He looked so lifelike when I found him in a planter beside the front door, so I thought he deserved to be remembered as he might have been only moments before. I propped him up to sit on the snapdragon stem.

He has dirt on his beak and his feathers are a bit scruffy from his fall into the dirt, but he still looks beautiful to me, except that he’s not alive anymore. I feel really bad when I lose a bird on my windows.

Golden-crowned sparrows have a mournful song, and today I had the distinct feeling that his friends were looking for him.

If you listen to this very short video clip, you’ll hear his friends calling for him, saying, “Where are you? … I’m so alone.”

I heard that awful sound again,

A bird has hit the window pane.

Emma perked up at the sound,

Barked and stood up, looked around.

 

On the landing it was clear,

No dead birds, not far, not near.

Maybe he survived, I thought,

Just a headache he has got.

 

Later as I watered flowers,

Wanting to avoid the showers,

I looked down to place my feet,

When I saw this bird so sweet.

 

Feeling faint, I lifted him,

Knowing that his chance was slim,

Broken-hearted, I could see,

No more would he sing for me.

 

Beautiful, he looked in life,

Wonder if he had a wife,

Soon I heard her calling sweet,

Hoping that her love she’d meet.

 

One last perch upon a stem,

Such a beauty, such a gem,

As his soul wings high above

We’ll remember him with love.


31 Comments

Hunting the Hunter

Quentin has been hanging out on the landing, looking at himself in the glass panel beside the front door. I think he thinks that reflection he sees is another quail in the house.

He must be wondering why the other quail isn’t coming out. He is so desperately hunting for others of his kind, especially if one were a female.

But he isn’t the only one who is hunting.

As I looked through the upstairs window to see if Quentin was still on the landing below, I saw, not a quail, but a quail hunter.

GASP! That’s not a quail. I ran for the camera and turned it on as I hurried across the room, hoping this predator hadn’t flown away by the time I returned. I know they are very wary.

This one was tiptoeing along the path, checking behind every little twig for the dinner of his dreams.

I was snapping pictures through the window with the zoom on because I didn’t dare go any closer lest he fly, so all these pictures are a bit “window-ish” and not the best clarity. But it was enough to identify the fellow as a sharp-shinned hawk, a very close lookalike to the Cooper’s hawk.

Moments later, he flew away.

The nearby birdfeeders were absolutely silent. No birds around. Not a peep!


39 Comments

Quentin Quail

The quince is not quite blooming yet, but I needed a picture of it for this post, so I took one from a couple of years ago.

This poor lonely quail is looking for a mate. Not sure there is one in the neighbourhood for him to find, but I made one up for him.

I quail at the thought of the poem I am going to inflict on you today.

Quentin Quail is on a quest,

He quills a questionnaire,

Querying and quizzing all,

To find a queen so fair.

Quite a queue around the quince,

For lady quails so quaint,

Topknot quivering in the wind,

Our Quentin’s feeling faint.

“That’s queer,” he quips so quietly,

“She can’t be from Quebec,

And yet she calls with quality

Out of her pretty bec.”

Quentin quicksteps forward now,

He’s feeling like a prince,

Quavering he offers quiche,

And she will offer quints.

His family quota is fulfilled,

His hopes have not been quashed,

The former quandary is solved,

Of cares, his hands are washed.

Quentin will become a dad,

Of kiddies eight, nine, ten,

But now he wonders just what kind

Of quagmire he is in.


26 Comments

Reluctant Sharing

“I could hardly wait for my breakfast of sunflower seeds this morning, folks. It was darned chilly overnight and I needed a few heat calories.”

 

“While Lincoln takes a break to go chase Della around the woodshed, I’m going to sneak a few sunflower seeds. But oh my goodness, they’re big. I wonder if I bit off more than I can chew.”

 

“Did you see that sneaky thief getting into my stash? I only turned my back for a few seconds to go tell Della that breakfast is served, and that foxy sparrow was into my food. I’m going to have to put some of these away for a rainy day.”

 

“Not too far away, and still under the roof. That will keep it dry.”

 

“Now stay! — I’ve seen Anneli do this with Emma. She points her fingers at her and says, ‘Stay!’ I’ll do what she does. Cool, eh?”

 

“Silly Lincoln. Every time he goes to bury a sunflower seed, I can zip right in here and help myself to his breakfast. Oh well, survival of the fittest (and smartest – that’s me). There’s a reason they call me a fox sparrow.”

 

Sharing shelter, that’s okay,

Sometimes it works out that way,

Sharing food’s another thing,

Since it can starvation bring.

 

Oh, all right, I get fed well,

But when seeds are in their shell,

It takes time to eat them up,

In my hands shaped like a cup.

 

Then along comes foxy sparrow,

Sitting on the jar rim narrow,

Helps himself to food that’s mine,

No permission here to dine.

 

Go ahead then, help yourself,

Sitting there upon my shelf,

I will have to be more wary,

Sunflower seeds I now must bury.

 

 


44 Comments

A Windy Night

“Will ya look at that?” Emma says. “Branches all over the yard are bad enough, but that one that smashed into Lincoln’s house is huge. And it’s still up there!”

“I know! I saw the whole thing from inside my cedar hedge home when it happened.”

The Captain pulled the treetop off the woodshed roof with his old beater truck while the Admiral ran for the tape measure. Thirty feet snapped right off the top of a tree to the left of the woodshed.

And another long branch is still up there – it got hung up on the way down.

“Good grief!” wails Lincoln. “That was my lookout tree. The whole top is gone. And I had plans for all those cones left on the tree.”

“I feel just sick!”

The forces of nature make changes on Earth,

They make creatures realize what life is worth,

The wind can move trees and the branches around,

It howls and it yowls with a frightening sound,

The birds and the squirrels take cover and hide,

They shiver and shake while the storm they outride,

But after a night that they spent curled up tight,

They creep out and check in the bright morning light,

To see if their home world is standing there still,

It’s been slightly changed, but survive it they will.


42 Comments

Getting Rid of the Evidence

Orson, the Oregon junco, has found a sunny spot to rest.

“Ooooh! This is so toasty on my body. The sun has warmed the railing. It feels glorious after so much cold wind.”

“Ahh … this is SO nice! I’ll get some of that warmth on my throat too. Oh, my goodness, that is so wonderful.”

“Oops! Excuse me. Nature calls. I’m trying to be modest, turning my back, but why do I have the feeling I’m on Candid Camera?”

“Hmm … the evidence … it’s still there. What to do? What to do? Oh, no! I’m such a birdbrain.”

“I just can’t have anyone pointing an accusing feather, saying it was me. They’ll probably put it on Twitter.  Still, I needn’t worry. If they put anything on Twitter, the birds would be canceled for expressing an unpopular opinion. Meanwhile, only one thing to do and that’s flee the scene of the crime.”

The evidence was left behind, but before a half hour passed by, the heavens opened up and the whole deck was full of evidence. Well … it looked like more evidence.

Loads of evidence covered the railing as a freak hailstorm blew in and then out again as quickly as it had come. Orson was spared many accusations, and he felt a lot lighter.

 


26 Comments

Herring, and Egg on Your Face

So much fuss over a little fish.

But it is a very popular fish, especially on the tables of the UK and Germany. You can have it smoked or fried, or fried and served in tomato sauce, or pickled and rolled up into Rollmops. If you like fish, you probably love herring.

My mother told me that back in the days before WWII, a fishmonger was selling herring in the street, and he called out to the customers, “Herring! Herring! So fett wie der Goering.” (“Herring! Herring! As fat as Goering” [the commander-in-chief of the Nazi air force]). Since Goering’s name rhymed with the name of the fish, it caused a chuckle among the townspeople who came out of their houses to buy his fish.

But the Nazi bigwigs didn’t like to be made fun of so they arrested the fishmonger and put him in jail for two weeks.

When he was released, the fishmonger went back out onto the streets to sell his herring, calling out, “Herring! Herring! … As fat as … they were two weeks ago.”

*****

Right now the local herring fishery is winding up and the cleanup begins.

Here is a photo of the beach area below our house where you can see the herring spawn turning the water close to shore a turquoise blue colour.

The seiners have caught their allowed quotas of herring and most have gone home.  There is still a lot of herring spawn (eggs) in the water, a lot of it stuck to seaweed and being washed up on the beach.

This is what the seagulls gorge themselves on.

The one on the bottom left has “egg on his face” but doesn’t seem to mind it. See the herring roe sitting on his beak?

*****

In my other blog, you might be interested in a post about what turns readers off.

https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/03/20/what-turns-readers-off/


26 Comments

Leftovers?

Same tree. Different bird. Same watchful eyes.

This is a good perch. I see this from my window as I look out towards the bay. I can’t resist trying to get a photo, even though it’s quite far away. I zoom in and try not to shake the camera as I press the shutter. It’s not perfect, but he (or she) is recognizable.  He’s got a great view of the beach and any activity that may signal food.

“Any leftovers?” he asks.

The herring fishery is as good as over, most boats having caught their allowed quota, but the feast for the scavengers is just beginning. Dead herring litter the beaches here and there, and strands of kelp and other seaweed have skeins of herring roe stuck to them. It all makes a tasty and healthy snack for seagulls and eagles.

I thought I’d try some of the herring myself. A friend working on a seiner gave us a few herring mainly for bait, since it isn’t the ideal food fishery time. The fatter herring are fished for food in November. But since these were so fresh, I fried a few fillets in the pan. They have a lot of little bones, but it’s so worth it to pick them out as you eat. They were delicious.

Of course they had to be cleaned up a bit first.

I feel a bit guilty about eating them. See how they are looking at me with reproach?


45 Comments

Herring Provides for All

The seiners wait in the harbour for the signal that the herring are fat enough, with a high enough roe count, to allow the roe herring fishery to proceed.

Rafts of sea lions are waiting too. They will take advantage of the herring being “rounded up” in the purse seines of the big boats. Many herring “escape,” right into the waiting jaws of these huge mammals.

Some of them like the fishy smell coming from small power boats and are trying to investigate up close.

Seagulls wheel around the seiners trying to grab any herring that swims too close to the surface.

This immature eagle is about to find out that the beach will be full of bounty as roe and herring and bycatch float ashore. These foods provide much-needed calories for the eagles especially at their nesting time, which happens very soon after the herring fishery. Healthy eagles will have healthy chicks.

And let’s not forget that as much as we scoff at seagulls and their shrieking habits, they are the janitors of the beaches, cleaning up every bit of mess.

Once the carnage has been cleaned up, the animals have to scrounge what food they can until next year’s feast.