Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blustery Bluffers!

I had a bit of time off today and the light was just gorgeous so I headed over to Bluffers Park to see what was happening. The lakeside was really cold but when I headed over to the eastern side of the park it was much warmer. First the birdees:

Trumpeter Swan L23 showing off his/her good side:

And giving me the swan version of the finger:

I love watching swans go from floating around to flying off. They don't just leap up into the air, they run across the top of the water with wings flapping and making a ton of noise, similar to a plane getting up a head of steam before take off:

One of the gulls had a snack and the others went after him:

This one was on the lookout for something tasty:

And these two knew people had brought bread down even though there are signs up that clearly state that feeding birds is prohibited:

A pair of Mute swans:

Off to the east side of the park. The last time I was here they hadn't opened the gate so I was happy to see it was accessible today:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We have an egg!!!

In 2006 I became really interested in birds, more specifically eagles, because of the Hornby Island Eagles. A pair of bald eagles had been nesting in the same nest for over 20 years and Doug Carrick, the neighbour of the person who had the nest in his yard, put up a webcam so he could watch the eagles. The first year was incredible, the eagles were famous, the webcam broke records for the number of people watching...and the eggs failed. The parents incubated until the eggs finally broke into tiny eaglets. Everyone was heartbroken but many of us were hooked.

The next year, there was no webcam because there was a storm and they couldn't get repairs done while the eagles were using the nest, and wouldn't you know it, Doug was surprised with 2 healthy eaglets!

Since then there have been triumphs and tragedies, two years ago there were 2 eaglets but the youngest one died. Last year there was only one, and when she was pretty much full grown she died as well. Her body was removed by a wildlife rescuer who climbed the tree to retrieve it.

This year, the first egg was laid yesterday, March 22! Here is the video of Ma Hornby on the nest grunting and shuffling as she laid the egg!.

Egg #2 should be laid on the 24th so stay tuned or go and watch the webcam, and see if you witness it yourself!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Death of a tree

These are two pictures of the area where the most damage at Rosetta happened. The tree that went over the edge was really big so it's no wonder how much land it took with it. You can see it clearly in the top picture, which I took in December/10, and in the picture below on March 21/11 it was long gone.

When we have the raptor watch in the fall we always joke about how a lot of the trees get in the way and seem to make birds disappear, but when they're gone you really miss them. I think the tree that went over was a poplar.

Just realized I had a similar picture of the leaning tree from early January/11:

And from today:

Sunday, March 20, 2011


People keep asking where I get coupons from. I thought I'd give everyone a chance to get started and it's easy. You need a computer, a printer and a No Frills.

Free Ziploc bags

Click on this link. Register and you'll go to a new page which includes a number of coupons available for you to print. Check off the Ziploc one and keep going, and make sure you're hooked up to a printer, then print it off.

Free Ocean Spray Cranberry
Click on this link. The page looks blank but in fact a coupon is being generated. Print as many as you want by choosing the number of copies. What I did was print a bunch and then fed the paper back through to print more, that way I saved some paper.

Go to No Frills. They accept coupons printed from the internet and both of these are valid. They have a variety of Ziploc bags for $2 so if you pick 2 it comes to $4 and the coupon is $4 off so you just pay the tax.

Cranberry juice is the 950 ml size and costs $1, so with the coupon it's free and most of the stores don't have limits.

Lean Cuisine and Stouffers Panini

No coupons but they have Lean Cuisine chicken Caesar primavera or Teriyaki salmon and noodles for $1 each and Stouffer's goat cheese and grilled veggie panini for $1. Not only is it a great price but if you join their rewards programs you'll get some neat stuff. I opted for the one at Stouffer's, which you can find here. You get one free PIN for signing up and when you enter 11 more (they're found inside the box) you'll get a $10 gift card to the grocery store of your choice as well as $15 in coupons for Nestle freebies. The current offer expires May 3 and even without it, $1 for a meal is a great price. I am vegetarian so I can only eat the panini but my mom isn't so I stocked up on these meals for well as a ton of cranberry juice! We have enough for 2 of the gift cards/coupons which is all they allow per household during a single promotion period.

Last one for now: lets you select coupons and mails them out. These can be really good, as an example this fall they had $9 off when you buy 3 Olay ribbons body wash. When they came on sale for $2.99 I used the coupon and only paid tax. This is one of my favourite products and it has since gone up in price to $5.99 in a lot of stores so I'm glad I stocked up.

If you have any products you like or use alot, just google the name of the product and the word coupon and see what comes up. That's what I did with the Ocean Spray and Ziploc and now I'm all set!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More erosion just a day later

I went down to Rosetta McClain Gardens for a quick walk today and was surprised to see that there was more erosion in that one area. There is now a gaping hole between the bottom of the fence and the edge of the park.

And the pine tree is leaning just a little bit more:

The planters around the fountain look really disgusting!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Erosion after the storm

I made a quick trip to Rosetta McClain Gardens this morning and ran into Frank, Nancy and Pat. Spring fever, anyone?

We didn't see any birds but Pat and Nancy showed me part of the bluffs that eroded over the past couple of days and took a bunch of trees with it. Every time we get a lot of rain this happens, and they're going to have to move the fence in soon.

This tree is leaning on more of an angle now than it was a few weeks ago:

This is what happened over on the east side of the park. A huge chunk fell over and the fence is now right on the edge of the bluffs:

The only good news was we saw and heard male red-winged blackbirds so as far as I'm concerned, spring is on its way!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Last year during the Flyers' amazing run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, a bunch of us from one of the discussion boards started having a pre-game grilled cheese sandwich for good luck when we found out that one of the Flyers' players, Claude Giroux, eats grilled cheese before every game. This started in the first round and let's just say we were all sick to death of grilled cheese by the time June rolled around, but if things are going well, you don't stop your superstition until the streak ends! We were doing this for the team!

I've always liked grilled cheese, but a friend of mine who is a big time foodie was shocked when she found out I was using those plastic cheese slices that are also wrapped in plastic. She recommended that I try using real cheddar cheese and corn relish. I love cheddar and corn relish separately, but wasn't sure if I'd like them together, however, she was quite serious and I thought I'd give it a whirl. Wow, it is SO good! Corn relish isn't as sharp as green relish and it works so well with cheddar. So now I always make grilled cheese like that, and since the playoffs are coming close and the Flyers were on a losing streak, I had 2 of them this week. They won both games!

The other thing many of us found out was a neater way to make grilled cheese. I don't know how many people butter the bread on the outside and then put it in the pan, but the chef that works at the Flyers' arena doesn't do it that way, he puts the butter in the pan, melts it, then adds the sandwich. Brilliant! It doesn't end up all messy and the result is the same. So the recipe is:

Put butter in the pan
Take two slices of bread and put cut up pieces of cheddar on one slice. I prefer Armstrong's old cheddar but medium will do.
Put corn relish on the cheese.
Put the other slice on top and melt the butter in the pan.
Put the sandwich in and fry it till it's golden, then flip it. If you want to add more butter, go for it, those are your arteries that are hardening!
Take it out of the pan, put it on a plate and enjoy.

Damn fine grilled cheese!

And if you're hungry, check out Dawn's blog, but bring a napkin to wipe up the drool!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At times, I'm sick of winter

Usually by mid February I start getting really sick of winter but there are days like this past Sunday when everything looks so beautiful after a snowfall. We started to get light snow Saturday night and by Sunday morning everything was covered. I had a bunch of morning pet sits and couldn't believe how nice everything looked, snow clinging to the trees, the sky was a soft blue and the sun was hitting the snow. I popped over to Rosetta McClain Gardens and was lucky to find snow without footprints, and this is what I saw:

A few days earlier Walter sent me a text message saying Frank found a great-horned owl in another park at the Bluffs. I was able to find 10 minutes in my schedule to drive over and check it out. I didn't have my DSLR, just my point and shoot, so the pictures didn't turn out too well but still, an owl is an owl and I never get tired of seeing them or photographing them:

By the next day she had already moved on so it was pretty exciting to have seen her.

You can click twice on each photo to see more detail, especially on the owl.