Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A not so ugly duckling !
Great Horned Owl fledgling just about ready to try a hand at flying !
Bob with a fine catch of codfish on the opening day of the recreational cod fishery.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe hares are found throughout the boreal forests of North America. They are native to Labrador and were introduced to Newfoundland in 1860. Known as rabbits in Newfoundland, these large-footed animals  turn white in winter and a dark brown in summer. The large feet help the hare to stay on top of the snow in winter.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Canada Goose at Kent's Pond

Canada Geese are omnipresent all over North America but they still command us to pause and watch whenever they appear. This lone goose wanders amidst the tender spring shoots and hollow stems of last year's reeds at Kent's pond.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Goose in Town

The Greater White-fronted Goose is the most widespread goose in the northern hemisphere. It breeds across the tundra from Nunavut to Siberia, across Russia, and into Greenland.  In North America, however, it is common only west of the Mississippi River, where it is found in large flocks in wetlands and croplands. 

On a recent trip to the southern shore of the Avalon peninsula near Trepassey, I was fortunate to view and photograph this rare vagrant. It was wary of passer-bys but using my vehicle as a blind enabled me to photograph this beautiful bird.

Be sure to click on the image for a larger better view !

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Boreal Chickadee

Deer Lake Power House Circa 1920's

This vintage photo shows the Deer Lake Power House at about the time of its commission in 1925. At  that time Deer Lake had a population of several hundreds. There were seven large company houses  on Nicholsville Road. The Williams family lived at 126 Nicholville Rd. in one of the company houses that was leased by Bowater's for  $16.00 per month.

My grandfather, Aneurin Tudor Williams, arrived in Newfoundland from Wales in 1923 as principal engineer with Newfoundland Power and Paper. Father joined him in 1925 and the rest is family history !

Red Breasted Nuthatch

After the long winter which at times seems to be dragging on, I am looking forward to the return of the finches, warblers and a myriad of other birds. Fortunately we have a few hardy species that over-winter sustained in many instances by the kind folk who keep the feeders full. One of our winter warriors is the Red-Breasted Nuthatch - a standout from other species because of its unique habit of moving headfirst down tree trunks. This tiny bird never stays still and darts like a rocket streaking towards a food source from the cover of a neighboring spruce tree.

It breeds from Alaska to Newfoundland south to the northern states and locally in the southern Appalachian mountains.It winters from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Somewhere in Change Islands

If ever I were to have a place away from home , this would be it - Beauty , serenity and the ocean on my doorstep .

Abandoned Fishing Room - Change Islands

This is the last will and testament of Emma Porter of Change Islands in the Northern District of Change Islands in the Northern District of the Island of Newfoundland Widow and relic of the late George Porter of Change Islands aforesaid planter deceased. I give and devise to my son George Porter his heirs and assigns all my right title and interest in a certain fishing room and premises situate at Change Islands aforesaid consisting in a dwelling house, outhouses, stage, flakes, gardens and lands now in the joint occupancy of myself and my said son George Porter together with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging. - The Last Will and Testament of Emma Porter 1865

This abandoned and ruined fishing room and premises could well have belonged  to George Porter. This cultural icon is fast disappearing from the Newfoundland landscape but the people of Change Islands are now making  an effort to maintain and restore the remains of their fishing heritage.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Birds of Newfoundland - A Rare Book

In 1941 the Government of Newfoundland commissioned Harold S. Peters and Thomas D. Burleigh of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to prepare a book on Newfoundland birds. Its purpose was three-fold: to be a ready reference source on Newfoundland birds, to be of use in Newfoundland schools and to acquaint Newfoundlanders and others with the bird life of Newfoundland. Peters and Burleigh compiled information on 227 birds and their work was published in 1951 by the Newfoundland Government as The Birds of Newfoundland.

Athough much of the information in this book regarding the present status of our avian friends is dated, the book is full of interesting facts and is a must have book for anyone interested in Newfoundland Birds. It is out of print and sells on the second hand market for approximately $75.00 if you can find a copy !

Blue Jay Watching

The Blue Jay’s feathers are not actually blue. The bright cobalt colour is the result of the unique inner structure of the feathers, which distort the reflection of light off the bird, making it look blue.

Believe It or  Not !

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Silent Witness Memorial - Gander

Arrow Air Flight 1285 was an international charter flight carrying U.S. troops from Cairo Egypt  to their home base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky  via Cologne , Germany and Gander, Newfoundland. On the morning of 12 December 1985, shortly after takeoff from Gander en route to Fort Campbell, the aircraft stalled, crashed, and burned about half a mile from the runway, killing all 256 passengers and crew on board. It is the deadliest aviation accident to occur on Canadian soil.

Remembering Arrow Air Flight 1285

Monday, April 01, 2013

American Red Squirrel on the Pippy Park Trail

The red squirrel is native to Labrador and the rest of North America but it was first introduced to Newfoundland in 1963 and it quickly spread across the province. Red squirrels are often heard before they are seen as they undertake skirmishes with their brothers. Who has not heard the familiar angry-sounding chatter that occurs when an intruder is spotted - one of the most common sounds in the forest!

Emerald Surf off Bear Cove

Twice a day the tide sweeps ashore
Erasing footprints, stones, shells and more.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Silver and Gold on the Eastern Edge

Silver and gold can sometimes be found on the ocean's floor. 
You just need to know where and when to go.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Storm Surge Wave at Cape Spear

A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically, tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones . Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea level.

Cape Spear is the most easterly point in North America. Here, the ocean is always turbulent but on occasion the sea can look calm. But beware - rogue waves are common here. At least eight people have been washed out to sea while walking on the rocks.   The landscape here is breathtaking and if you abide by the warning signs and stay behind the fence, you will be able to return another day !

Friday, March 29, 2013

Green Bay Fishing Rooms

Old fishing rooms stand in the evening sun somewhere in Green Bay.

Black Capped Chickadee

Who has not heard the cheery, welcoming sound of the Black Capped Chickadee as he performs his acrobatic twists and turns while looking for insects on branches and twigs. He frequently hangs uoside down, determined to find all manner of insect and egg in barky crevices. Para atricapillus barletti  is its scientific name. This friendly bird is named for the renowned Arctic explorer and Newfoundlander - Captain Rupert A Bartlett.

Photographed on the lower Rennie`s Mill Trail in autumn.

Humpback Whale Study

The scientific name of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) means long-winged New Englander. During the summer the waters off Newfoundland host huge numbers of humpbacks and some of the deep bays have humpbacks that remain during the winter to pursue herring and other marine creatures. The "long wings" of the humpback are its pectoral fins — the longest in the world — which can measure over 12 feet in length. Humpbacks are large baleen whales measuring up to 50 feet and were a favorite of whalers in the 19th and 29th century due to their slow swimming speed that made them an easy target. This whale was considered an endangered species by some countries in the 1970's and the the cessation of whaling has resulted in the recovery in numbers of this remarkable mammal. 
Here is a closeup view of the humpback's blowhole. The whales come to feed on caplin and krill in Witless Bay in summer. I was fortunate to be able to photograph this denizen of the deep from the comfort of a Zodiac.

Rocky Shore Near Bonavista

The coastline near Bonavista is marked with treacherous rocky shoals and sea stacks  that extend out into the deep surf. Here puffins look out from their peat burrows and eagles soar on windswept wings  becoming part of this wild and primal landscape.  Beneath my feet is  is a sheer cliff plunging down from the grassy meadow above. I feel at  peace in such a  beautiful place, I would love to have spent more time here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Emelia Earhart Statue, Harbour Grace

On May 20, 1932 at 7:20 p.m., with a thermos bottle of Rose Archibald’s soup and a can of tomato juice, Amelia Earhart in her Lockheed Vega began her bid to be the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. She intended to fly to Paris to emulate Charles Lindbergh's solo flight but after flying 14 hours, 56 minutes contending with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Earhart was forced to land in a cow pasture at Londonderry, Northern Ireland. 

A statue in her honor is located in Harbour Grace on the site of the Spirit of Harbour Grace, which has no connection with the aircraft of that historical flight.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneyes are found on streams and wooded ponds throughout Newfoundland but in winter the birds flock to the coast where it is common to see them feeding off shore. While on the coast they feed on small molluscs which are obtained by diving in deep water or dabbling in the shallows. They are known locally as Pie Ducks because of the large amount of white in their plumage. Goldeneyes are very difficult to approach but with patience and concealment, using your vehicle as a blind, it is possible to lure them within camera range.

American Widgeon - Male


The male American Widgeon is a handsome duck that is frequently called "Baldpate" because of its creamy white crown. I was able to photograph this dabbler, at Nevilles Pond in the company of black ducks and mallards - the only duck that seemed to keep an eye on me !