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.