nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘birds

Partridge and Grouse – which are you???

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In New Brunswick, we have three birds which I confuse and name ‘Partridge‘. Remember I am a botanist and come by my bird knowledge through secondary sources.

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a ruffed grouse or a grey partridge? the first clue is habitat (the mainly hardwood woodlands)

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The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a bird of the woodlands (mostly hardwood) and is the bird heard ‘drumming’ in our woods in spring. Its plumage varies from pale brown to bright mahogany. It has a fanning tail and head feathers which stand up like a crown. The feathers around the neck ruff up too. Since these birds are locally referred to as ‘partridge’, there can be confusion between the Ruffed Grouse, the Spruce Grouse and the Grey Partridge.

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Ruffed Grouse crossing the Old Shepody Road in eastern New Brunswick

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Ruffed Grouse in our grey woods

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The Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) is a bird of mainly coniferous woodlands. It eats spruce and pine needles. It is a chicken-like bird with variable plumage, mostly grey and black in the male and grey-brown in the female. The bird has a fanning tail, but does not raise its head feathers the way the Ruffed Grouse does. For a good photo of the Spruce Grouse see https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Spruce_Grouse/id

The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) is a bird of open areas and grass lands. It is a roundish bird with a brown back and grey sides and neck. The chest-area has a darker brown mark. When startled, the bird flies upwards on rounded wings. For a good photo of a Grey Partridge see https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Gray_Partridge/id

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

scribble bird

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Winter Wren

Troglodytes hiemalis

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How to find

centre of forest.

Joy the objective.

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Tiny tail

shivers as he sings.

Delirious trill.

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Troglodyte

darts into thickets,

creeps into crevasses.

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Lifts an eyebrow,

joins a chime of wrens.

Elusive ripple,

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varied trill,

incoherent whir,

tremble to warble.

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Distinguish

the note, the half-note,

the tone, the tangle.

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Forget where

you once were going,

indecisive

scribble bird.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 3, 2018 at 9:11 pm

a feast of wild strawberries

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This week at our cabin the wild strawberries are hanging from their stems. When I see them I think of the sweet wild strawberry jam my mom used to make. And, after this weekend, I will think of  cedar waxwings.

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As we sat in the cabin, eating our dinner, we saw a bird making trips between the birch tree in front of the cabin and the grassy field to the side, where the wild strawberries grow.

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My husband identified the bird and spotted where it perched in the tree. The cedar waxwing is one of the common birds at the cabin. They love to eat fruit and we have wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries on the property.

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There were two cedar waxwings on the branch, sharing a meal of wild strawberries. Sharing fruit is a ritual behavior between male and female cedar waxwings.

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The cedar waxwings nest in our big white pines and sing in the top branches of other nearby trees. I will never see them without thinking of their little feast of berries.

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All my best,

Jane

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Written by jane tims

June 27, 2018 at 7:00 am

Safe place for a nest

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No surprise to me … a robin has built a nest in the eaves of our house. Eighteen feet above the ground, this is a safe place for a nest. The robin does not think so. When I sit on the deck for my daily cup of tea, the robin sits in a near-by tree and scolds me. He gives a single annoyed chirp. If a robin could scowl, he is certainly scowling.

Written by jane tims

May 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

winter wren and the morning bird chorus

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This morning, just after sunrise, I listened to the song of the Winter Wren. This little wren and its tiny tail shiver as he sings.  I call his song a scribble-song. Its powerful trills and whistles last for several syllables. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website All About Birds describes it as “a rich cascade of bubbly notes.” To me it celebrates the busy joyfulness of our Grey Woods in spring. To hear the song of the Winter Wren, go to https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Winter_Wren/overview

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'winter wren'.jpg

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I have listened to the morning bird chorus every day for the last week. This morning I heard:

Black-capped Chick-a-dee

Northern Parula

Winter Wren

Eastern Phoebe

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I often include elements of the morning bird chorus in my poetry.  This poem, written about the Salmon River Covered Bridge, is in my poetry book in the shelter of the covered bridge (Chapel Street Editions, 2017). To obtain a copy of the book, go to Chapel Street Editions or contact me through the comments.

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The Salmon River Bridge, near Sussex, Kings County, was built across the Kennebecasis River in 1908. Today it is used as a rest area. In the absence of traffic, wild life has occupied the bridge. Virginia creeper covers one corner of the roof and rose bushes crowd the edges of the road. In mid-May, when we were there, birds were busy in and around the bridge, preferring to be left to their own springtime activities.

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scribble

Salmon Bridge

Kennebecasis #7.5

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The robin, chary. Her beak drips

with wet meadow grass and chickweed.

She clucks, longs to add another strand

to her nest in the rafters,

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woven with the trill of a scribble bird,

a winter wren delirious. And downy

woodpeckers, wing-flare and scrabble,

flirt in the willows, weeping.

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A warbler (yellow blur-bird)

and a red-wing, toweeeee.

Pink roses, meadowsweet

chip, chip, chip, so-wary-we

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and beneath the bridge

in soft mud beside pulled grass

the bleary track of a black bear

claws and pads

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Published, in the shelter of the covered bridge, Chapel Street Editions, 2017

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All my best,

Jane

natural treasures – gems from a day in early spring

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After a wet spring, we were not certain when we would be able to reach our camp this year. Although the snow is gone, we don’t want to risk getting stuck or damaging our lane.

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just a week ago there was still snow on the road and the ruts we could see were very spongy

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We were so happy when we were able to drive all the way to our cabin door. We did a bit of tidying, put markers at the base of the little cedars we lost in the tall grass last fall and my husband did some clipping of trees over-growing the road.

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I did a small display of two of the treasures we found last year, a big pine cone and a chunk of pinkish stone.  But I can’t display the best treasures of the day:

  • the back and forth banter of two Barred Owls. This is the big owl who calls ‘Who cooks for you?’
  • the tremolo of a Common Loon on the lake. The tremolo is one of at least four distinctive vocalisations from this bird. The vibrating ‘who-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’ is usually a call to warn of intruders or to announce arrival at a lake.
  • the ‘I love dear Canada, Canada, Canada’ of the White-throated Sparrow or the nasal ‘fee-bee’ of the Eastern Phoebe.

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I love our trips to our cabin and the treasures offered to us by nature every time we visit.

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Hope you are enjoying the spring season.

All my best,

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

May 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

puddle ducks

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This time of year the St. John River is at flood levels and backwaters are good places to see many species of duck.

Last weekend, when the water still had a few shallow grassy places for dabbling, we saw these fellows along the old Trans Canada between Oromocto and Jemseg:

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Wood Duck … notice the long crest at the back of the head …

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American Widgeon … a rosy breast and a white cap on his head …

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Mallards … notice the white ring around his neck and his yellow beak …

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Ring-necked Duck … a terrible photo … note the grey beak with a white ring, vertical white before wing and black back …

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There were also lots of Canada geese and a Blue Heron we scared up from a roadside pond …

 

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I am not a good photographer but that cannot take away from the thrill of seeing these birds every spring!

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Happy bird watching!

Jane 

 

 

Written by jane tims

April 30, 2018 at 7:00 am

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