nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘nature

wild turkeys in New Brunswick

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As we came back from our drive in Charlotte County last weekend, we were on the lookout for wild life. And we were not disappointed.

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Down an unused road we saw twelve wild turkeys. Most, perhaps all, were females. In recent years we have seen wild turkeys more often on our various drives.

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They are fun to watch. They are quite social. Some were foraging, probably eating seeds, berries or insects; others were resting among the pink rabbit-foot clover.

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The University of New Brunswick is asking people to report the wild turkeys they see. The study will help determine the status of populations in New Brunswick.  Report sightings to the Facebook Page NB Wild Turkey Research

 

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All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

September 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

a gulp of swallows

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The days are warm and humid. The nights offer compensating cool. The gardens are full of produce and, yesterday, we made our first stop at a roadside stand to get apples. People say “feels like fall.” On the weather channel they call this “hurricane season.”  We turn the calendar on the kitchen wall to September.

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Fall is a month away, but the birds know the time of year. They flock with a sense of urgency, even desperation.

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A flock of swallows is called a ‘flight’ or a ‘gulp.’

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gulp

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barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)

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Flight of swallows

against blue sky

gapes, as thousands

thicken cables,

telephone lines,

weather reports,

gossip. Feels like

fall. Birds follow

clues of day length,

temperature,

scarcity of food.

Gulp of swallows

expands, contains

every straggler.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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All my best,

Jane

 

Written by jane tims

September 2, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Tea berries

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Teaberry

Gaultheria procumbens

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leaves shiny, thick

capsules waxy, red

aromatic oil

methyl salicylate

mint and wintergreen

tea soothing, blood thinning

creeping wintergreen

spice berry, drunkards

staggering over

the forest floor

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 28, 2019 at 7:00 am

Raspberries

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It’s a great year for berries. Our blueberry bushes are loaded with the biggest, sweetest berries I have ever tasted. The raspberries are full and sweet. The blackberries are still mostly unripe but the canes are heavy with future berries.

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raspberry ramble

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every berry

a sweet cup

detached

from its cosy seat

deep in brambles

juice pressed

between teeth

seeds and briars

handfuls of sun

rain clouds

warm winds

gravel soil

eager fingers

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Copyright Jane Tims 2019

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 25, 2019 at 8:11 pm

showy wildflowers along New Ireland Road, Albert County, NB

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Last week we went for a drive on the New Ireland Road in Albert County, New Brunswick. Our purpose was to visit the graveyard and to see if we could spot any persisting or escaping flower species from flower gardens associated with the now abandoned settlement.

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New Ireland was once a community along the eastern section of the Shepody Road (now called the New Ireland Road).

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settled in 1816: PO 1857-1892: in 1866 New Ireland was a farming community with 68 families: in 1871 it had a population of 150: in 1898 New Ireland had 1 post office, 1 church and a population of 100: included the community of New Ireland Road: PO 1864-1903: in 1866 New Ireland Road was a farming settlement with approximately 25 families: in 1871 it had a population of 150: in 1898 New Ireland Road had 1 post office and a population of 30: included the community of Kerry which was named for County Kerry in Ireland: PO 1876-1931: in 1898 Kerry was a farming settlement with 1 post office, 1 church and a population of 75: New Ireland was abandoned about 1920 (Source: N.B. Archives, https://archives.gnb.ca/Exhibits/Communities/Home.aspx?culture=en-CA ).

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Today, only the graveyard (St. Agatha’s Catholic Cemetery) remains.

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… Farmland has sadly returned to forest. Occasionally you can see a culvert that once led into a farmer’s home or field, and there is the occasional rose bush or wild apple tree struggling to survive amid reforested lands. (Source: http://newirelandnb.ca/irish-migration/ )

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Although the rose bush did not show itself, we saw old apple trees and two showy species, viper’s bugloss and golden ragwort. These could be garden escapes but perhaps are just wild volunteers on abandoned ground.

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Viper’s bugloss

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Viper’s bugloss growing at the Fortymile Brook crossing, not far from the former New Ireland settlement

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Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) is also known as blueweed, blue thistle, blue devil, snake flower. It is an introduced plant (from Eurasia) and is often cultivated as an ornamental. It is invasive and lives on calcareous or poor soils. At first glance the plant is like a scrawny lupin. Up to a metre in height, it is very bristly-looking. The tall stem has a number of arching lateral floral stalks where one flower blooms at a time. Flowers are briefly pink as they bloom, changing to blue. The stem and sepals are hairy and the long red stamens add to the bristly appearance. Viper’s bugloss is melliferous (honey producing) since it produces nectar and blue pollen loved by bees, bumblebees and butterflies.

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Golden ragwort

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Senecio long view

Golden ragwort growing along the New Ireland Road

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Golden ragwort (Senecio aureus) is a tall composite with flat-topped flower clusters. The flowers are golden with sparse rays. The basal leaves are long-stemmed and heart-shaped; the leaves on the flower stalk are elongated and finely divided. The plant is native, and grows on wet ground, in low woods and in meadows.

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Senecio leaf shapes

leaf shapes of Senecio aureus – heart-shaped (green leaves) and divided (reddish leaves)

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Senecio flowers

flowers of Senecio aureus

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These two plants will star in a poem about long-gone flower gardens along the New Ireland Road. Wandering along the road, taking photos and researching the flowers are the first steps to building the poem.

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I will be sharing the poem once I have a draft!

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 9, 2018 at 11:19 am

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

bracket fungi

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On a drive last weekend, we saw this great example of bracket fungi growing on an old maple.

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Bracket fungi belong to a group of fungi called polypores. These produce the characteristic spore-producing bodies called conks. The shelf-shaped or bracket-shaped conks are a reproductive outgrowth of the main fungal body called the mycelium. As with all fungi, the mycelium is mostly unseen since it resides in wood or soil.

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Polypores are a significant part of the forest ecosystem because they are agents of wood decay. These fungi are efficient decomposers of lignin and cellulose.

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On a more fanciful note, the brackets of these fungi always remind me of ‘faerie stairs’, a way to ascend an ancient tree.

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bracket fungi

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in this forest

(staid

practical

grey)

could any form

construe to magic?

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fairy rings

moths in spectral flight

spider webs, witches brooms

burrows and subterranean

rooms, hollows in wizened

logs, red toadstools

white-spotted, mottled

frogs

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bracket fungi

steps ascending

a branchless tree

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(Previously published October 28, 2011 http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com )

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 4, 2018 at 7:00 am

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