Thursday, September 18, 2008

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy...

Magpies are a common sighting up here. I had never seen one before coming up here, and on first seeing them thought they were quite beautiful with their long tails and striking colouring. They are still beautiful to me, but they are rascals... comparable to the blue Stellar's Jay and Crows for their naughtiness.

One thing I learned about magpies from my neighbour is that they often raid the nests of other birds, not the nicest thing to learn, so I kept that little nugget of info from Maria, who is somewhat sensitive about things like that. Maria has been fascinated by them and frequently has tried to get closer to one, but has never had any luck. Until recently.

The other day Maria was trying to tell me about her day and it was obvious something was bothering her. So I am trying to listen through her words to hear what is wrong. She and her friend were playing in the front yard and saw a Magpie nearby so the two girls snuck closer and closer. The magpie flew a little further away and still the girls snuck closer, eventually the bird gave up and flew away and it was at this point the girls reached the spot where the bird had been standing. There on the grass was a set of bird legs.

So Maria is telling me this and saying how bad she feels. I am trying to re-assure her that in nature things like this happen... and before I get much further than that she asks "but how will it land?" At which point I realize she thinks her friend and her scared "the legs" OFF the magpie. After I finished giggling and explaining that no, the magpie still has its own legs those were the legs of another bird, Maria giggled too and was much happier with the knowledge of canibalistic birds than birds with detachable legs...

I am still giggling though.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Last Summer Adventure

Last week we decided to go out in the boat again, this time with the gas motor. We opted to explore the Peace River and put in at the Peace Island Park and went upstream.

It was very different boating in the river, the motor had to work constantly or you would go backwards, but it was fun too. Lots of different branches to take along the river and the need to watch the depth so as to not touch the bottom with the propeller... (we only did that once, but we did it good!)

We got to watch a train cross the bridge just ahead of us, and see people fly-fishing... we saw a lot of beaver evidence, several lodges and a few piles of sticks that I think were attempts at dams but I am not too certain. We went almost all the way up to the big lookout in Fort St John eating lunch along the way and then we floated back down.

Beaver Lodge

Floating down was a lot more fun than going up. For one thing, it was easier. The kids rowed, which means we went in circles like a horrible ride at the fair, and even going in circles, you go in the right direction! So we took our time ging back, drifting and circling... looking to try and catch a glimpse of the beavers that were so busy around there (no luck). We did see some deer and a large eagle with a nest and a lot of game trails but no other wildlife.

We had fun

The Park Warden came by in his boat to make sure we were alright - it was probably hard to tell with all that spinning. We also saw a lovely beach with a river pool that we will have to go back to next summer to swim in. All in all it was a nice time, well Allan wasn't so keen at the end when he fell in the river while climbing out of the boat - but we all had a giggle at his expense, I think it was quite cold by the volume of his howling. Thank goodness I had a change of clothes in the van!

His boots were totally full of water and his whole left side was soaked!