Nature: Warm days, cool nights mimic spring

Fall is such a colorful season, but the leaves can disappear in one wind storm and the landscape switches to a wintery look.

Tamaracks, one of our evergreens add a lovely yellow for a long time but in a flash these trees too become bare until next spring. From my observations this fall, yellow dominated as the fall color.

All the way from the tree line in Labrador to Mount Desert Island the highways and mountains were shades of yellow and a joy to see.

Now is a good time to get out and roam our local beaches to see what the high waves have left. The seashore is always showing something new especially in the patches of seaweed left by the waves.

Gulls and shore birds know this well and search there for food. Eagles, crows and ravens are also keeping watch there for dead seals or other food. All throughout the year the edge of the sea is a source of food for all sorts of wildlife.

In my recent journey that included parts of the coast of Labrador we found beaches covered with old whale bones left from former whaling days. In a small town called Red Bay there had been sightings of polar bears that had drifted down on the ice this past spring.

I’d like to see one of these large and fierce bears but from a healthy distance and safe position. The young son of a local game warden there got up early one morning to use the bathroom and discovered a polar bear making a hole in the side of the boy’s house. He alerted his father and the bear was chased away and later captured.

The black bears living on this island with us are entirely different in behavior. They are vegetarians for the most part, even though they might happily eat a hamburger or ham sandwich found in a town dump. Loud noises can send them scooting out of your yard.

Friends in Trenton have several bears regularly coming to their yard at night. Soon the bears will be looking for a nice place to sleep for the winter.

Warm days and cool nights now prompt spring behavior in many creatures. A few peepers may call and eagles sometimes do courtship antics. A friend watched two bald eagles one morning with one eagle flying upside down underneath the other. On the ground they strutted and spread their large wings and quivered in front of each other. The length of day now is like that of spring and gives wildlife warm weather thoughts.

Canada geese are flying on migration, often honking as they go. This is one of those special wildlife sounds heard floating down out of the sky. These large geese fly in that well known V formation or sometimes in a long single line.

On their journey they change leaders from time to time. The leaders honk to the flock and the flock honks back at frequent intervals. I love hearing that sound at this time of year.

On my trip north I several times saw gannets over the ocean. They can also be seen offshore here as they look for schools of fish. These gannets are twice the size of a herring gull and they have long, stout pointed bills, relatively long pointed, rather stuffy-beaten wings and long pointed tails. Gannets appear pointed at both ends. Watching them dive for fish from quite a distance above the water is an exciting sight. Sometimes you can see them from Seawall Beach or the causeway.

Getting out into a bog is quite difficult but one day we discovered a wonderful boardwalk made possible by Joe Diamond in Glovertown, Newfoundland. It covers several acres and enables walkers to walk where normally it would be quite impossible. It is also wheelchair accessible. We were able to walk and easily see all the wonderful bog plants!

Cranberries were abundant. Pitcher plants were easily spotted. Normally walking over a bog would be almost impossible.

I wish I had been there when the orchids were in bloom. The boardwalk had not really disturbed life in the bog but it provided a great way to see it and to get some exercise. What a wonderful gift it was to this community!

Jays are particularly noisy this month. Canada jays we met in Newfoundland and Labrador were very friendly and almost took sandwiches from our hands as we were about to take a bite! Bluejays are not that pushy!

We slept one night in a treehouse in Terra Nova Park on the eastern side of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was like being in an acorn-shaped capsule up in a tree with a marvelous view of the sky and surroundings. It was a clear night sky — lots of stars in a dark sky and then a full moon. A very nice experience!

Send any questions, or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742.

Ruth Grierson

Ruth Grierson

Send any questions or observations to [email protected] or call 244-3742.
Ruth Grierson

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