Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival

Pictures are ready!! Have a look at the photos from my trip to Tobermory last weekend.

All of the workshops at the Bruce Peninsula Orchid Festival were terrific, but I think my favourite (after finding the orchids) was the morning spent bird watching with the National Park’s avian expert. I never imagined there were so many different kinds of birds around me when I walk in the woods — I mean, you hear bird sounds, but who knew that they were flycatchers and warblers and wrens and grouse? I always assume they were robins or blue jays or sparrows.

The young fellow told us that the most common bird in our forests is the Red-Eyed Virio. I listened to the call, and looked at the bird through binoculars, and it stuck. So much so, that every time he asked us what bird was calling at a particular moment, I’d sheepishly reply, “a Red-Eyed Virio?”. It’s the only one I could remember. When he cheerfully admonished me, someone at the back piped up, “well, she’d be right half the time!”. A nice chap, he knew his birds. At one point, he pulled his truck over and leaped out, and bent over to pick up a dead bird. It was ordinary-looking, but in fact, he told us it was a female Scarlet Tanager headed north to breed. He pulled on her wings and showed us feathers and seemed reluctant to put it down. We assumed that mourning was the appropriate response, until it became clear that he was pleased with his find and that it was headed for his freezer. Apparently the Park is putting together an interpretive display and stuffed roadkill will be the starring attraction, eventually.

Speaking of roadkill, on my way home I was thrilled to come across my first close-up look at a Turkey Vulture, squabbling with a seagull for some flattened groundhog on a country road. It had a bright, naked, red head. A bunch of his cronies were in the field beside the road, apparently resting after a good meal.