This week has been filled with the magic of flight, whether that is metaphoric or quite literal. This is the time of the season when every variety of wee bird or raptor seems to be in flight training and this year’s observations are even more magical because this is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission and the successful landing on the moon.
Here, a wee Northern Flicker, sound asleep OR knocked out on a paved pathway near the edge of the Bow River. I thought he may have come to a sad ending, having likely fledged from a nearby tree, but, at my prompting, he stirred, panicked and disappeared into the wild flowers, a place that increased his possibilities, I’m sure.
Every new life is extremely vulnerable right now in the river environment and the adults of every species are doing phenomenal things, given the brutal thunder storms, hail and huge winds. Finally, these past two days, we have had a reprieve from awful weather.
I was just 14 years old and living with my air force family on CFB Hornell Heights perched on a hill above North Bay, Ontario when the space program was initiating such wild adventures into the unknown. That summer I would have just finished up my grade eight year with Mrs. Penner at Paul Davoud School and would be beginning grade nine at Widdifield in the city, the following autumn. Mom would have already sewn me summer pop tops and jam jam shorts. I was excited for time at the base swimming pool and my little sister would have been two years old. We had a black and white television set and I would have been snipping out important news stories from the North Bay Nugget and pasting them into my scrap book. (some of them are featured below)
In my record box, (bright green floral vinyl), I had my single-play records including Revolution and I Want to Hold Your Hand by the Beatles. It was the first summer that I would, under my brother’s chaperone, be allowed to attend Teen Town dances.
My entire family was excited about the Apollo Space Mission.
We watched the moon landing, together, on the television. I remember the images. I remember looking up at the moon that night, the silhouette of the huge lilac bush outside my window, and being afraid for those men, so far from home. It was truly unbelievable.
Well, this past weekend, we shared in the memory of that experience, now 50 years ago. On July 20, I read poetry and watched the second eaglet fledge. For me, the day was a celebration of flight.
On the evening of July 19, there was a tremendous storm brewing. I watched, with great amusement as Mr. and Mrs. both fed Jr. #1, the little guy that had fledged three days before. He’s doing well, having flown across the river, and having practiced moving about to a variety of places. Over those few days I was captivated by several close visits, as well as a variety of shenanigans across from me on the river. (most amusing being a middle-aged couple manning kayaks, one that capsized and the other that became grounded minutes before a huge deluge…the two, totally unaware of a family of three Bald Eagles feasting within meters of them). The male Bald Eagle stared at the adult male with a look that made me laugh. I’m posting some of my recent photos, here.
On July 20, 2019, I witnessed the fledge of Jr. #2. I considered this a huge gift on such a special anniversary.
July 16, 2019 (a visit to the river with summer guests, Angela and Preston)
July 17, 2019 (Mom and Dad spent lots of time the first two days prompting Jr. #1 to get up higher. The fledgling seems to ball, especially on Day 1 and the adults patiently convince him/her that they can be relied upon for food, for guidance and for presence.)
July 18, 2019
Meals on the run…sharing treats with Jr….I’m just so surprised that Mr. came directly to me.
July 19, 2020
July 21, 2019
Three visits to the river. On the second, I didn’t have my camera, but I did have the company of Deb Sharpe. Together we watched the siblings reunited on the tree root across from us. Jr. #1 had remained there throughout the night. Mr. and Mrs. shared the big tree on my side of the river to watch the pair of youngsters. It was just so beautiful. The icing on the cake is that one of the adults soared with the Year-old Juvenile that made a visit as well, chasing him, first, out of the territory.
On my evening stroll, I listened to a bag piper sending out his beautiful songs to the river…
Other species have been evident and beautiful…and new songs have been sung. I’ve watched, but not documented American Goldfinch and have really enjoyed the Grey Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Kingbirds. I’ve also really had fun speaking with different people who enjoy my love for the river.
It is a remarkable thing that human beings have traveled into the far reaches of space through manned missions as well as through the use of technology that brings images and science back to us from Mars. It is for us to celebrate the abilities of humanity to accomplish wondrous achievements such as this. However, it is equally as important to recognize the charm and amazing intuitive lessons that are given by other species. It is essential that we connect with this wonder so that we become better stewards of the magic.
I’m wrapping up this post with a song that my mother used to sing to me…among others…but, this one is a good one for this celebration.