Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Drive, Fish, Drive, Bird, Drive, Bird, Drive, Fish, Drive, Sleep.

This past weekend was spent driving for the most part. All totaled, I was on the road (or a ferry) for 15 and a half hours. It marked the first time my children drove a long distance without turning into screaming maniacal freaks. Ok, they got really close but we decided to risk missing a ferry across lake Huron/Georgian Bay to avoid it. It would've meant waiting 4 hours in Tobermory and an extra $50 dollars. If you have children, you know it's a small price to pay to avoid two screaming kids in the back seat of your car. Thanks to my lead foot, in Tobormory, we ended up having an hour to kill. It's a nice little port town. They all kind of seem the same. The vibe in Tofino, BC isn't a whole lot different feeling from Tobormory. Though I'd rather be in Tofino any day of the week. We ended up sitting by the water listening to a nice girl busking. Shep even played her Ukelele.

You'd think she was tangle him a bag of cobras.
My daughter is so beautiful it hurts my eyes.
Port of Tobormory.
I had read a trip report recently of a Red-shouldered Hawk just south of Tobormory and Brewer's Blackbirds are pretty reliable on HWY. 6 near Ferndale. But they'd have to wait, as this was a family trip, not a birding trip, if that's even possible. We crossed with a calm lake and the kids loved it. They not only spotted pirates, but also sea monsters. Sadly, neither is good for my big year list. Rachel's dad has built a beautiful house on the island and they have now retired there. When I say he built a house, I mean he personally did it with his own two hands. I'm still amazed at how he got the roof trusses up when there was nobody helping him. He said it was nothing more than an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to disperse the weight so much that one man could do it alone. Whatever it was, I'm still amazed.

As soon as we arrived, Rachel and her mom got the kids busy and Tim, Rachel's dad, and I went fishing. We needed to get dinner. We went over to a spot he has been fishing since winter. There are cage cultures nearby. If you aren't sure what that is, it's where fish are farmed in underwater cages. The fish are shipped daily to Toronto and you are eating them whenever you get rainbow trout at a restaurant. Of course, nature being nature, some of them escape. Lots of them in fact. Much to the dismay of the farmers and much to the delight of the local fisherman. We set up our bait, put the rods in holders and waited, drinking beer to pass the time. In short order, we both had a fish on. Nice rainbows about 3 pounds each. We pulled them in, snapped their necks below the gills and let them bleed out. Quick death is always best. We stuck around for a bit longer and I got one more that was a little bigger. The lack of city smell and noise was incredible. The sound of birds in the trees behind us was a constant. A Black-throated Green Warbler here, a Red-eyed Vireo there, Chipping Sparrows and Chickadees. A few gulls, a tern or two and a close view of a Belted Kingfisher as it flew right past the dock. Suffice to say I was in my own personal version of heaven.

Dinner, part one.

I slept well and went out fishing again at 6am. When I got home, the kids were up and I went outside to play with them. Rachel was tired and needed some more rest. I wandered around the field and pick a bunch. Of wildflowers for Rachel. It was our anniversary after all. We spent too short a time together as I needed to make the 1pm ferry back south. Work was nagging at my head and Monday morning would again be upon me before I knew it. Since I was traveling alone on the way home, I thought I'd stop and try for the Red-shouldered Hawk and the Brewer's Blackirds. The hawk remained elusive but I'd be up again next weekend for the long weekend and would have the better part of a day to get it. The Brewer's turned up pretty easily. I had actually never seen one in Ontario so that was nice. I drove on southward right past a place where there are two nesting pairs of Piping Plovers. I'll get 'em next weekend. They're pretty reliable now that there's babies to feed. I stopped off to fish the Sydenham River south of Owen Sound. It was pretty fruitful. I got several smaller rainbows, one small Brown Trout and a great one pound Rainbow. After two hours there, I was on the road again with a mission to get home with enough light to pick some salad greens and Swiss Chard from my garden to go with the steak that was in the fridge. I ended up picking by flashlight but it was delicious all the same.

Triumph club boards the ferry.
Yacht off the port side.
Sydenham River Rainbow.
Brewer's Blackbird by chuqui.

I write this on the train Tuesday morning and I really miss Rachel and the kids. Luckily work is keeping me busy enough for three people. I picked up the Duster from the shop last night. New wheels and tires on her. Rides like a dream. Here a shot. Mmmmmmmmmm, beefy.

June 26th day list

Brewer's Blackbird

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year

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