Sunday, December 27, 2015

Le réfuge faunique Marguerite-D'Youville

Nuthatch

Across the river in Châteauguay is a wonderful park: Le réfuge faunique Marguerite-D'Youville. It sits on an island surrounded on two sides by the Châteauguay River where is flows into the St. Laurence River (the part of the island facing the St. Lawrence -faces the section which is Lac St-Louis). The island was once owned by the Grey Nuns. Some years ago I stayed at the convent (now a hotel) when the Montreal Recorder Society rented rooms for the weekend for a workshop. I've written about this park before
here and here

Nuthatch 3

The nuthatches are amazingly tame - swooping down to feed from one's hand. They are wary of the chickadees and stay away until they see the coast is clear.

Chickadee

The chickadees take turns, perching on nearby branches watching for a moment to dash in. Sometimes they fill their mouths with more than one seed and then fly off to eat.

Landing

You can hear their wings as fly in and then off.

The park has different ecosystems: the forest, the swamp, fields - each with different aspects to enjoy.

Stillness

We walked past the swamp just as the sun had set. The stillness was palpable - broken only occasionally by a splash in the water. Fish? An otter? The list of animals that live in the park is extensive.

Stopping for a Nibble

As we left the park, a buck strolled out of the woods foraging for food. A delightful place to walk!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Unusual Weather

In the Park

I went walking yesterday with my coat flung wide open, no hat, no gloves in balmy temperatures. While it felt nice, it did not feel right.

Crazy Weather for December

For my American friends: 15°C is about 59°F - shattering the previous record of 8.3°C for this date. Christmas? It felt more like a spring holiday. It is not just today's temperatures that feel different. Although we have had green Christmases before, there has always been snow before, even if it all melted again. We have not had more that a few flurries which never lasted more than a few hours.

Fat Squirrel

The squirrels have been taking advantage of the weather to keep eating and put on a little more weight. One article I read suggested that we may have a plethora of squirrels in the spring due to fewer deaths over the winter with their extra stores of fat. This then will result in a bumper crop of babies.

Snow is coming but the forecast is for a mild winter.

Wishing all my friends a happy holiday. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! Wishing all a happy, healthy time full of family, friends, fun, laughter and love.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Quebec City

Assemblé National

We decided a change of scene would be delightful and so - a short trip to Quebec City. This was the view from our hotel window. Usually we stay in smaller hotels or B and Bs but this time we decided to stay in the historic Chateau Frontenac. The lit up building is the Assemblée nationale - the parliament of the Province of Québec.


Chateau Frontenac

The hotel, seen here, sits imposingly over the city. The Quebec Conference in 1943 with Churchill, Roosevelt and Mackenzie King were held here and at the Citadel which is nearby. Quebec City is utterly charming with houses in the old part of the city dating back to the 1700s

Vieux Québec

Each time I go I am entranced by the architecture and by the hardships the European settlers must have faced when they first established a settlement here. This winter has been so mild that there is no snow yet, very unusual for this time of year.

Climbing UP

One thing I admire is the rules for signs in the Vieux Québec. Even international companies must have discrete signs so that the architecture and ambiance of the city is respected.

Colourful Equipment

Quebec is a port city on the St. Lawrence River. Anyone know what all this colourful equipment is used for?

A few days of walking the hills, enjoying the architecture, fine dining and a bit of pampering is a great way to chase away the darkness of the short December days.


I have written about Quebec City before
Here http://susanvg2009.blogspot.ca/2011/03/snow-in-quebec-city.html
and here http://susanvg2009.blogspot.ca/2014/03/bury-your-dead.html