I hope you all had a happy Easter. I flew back to Toronto for Easter and spent it at my sister’s cottage in southwest Ontario. Not as sunny and warm as in Rome but we had a good time nevertheless, with a traditional Easter Egg hunt in the garden on Sunday for the children, something we have done for years. One of the ‘children’ is now a parent with two little children of her own so the tradition continues. Not-yet-two-Norah didn’t quite know what to make of this but she soon got the hang of it. The fun was in the finding more than in the eating and there was plenty to find as you can see above, so that kept us all amused for a while since even those of us who had hidden the eggs couldn’t remember exactly where we had hidden them!
In the afternoon, we went to Long Point, the longest freshwater sandspit in the world and a UNESCO Bioreserve. A unique habitat, which is also a stopping point for migratory birds. Every spring and summer millions of migratory birds stop here on their way to, or back from, their breeding grounds. Bird Studies, Canada has a bird banding station there so that they can track the route of the migrations of various species.
There are nets strung up between the trees where staff and volunteers constantly check for trapped birds. The birds are freed, tagged with a metal band on the leg, weighed and assessed for fat content. The amount of fat provides a measure of whether or not they have just arrived (no fat) or if they are ready to take off again (a lot of fat). All this is done with remarkable speed and efficiency and the birds are flying off again within less than 20 minutes.
There are other stations worldwide, which do the same sort of thing and the numbered tags, which are part of a database, indicate the route of migration. The time when the bird was banded is also noted and indicates how long the bird has taken to reach its destination. A Rose Breasted Grosbeak was determined to have flown from Long Point to Colombia within 36 hours which is amazing enough to be miraculous. It was a fascinating insight into bird migration, something I had never thought about much before.
We finished off Easter Sunday with a delicious dinner of roast lamb. It was a lovely way to spend Easter Sunday and I felt lucky to be there for the weekend.