Sunday, 10 June 2012


Andrea Carver, and a fellow hiker friend, Helen, are here in, Newfoundland & Labrador, visiting from Calgary, Alberta.  Here, in Ferryland, they stop for a packed-lunch break on the very edge of a daunting precipice with a long drop to the, craggy, shore-lined rocks, below.  Little did the ladies know, what a stupendous show they were about to take in, while they enjoyed their respite.  It isn't uncommon to see icebergs along our, Eastern, North Atlantic Coastline, this time of year.
However, these ladies timing could not have been better placed. For as they sat to enjoy their luncheon view, a climber departed from a small two person dingy boat, and proceeded to mount the side of the massive iceberg before them.  Using ice picks, the iceberg climber/jumper assented to the top.  Once summited, he wandered around on the icy surroundings a bit, and surveyed his now, new launch platform!  Because folks, what goes up, must come down.  And come down our ice climber did, in spectacular fashion!  He walked to the edge, and looked down, (this would be enough right there for most of us to hail a SAR helicopter), but not our climber, he calmly walked back, paused for only a second and then, without hesitation, made a brisk walk to the edge and with ice picks raised in the air as if in a sign of triumphant victory, leapt from the edge and free-fell to the icy, specular, cold North Atlantic Ocean.  The audience waited with baited breath and a moment later our helmet-clad, wet-suited, human of skill and brave-heart, bobbed to the surface.   Timing, is everything when you to sit to have your lunch along our, East Coast Trail, and for our visiting friends from Alberta, who sat down to enjoy theirs, it could not have been better.  

All Photos and Writings on this Blog are, Copyright © Shawn Michael Fitzpatrick

Photos and journal by, Shawn M. Fitzpatrick

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cape St. Mary's, Ecological Reserve

Today, I will be going back in time a couple of weeks to a road-trip to Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland.  Located on the Southwest protrusion of Avalon Peninsula, Cape St. Mary's, is a hotspot this time of year for a lot of, seafaring birds.  Gannets are what I went to see, and see them I did.  Bird Rock, is about a half an hour trek over very easy walking terrain and is nothing short of AMAZING!  With 11'000+ nesting pairs of Northern Gannets.  10'000 nesting pairs of, Common Murres, 10'000+ nesting pairs of Black-Legged Kittiwakes, Razorbills of 150+ nesting pairs, Black Guillemots of 60+ nesting pairs, and Thick-Billed Murres at 1000+ nesting pairs…well, throw in the common, visitor/breeder Cormorants, and Humpback Whales, and you have a spectacle to truly behold!  The collective sounds emitting from the cliffside's that rise from the Cold North Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of feet below, is simply breathtaking and frightening at the same time.  Here are a few of the photos I snapped that day, two weekends ago.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The "Rusty Blackbird" is rather a RARE find!!

The Rusty Blackbird is found in swamplands and is more generally at home in a beaver pond location, than in your clothes dryer outlet hose, or a farmers field!!

No, this bird is not to be associated with the so-called nuisance birds of the extended Blackbird family, such as the European Starling, which is quite at home in with your household dryer hose, or the Brown Cowbird, terrorizing farmers by consuming their seed crops. 

If you look hard enough, you can find him!

 There is a Rusty Blackbird in that thicket, and I saw it, and subsequently located and photographed it.  The distance that I saw this forest thicket from whence I stood was about 200 yards, maybe more.  But even from that distance I saw the flicker of it's telltale eye and knew immediately, that I had the Rusty Blackbird in my sights!  Was I excited?, You bet!!

Rusty Blackbird foraging in the swamp muck, from whence it feeds.

Rusty Blackbird perched atop an old deadwood that had drowned long, long ago.  It was amongst a whole bunch of other Black Spruce trees that died when a Beaver dammed a small creek in the swamp.  This is Natures way!! 

Look closely, you will see him here  foraging for invertebrates to munch on!

Copyright © 2012 by Shawn Michael Fitzpatrick, all rights reserved

Believe it or not, this bird is rather a rare find!  (The following in quotations, is excerpted from the hyperlink at the bottom of this blog).  "The rusty blackbird is considered a species for which Canada has a major responsibility in terms of conservation, as our boreal forest is home to approximately 70 percent of the global breeding population. They are on the Audubon Watch List, and listed as Vulnerable by the World Conservation Union."    I found a breeding pair  today.  If you think that the changes to environmental laws and regulations will not have an impact, THINK AGAIN!!!

Read the entire article here if you wish to be a little bit more informed on the world we share with so many!