Sunday, 25 July 2010


A little of the beaten track for this blog - a field trip to the Canadian Great lakes and up the St Lawrence river to Quebec. Firstly, it was hot! Around 35 for much of the trip, which contrasts sharply with lows of -40 during the winter! A major challenge for local wildlife. Away from the cities there are huge stretches of deciduous woodland, much of it marshy, crossed by many rivers. These range from huge, slow moving waterways such as the St. Lawrence, to shallow rapids, to powerful torrents through rocky gorges, such as the famous Niagara below.

In cities such as Montreal and Ottawa the most obvious wildlife are, of course, sparrows and pigeons. I can't help thinking why?? How do these species flourish in Trafalgar square, Northern America and (in the case of pigeons) the beaches of Rio? Obviously they are tied to human habitation, but they don't have the environmental protections humans have, let alone the chance to don a scarf or swimming trunks. Yet they seem to do ok.
Cities and towns are fairly rare in Canada though, most of the country is agricultural or forested.

And of course there are migrants, such as myself. One common species being the accurately, if boringly, named Red winged blackbird. The photo here is a male, the females are quite brown and dowdy, as are juveniles. Rwbs fly north to breed and eat seeds and the abundant insect life, before returning to the southern US for the winter. Apparently, most of the native American names for the RWB have exactly the same meaning, it just seems to be what people notice.

Anyway, more indigenous wildlife includes deer and moose in the woods, at least evidenced by road signs warning drivers of their presence. By the same principle, Canada's seas contain Killer whales, according to this totem in the excellent Museum of Civilisation in Ottawa.

Next time, back to nice cold Brazil!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice your trip to Canada!