A home anywhere is made special by the people it entertains. Today I’m posting this for George and Kathy who have always made our home more special be being our neighbours and by becoming our friends. We’ve laughed lots over the years! They’ve encouraged us and given us opportunities to share and enjoy the experience of our book. They make great pizza! Who doesn’t love a neighbour who makes great pizza 🙂 They’ve shared their beautiful family with our beautiful family. Sadly, George has not always been as willing to share his birds with us … which has led to even more laughing! (Because they like us better … but don’t tell George … lol)
“SUGAR POINT’S BIRD ESCAPADES”
By Lisa Lysen (Published)
“Hey! You’re stealing my birds!” a voice bounces playfully across the deck, as a little hummingbird floats between yards. Good neighbours and humour always livens things up at the cottage.
But with all the birds in the Interlake, we’re in no hurry to send our visitor back, even with that cute comment.
An hour’s drive from Winnipeg, Sugar Point on Lake Manitoba offers the beauty and solitude of lake living within arm’s reach of the city. And a big part of what keeps things interesting is the birds coming and going as the months roll by.
There’s beautiful plumage and colour all year long with constant seasonal change-ups of purple martins, robins, finches, flycatchers, barn swallow and grosbeaks, to name only a few of our treasured guests.
Each year in a quick, fiery blaze of orange and black Orioles make our home theirs for a short time, enjoying citrus fruits we put out.
Sugar Point is on a migration route, giving this piece of Lake Manitoba an extra dose of charm. As much as possible,the landscape is left intact. There are bulrushes and rocky patches all along the beach, the rugged beauty often adorned with birds fishing, swimming or simply sunning themselves, enjoying the day!
The natural splendor of the shallow shoreline is a draw for swans as ice comes off the lake in early spring. They stop only briefly on their way north but enjoying their company for the time they share with us is pure magic.
And seeing them lets us know better weather is just around the corner!
Taking a walk along the same bewitching shoreline in summer can suddenly take a very scary horror movie twist when a booming “Baah-RONK” echoes from surrounding reeds. Especially when frogs and all those gentle marshy sounds go deafeningly quiet!
As much as it may sound like a swamp monster, the bittern actually looks more like a harmless reed from a distance. A dull brownish color, it stands with long neck stretched upward, beak pointed toward the sky. Bitterns eat small aquatic creatures hence the sudden quiet when one starts talking.
Sugar Point Trail mid-summer is an enchanting sight. Bulrushes sway rhythmically beneath yellow-headed blackbirds. The bright yellow, dark black contrast against wheat-colored reeds and greenery spreading out over fields paints a spectacular prairie scene.
Red-winged blackbirds join in, adding a cheerful pop of color to the mix. Blue herons fish in ditches and sand hill cranes feast on crops in bordering fields. Many varieties of woodpeckers can be seen climbing trees everywhere.
Over the summer we watch families of ducks and geese grow up. We also host pelicans and eagles. Sandpipers and plovers bounce along the beach and there’s certainly no shortage of seagulls.
Killdeers practice their broken wing routines leading real and imaginary predators away from nests and hawks frequent telephone poles watching for movement that might become prey, as do ravens, magpies, even owls.
Starlings chase crows across the sky, a reminder that there’s a constant battle going on within the bird world.
As fall becomes winter the bird scene changes drastically but stays colourful and entertaining just the same.
Chickadees, blue jays,cedar waxwings, wrens and nuthatches take turns at the feeders with juncos and finches. Sparrows join in, hopping up and down, chattering. Before long the snow is covered with tiny footprints and scattered shells.
Whatever the season, it’s great laughing with neighbours and enjoying the bird escapades at Sugar Point.