Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

Wye Marsh Hummingbird Festival

July 16, 2013

July 12-14 was the Hummingbird Festival at the Wye Marsh.

Bob and Martha Sargent came to the Marsh from Alabama and attempted to band some local hummingbirds.  I need to stress that their work was extremely difficult and required a number of permits.  Ironically, as Americans, they needed locals to qualify for the permits and their own students, Bruce and Jo Murphy of New Liskeart, were the official supervisors.

Before the event, we were only seeing one bird at a time at the various feeders and this could have meant as few as one in total.  At the end of the first day, with zero birds caught and banded, we were concerned.

Luckily, Bob never stops talking and is constantly entertaining.  He had a great number of stories and details to share.

On Saturday and Sunday, two birds each were caught.  Below: after banding and measuring the bird, Sargent placed it on a spectators hand in “an unnatural position, such that the bird didn’t realize it was free” and we were able to see it quite closely.  Eventually, the bird would fly off.
sunday hummingbird (2)

The bird above looks drab, while the one below is iridescent. It is the same bird and the colors depend on interference patterns in the feathers.sunday hummingbird (7)Here, Sargent is examining a female to determine mating status.  He blew with a straw on the feathers to expose the belly and cloaca.  Quote, “Did you hear a giggle?”  This one had laid an egg in the past twenty-four hours and may well have another developing inside.

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Another female unaware that it was free.sunday hummingbird (1)

A male.saturday hummingbird fest (7 b)

Before releasing the birds, Sargent would hold them up to bystander’s ear so they could hear the heartbeat.  The hummingbird’s heart beats at around 250/minute at rest or in his hand and around 1200/minute in flight.saturday hummingbird fest (10)The banding and public viewing took place some distance away from the traps.  At the traps were the Murphys.  In this picture, Jo and Bruce are on the left, holding fishing line which kept the trap doors on the right open.  The traps were little more than bird cages with hummingbird feeders inside.  Again, permits are required to do this and criminal charges can be laid if you try this at home.  In the middle of the shot is Bob Bowles, a locally famous ecologist who has a show on Rogers Cable.  He shooting was quite extensive but I cannot find it available online.DSC09166 b

Ray and Mary Nason were the chief organizers of the event.  Here they are, sitting on “Mary Nason’s Hummingbird Hideaway”.saturday hummingbird fest (2 b)

On the same weekend, two swans on the marsh grounds were found to have cygnets.DSC09203 b

Below are bands for swans and hummingbirds, Ontario’s largest and smallest birds.  This picture was quite well received on Facebook.
one swan 25 hummingbird bands

CTV’s coverage of the festival.

The Marsh’s website.

Arrowhead Provincial Park and more (Second week in Canada)

February 21, 2013

Feb 11 to 15 was TLG’s first (and only, as yet) full week of school as his first and third weeks both had snow days.  He has settled into school and enjoys it.

We are still working on finding food for him and getting him to try new foods.  He likes ham sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches and has eaten great amounts at supper but we can’t find much in the way of fruit that he will eat.

The weather has continued interesting with bitter cold followed by thaws, driving snows followed by rain.  Indeed, this week (really our third) there have been two snow days with the latter one entirely justified but the former a poor example of prediction.  The house quickly becomes cramped and boring for a seven year old so he prefers to go to school, nearly as close as the one in Korea and less than ten minutes on foot away.

Penetanguishene’s Winterama was on the weekend and we watched the parade Friday night.  The parade was short as many school teacher unions are recommending against participating in after-school events.  Also, some schools had problems with the theme “The War of 1812”.  In watching the parade, I saw a lot of references to local history but none specific to our War of Kicking US Butt.  I do understand, in a general way, that we shouldn’t glorify war but it is also local (European, and so recorded) history and this region has more of that than much of Ontario.

Anyway, we enjoyed the carnival Saturday morning and TLG saw his first bit of hockey.  Although I am thoroughly Canadian, I was too uncoordinated to enjoy playing the game and so never pushed the sport on him.  I did enjoy the camaraderie and sportsmanship I saw on Saturday, but TLG was non-committal.  He rode a pony, a hay-wagon and a snowmobile and we watched some of the “polar plunge”.  I think the Busan Polar Bear Swim has spoiled me for lesser events.

That afternoon, we went to Bracebridge and visited with friends.

On Sunday, we went to Arrowhead Provincial Park to skate and tube. Good times but would have been great -and still well below freezing – if it had been ten degrees warmer.

We also swam at the fantastic Bracebridge pool, enjoying a slide, a full size pool, a kids pool and warm-tub.

Monday was “Family Day”, a new holiday that allowed us to spend more time with my Bracebridge friends.  We tobogganed at Kerr Park in Bracebridge and loved it although I had a bad landing and really felt it the next day.

Tuesday and Wednesday (today) are snow days here.  Yesterday threatened freezing rain but was only warm and dry.  Today, there is a lot of blowing snow.  I like it.

Our first week in Canada

February 11, 2013

Here is a brief look at our first week in Penetang, Ontario.  I am on my mother’s computer and don’t want to take too much time on it so a lot of this post will be terse to the point of being cryptic.  I am writing this post more for my memory than for international scrutiny.

Just before coming to Canada, I had one last hike on a small, local mountain and finished the hike in my T-shirt. The day before leaving, The Little Guy (TLG) and I rode our bikes to Eulsookdo.
last mountain


Jan 31: Long slow drive home – often terrible visibility.  Went to sleep early, up at 3:30 for the day

Sat Feb 1: Midland winter Carnival.  Candy cannon and dog-sled ride


winter carnival saturday (4)


Here, re-enactors fire the Candy cannon, much as the originals would have done to fight the Americans in 1812.  Britain had access to sugar cane and so worked to rot the American’s teeth.

Sun Feb 2.  Visited the Wye Marsh where my mother volunteers.


feb 3 (10)


feb 3 (28)


Mon, Feb 3: First day of school, chose a cat


big snow (3)

Tues, Feb 4: picked up cat “Colino7” from the SPCA.  Colino7 is a four-year-old neutered cat that apparently lived outside for a month or two before being brought in to the SPCA.  I say apparently because the volunteer at the pound pointed out that she only had the drop-off person’s word to go by and that wasn’t always trustworthy.  The cat is amazingly laid-back and has quickly adjusted to living in our home.  TLG, who loves the number seven, named the cat.

catWed, Feb 5: I drove to Toronto to Korean Consulate, and Barrie Drive Test for Ontario drivers licence

Thurs, Feb 6: Vet checkup for cat. All good

All this week, TLG watched a whole lot of TV – Treehouse channel

Fri, Feb 7: Big snow, buses cancelled but TLG went to school -only 20 students total.  Lots of fun.  We met Alex’s teacher, Mrs D.  She called TLG “Brilliant” regarding math.  She repeated that he helped his classmates on the math problems.  She had started him on Grade one spelling, which he is motoring through.  I thought it strange that he learn those words at a slow rate -I considered pushing him in that regard -but they are the basics of letter sounds and phonics.  I guess she knows what she is doing.  He has a good friend in class, Tyson, but is quiet in speaking to the full class.
skiing feb 7 (4)

feb 3 (1)b



Saturday, Feb 9: Big tobogganing day at Midland’s little lake park hill.

snow fort (8)


  TLG dressed in his hanbok and we recorded a bow and new years greeting in korean for YN and family.


lunar new year facebook (2)


 Made a snow fort and played inside.


Sunday, Feb 10, played in snow fort.  We shopped for Valentine’s Day card stock and a ‘ministick’. This is a tiny hockey stick that the kids use at recess at his school. Full size sticks should not be brought to the school but similar sticks are available for gym class. TLG was surprisingly quiet and cranky at the time.

He is still watching a lot of TV -no friends to visit or evening activities organized yet.  Perhaps due to the move and the changes, Alex needs me to hold him and sing lullabies to put him to sleep.
TLG has been uncomfortably interested in death and pets.  His questions have put my and Nana’s faulty memories on display.  We have told him about the cats Little Man, Blackjack, Tailor and Mums and the dogs Midnight, Misty, Buddy, Kingkong, Mr Mugs and Snoopy and I am happy to relive the good memories of these pets.  Still, he has asked how long these pets lived and how they died.  As I noted in our last visit to Canada, he asks similar questions many times possibly to ensure he knows all the details and understands them clearly.
Now that he has a pet of his own, he seems to be preparing for that time, probably when he enters university, when his cat will pass away.

World Expo: Meh

June 21, 2012

I guess not may people are attending the Expo.  Not as many as Korea had hoped, anyway.  Various branches of government offices are required to buy so many tickets and my wife kinda-sorta volunteered to do so at her workplace.

I was surprised by how close Yeosu is to Busan.  I looked at Google maps and asked for directions- it would have sent me way North to Daecheon before returning South to the expo for a travel time of over six hours.  Instead, we drove it in under two-and-a-half.

Getting there was pretty easy although we didn’t see any Expo signs on the expressway (number 10, if you are curious).  Once near the location we found signs for the Expo -go straight, and for Expo parking -turn right.  We turned right and drove through the grittiest industrial area I have ever seen.  There were a lot of signs for parking and that was the only thing that eased my fears that I was heading into a scam.

It wasn’t a scam, but it was a grim place for parking.  The free shuttle bus took us to the Expo.

I guess there is a gallery of images below.  I had wanted a long row of photos that I could add commentary to, but I guess in WordPress, that is only possible if you place each image individually, not as a group.  Commentary below the images.

We got to the gates just before nine and onto the grounds quickly.  We first went to the Aquarium and though we didn’t dawdle, we did end up -at 9:20- in a line where we queued for more than two hours.  We were lucky to have brought drinks but the little guy could have used some snacks as well.

The aquarium was good but not that much different from Busan’s.  The Beluga whales were interesting to me but didn’t hold the little guy’s attention for long.

He did love the Turkish ice cream men who served acceptable ice cream with great showmanship.  I had seen the act before but even still, I dropped to the ground to catch the cone when he ‘dropped’ it.

Somewhere in the pictures are the only spinal boards I have seen in Korea, the world’s first ‘surfboard’ (suck it, Melvin!) and some images for Kind Fun Labs.  At the lab, we walked in, and played with huge amounts of flour.  In the next room we played with huge amounts of rice.  The picture of me nearly buried in rice? That is my nightmare after a long weekend at the farm.

The fish robot had a frickin’ laser in it’s head!

To cut this short, almost everything that was interesting had long lines. The international pavilions were okay but felt underdone.  Despite the complaints I have heard, there was plenty of English.

At the end of the day -we left around 7:30 – I thought again about the strange location for parking and found some rationale for it.  Several of the exhibits were focused on ocean life and how to preserve it or exploit it.  Not all the exhibits were positive but most were and I think the parking -in the midst of a huge industrial zone at the water’s end – balanced those points well.

If you get cheap tickets, or will be in the vicinity anyway, check it out.  If not, don’t bother.

Check out these reviews from other bloggers:

Pro, con -also via ROK drop.

enjoying the winter

February 14, 2011

More photos to follow.

I can understand that some in Muskoka don’t care for the winter, but I only experience a ‘real’ winter for one month every three years.  We’re having a lot of fun in Ontario!

wearing my Cecils.

December 26, 2010

Years ago, my family visited our grandparents and grandpa met us at the door wearing two different plaids.  I was oblivious to the contrast until my  sister exclaimed something like, “He looks like a table cloth!”

Its just as well I hadn’t noticed.  I would probably have made the same comment but in front of him.

Suddenly, there I was today, in my Cecils (that was grandpa’s name, if I hadn’t been clear on that).

The pajama bottoms are a gift from my mother as is my little guy’s vest.

Here he is checking out the Dinosaurs Adventure Board Game, which I am now translating into enough English that we can play it.  The name is in English, as are the names of the game pieces and the dinosaur names but it seems to not be a simple case of taking an English game and translating it into Korean.

We spent Christmas working at ‘kimjang’ – making kimchi.

In this photo is a maternal aunt of my wife.

Here are a few more photos of the week:

My view of the recent lunar eclipse – obscured by clouds.

The little guy impersonating a mannequin.  It looks a little better when he does it in a store next to the real thing.  Two years ago, we would look at the mannequins with the support rod piercing one leg and exclaim, “ouch” in sympathy.

Today he is performing Arirang, a lullaby and possibly more on the xylophone at a concert with his kindergarten classmates.  Check out his carefully prepared hair!

Merry Christmas, all!

December 24, 2010

Just a note to let you all know I am still alive.  I enjoy blogging and plan to continue but have yet to find my voice in Busan.  Hmm, sounds like I need to make a New Year’s Resolutions Post.

Early Hallowe’en festivities

October 31, 2010

WordPress doesn’t allow video uploading without paying for an upgrade, and Youtube has “voluntarily disabled this functionality [ the uploading of video] on because of the Korean real-name verification law.” *

So, to see the terrified teachers and hear the terrified students at my university, you need to visit creativitiproject.


*I prefer to link to sites when I quote from them, but it looked like the link for my personal page – accessible only after signing in.