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Gardens of Hope

A garden growing in support of others needing respite and hope

The Dawn Chorus

Posted on June 07, 2014 by Ron Arvidson

Early morning is the friend of Photographers and Birders.  This is the time for some of the best light, and this time of year, the time when the woods are alive with the sounds of the birds that have returned from the south and those that have been with us all winter.  The birds are setting up their territories and beginning the nesting season.

 

Song Sparrow

Normally, the first bird I hear in the morning is the Song Sparrow. He is an early riser and announces the coming day with a loud song that usually ends with a buzz or trill.  They are a familiar song once you have identified them but if you visit another area of the country it may not sound quite the same. Often, the next song I hear is that of the American Robin. It is a song we are all familiar with and one which for most of us is a sound of spring. 

 

American Robin

Soon the woods become alive with the sound s of the birds.  In the distance, the caws of the crows; they are starting their day forging for food or maybe they are on the trail of the fox as he starts his day.  The next sound might be Killdeer, flying high above, letting everyone know that he is on territory and it is going to be a great day.  In the woods, there are a variety of warblers.  One here says “Sweet, Sweet, I’m so sweet!”  (Yellow Warbler)  Another is saying "pleased, pleased, pleased to MEETCHA."  (Chestnut-sided Warbler)  Louder than most, the woods ring  with “Teacher, teacher, teacher” This is the Ovenbird, yet another warbler, whose nest is an ovens shaped dome that sits on the forest floor.

 

Ovenbird

For an early riser the dawn is the best time of the day.

Text and photos by RE Arvidson, a wonderful artisan and an avid Prince Edward Island Birder. 

 

 

 

The Return of the Warblers

Posted on June 07, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton

 

When spring arrives and things start to warm up there one thing that I really listened for and that the sound of Warblers singing in the morning outside my window. Every year I hear a variety of their songs as they scoot around looking for a mate and a nest site to raise their young. Lots of them just pass through and I'll hear them for a while before they move on but one or two will stay for the summer and I will hear them every morning. Last year it was a Black-throated Green Warbler. He sang to me every morning for the entire summer. This year it's another Warbler; the Ovenbird. I hear him every morning calling for a mate and I'm pretty sure he has impressed one, at least, with a perfect nesting sight.

Warblers are my favorite bird to photograph. They are very small and very fast, making them a challenge to capture in a photo but it's such a thrill when I do. We have a large variety of Warblers that nest on Prince Edward Island. Most years more than 20 are reported to the PEI Birders List, with the most popular ones being the Yellow Warbler, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, and the Common Yellow-throat.

Next time you're out around a stream or pond where there is some low brush or shrubs, listen for the Yellow Warbler's song. The mnemonic for the Yellow Warbler is "Sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet". And they are indeed sweet.

If you wish to follow me on Facebook, please do: Shirley Gallant Photography  https://www.facebook.com/shirleygallantphotography

The Gardens of Hope - Osprey Project 2014

Posted on June 06, 2014 by Tracy Gallant

For those of us who enjoy the comings and goings at our bird feeders, this time of year is so very exciting as we wait for new arrivals who have braved the long, arduous migration north. It is fascinating when one realized the thousands and thousands of miles these small delicate creatures successfully navigate yearly through some fairly extreme conditions to arrive in time to find a mate, build a nest, and raise a family. 

Situated along the peaceful River Clyde among the lush countryside of North Central Queens County in Prince Edward Island, The Gardens of Hope is not only a stop off/feeder station for many species of small migratory birds but it also becomes a summer home for many. If you visit, make sure to bring your favorite bird book, hiking boots, binoculars and camera.

This spring, we have made an extra effort to accommodate a pair of osprey, a species known as a tenacious migrator, and have erected a nesting platform by the waters edge. With the assistance Gerald MacDougall, of PEI Fish and Wildlife Division and the Maritime Electric Company, we have chosen an ideal location and installed a modified nesting platform who’s design comes recommended by the International Osprey Foundation. Now we wait for the platform to catch the attention of a new nesting pair.

The osprey is a fascinating and beautiful large species of raptor (bird of prey) that is widely distributed throughout the world. Adult wingspan is 1.5 to 1.7 meters, the osprey’s belly and underwings are light coloured and it’s facial pattern is light with a distinctive bandit mask covering it’s eyes. Females are generally larger than males and show a pronounced “necklace” of darker feathers. Approximately 90% of their diet is fish and they are expert fishers who have the added ability to hover while they hunt.

North American osprey migrate to South America and during their breeding and winter ranges in the north, thrive wherever there are shallow bodies of water with abundant fish. We can expect osprey to return to Maritime nesting sites usually from late March through May. Once the nest site is chosen and the nest completed, 2 to 4 eggs can be expected.

The exciting next stage in our Gardens of Hope Osprey Project will be to install a nest camera (nestcam) on the upper perch/bracket so that we can better appreciate and share the fascinating daily activities within the nest. Being associated with the Center for Conservation Biology and Osprey Watch, we will be participating in a bit of citizen science and contributing to ongoing osprey research. The feed will be a live and viewable online. The Gardens of Hope will work to develop an interpretive program to coincide with the nest and it’s occupants so check back soon or better yet, come visit us at the Gardens of Hope where "We Are For The Birds”.  

 

Special thanks to our partners, Maritime Electric.  

Hummingbirds In Sight

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Ron Arvidson

 

Our spring migration is well underway and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are arriving on the Island.  For me the Hummingbirds arrive shortly after the first flowers begin to bloom.  I usually look for them when I see the first forsythia start to bloom.  Another notice for me to start to look for them is shortly after the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have arrived.  While Hummingbirds are dependent on nectar from flower as a source of food, in spring, when flowers are fewer, they will also access the Sapsucker wells for sap.  The Sapsucker wells also attract insects which provide food for Hummingbirds as well as other small birds like Kinglets, Chickadees and Warblers.

If you are planning to attract Hummingbirds to your yard, you can place feeders strategically throughout your yard and flower beds.  There are a variety of Hummingbird feeders available from any number of stores and shops.  I prefer those that do not hold to much so that they can be refreshed regularly and are easy to clean.  For the first couple of feedings, I usually put out a mix that is three parts water to one part white sugar.  I feel that this with the extra sugar it will attract the hummers to stay around as well as provide extra energy to withstand the cooler nights.  Once feeding is established, I change to the regular syrup of  four parts water to one part water.  There is no need to add any source of red dye to your syrup as the birds are attracted by the color of the feeder and there are some who feel that the dyes may harm the Hummingbirds

You also should provide Hummingbirds with a variety of flowers in your yard if you wish to have them stay around for the summer.  They tend to be attracted to the tubular flowers from Daffodils, Honeysuckle and Morning Glory.  A variety of trees and shrubs will provide roosts, protection and nest areas.  Hummingbirds usually choose a protected sight in a forked brand to build a nest of moss, lichen and spider silk as well as other fine materials.  The nest are around four to five centimetres in diameter and will expand to accommodate the growing chicks.

Hummingbirds are a delight to have around throughout the season and are very entertaining to watch.  Sometimes the aerobatics becomes quite intense as the young fledge and there can be some aggressive displays.  As fall approaches, they will migrate when the time is right.   However, sometimes it is good to leave your feeders out as during the fall Hummingbirds from areas west of ours sometimes stray outside their normal range and you may get to see a rarity.

Photos and Text by R.E.Arvidson

 

Welcome Back Birds

Posted on May 11, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton
It's spring! Yeah! Everyone has a first sign they look for to tell them that spring has finally arrived. For me it's when I hear the White-throated Sparrow. I know they'll soon be skitting around under my bird feeders looking to clean up any stray seeds they find. They do that because there's a shortage of insects and berries at this time of year. Soon they'll be looking for a suitable place to nest which often is under my thick shrubs unless the cat sees what they're up to, and in that case they move to higher ground.
White-throated Sparrows are one of the prettier Sparrows with their bright white throat and yellow lores. Some have white stripes on their head and some have a more buff coloured stripe. Both equally handsome.

The Gardens of Hope

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton
 
Located in the heart of New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island, the Gardens of Hope are 12 acres of natural splendour shaped from the hills and shoreline along the River Clyde. The gardens contain an assortment of pathways, outlooks and structures designed to capture the Island’s natural artistry, serenity and glorious country views. This awe-inspiring setting provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals to reflect and rejuvenate their spirit and souls in an environment of natural harmony and tranquility.
 
Established in 2005, the Gardens of Hope is spread over 12 acres of awe-inspiring natural beauty, the likes of which New Glasgow is so well-known for. With the River Clyde serving as a scenic backdrop, the Gardens have some of nature’s most beautiful elements for visitors to enjoy and receive solace from. There are more than 400 different plants and flowers in the Gardens, making each month’s blooming something to look forward to as the colours come to life. In the orchard, apple blossoms and cherry blossoms offer a delicate sense of reflection, and the sea of blue irises by the riverbank can only be described as relaxing. A section called Eagle’s View is one of several seating areas in the Garden, and it is not uncommon for visitors to see an eagle or two taking flight. Besides eagles and Canada geese, the Gardens are home to many more birds. Visiting bird watchers have been known to have been pleasantly surprised by the wide variety they come across in the Gardens.
 
You are invited to visit this unique garden sanctuary, enjoy some of the most spectacular views on Prince Edward Island and let the sights and sounds of nature be sources of peace, refreshment and inspiration.
 
Within the Gardens of Hope, a Respite Cottage has been built as a place of rest for either individuals, families, or caregivers coping with serious life threatening illnesses. It is also made available to caregivers and those who are ministering to others who themselves are experiencing compassion fatigue. The Gardens of Hope Respite Cottage is available at no cost for those who find themselves in need.
 
 
 
If you are interested in being part of our volunteers, supporting our efforts financially, or learning more about Gardens of Hope, drop us an email at: info@gardensofhope.ca 

The Butterfly House

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Bruce MacNaughton

Butterfly House

Located within the Gardens of Hope is a wonderful little greenhouse that is home to imported tropical butterflies from Costa Rica from June to September. There is a small admission charge that goes to support the Butterfly House operations and The Respite Cottage.

We strive to entertain and delight visitors with an array of imported tropical butterflies through outreach, collaboration and education.

 

Butterfly House Hours