Sunday, 21 July 2013

Honey Harbour - Cottaging on an island with Ospreys.

Our cottage/home was rented for a week so we visited with our ex-neighbours at their island cottage near Honey Harbour. We drove up taking back roads. It takes longer but its much more pleasant. We went through an area with Mennonite farms, passed some buggies on the road and George wondered, out loud, if they can use mechanized farm equipment. Within minutes we saw 3 rakes, each pulled by two horses, being used to turn hay.

Aimee met us at the dock and took us the 5minute boat ride to the island. Aimee and Greg's grandchildren were there so we had a taste of grand-parenting for 3 days. Aimee and Greg are the best grandparents: homemade chocolate ice cream, swimming naked, exploring the rock island across the bay, fishing, swimming some more, picnic at the shore for lunch every day ....... I have to say it was exhausting but so much fun.
The water is very shallow, perfect for children to swim in. Aimee and Greg have a foam platform,
called an Aqua Lily Pad,that is great for kids to climb on and jump off.
There are also two floating chairs to hide under and get tipped off.
After the kids left we could get down to some serious relaxing, interspersed with kayaking, walking the boardwalk to the dock and swimming. We had great fun with Aimee and Greg, playing cards, great meals and caught up on each others lives and families.
George and I took a long kayak in choppy weather and it was a great work out - good excuse
to relax the rest of the day.
The boardwalk from the dock to the cottage is quite long and getting longer as the lake levels drop.
 Greg has measured it and Aimee recons that if she walks to the dock and back 6 times
she's gone a mile.
Their cottage, otherwise known as "Heaven".
Although there are lots of cottages around, it seems very private and, especially when kayaking in the bays and marshes, there is lots of wildlife around.
A Merganser with 18 babies.

The tragedy of the week occurred during the violent thunder and wind storm that came through the area on Friday afternoon and evening. We had been working on a wood working project and had to scurry to get everything put away. The shallow bay whipped up into huge waves sending the aluminium boat bucking like a bronco. Trees bent and broke, the canvas top of the gazebo ripped off, the kayaks came adrift, the flag pole was knocked to the ground. But worst of all; the Osprey nest with 2 babies in it was destroyed. I had been taking pictures of the Osprey family all week
The nest sits on a pole that is about 50ft from the dock.
There is always one adult on guard at the nest while the other forages. At least a couple of times
a day, one of the adults would fly back to the nest carrying a fish. Aimee and Greg have also
seen them bring back small rodents, snakes and even a young beaver.

Aimee and Greg have had the cottage for about 10 years and Ospreys have always nested on the pole. They raise from 1 to 3 young and its quite exciting seeing them learn to fly. This is the second time a storm has taken out the nest and Aimee is going to contact the Osprey Society, that maintains the nesting sites, to see if they can install some sort of rim to try and give the young more protection.

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