Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pelicans, Pollen and the Poplar Tree

Spring has obviously sprung in Winnipeg... and much earlier than other years.  Last year was wicked, apparently, with serious flooding, extended periods of snow and ice, and no real spring or summer other than a few nice days.  The good weather came in autumn.  So this year we're experiencing a delightful start to the non-winter time in Manitoba.  The river is clear of ice, but still high.  The geese are honking loudly every morning as I arrive near my work building -- there are a few pairs nesting on bulding roofs (good luck to the babies), and they make their presence known.  There are green shoots everywhere. The city is efficiently removing the winter dust and grit, so things aren't quite as dusty as a week ago.  I saw some daffodils blooming yesterday when Kallista, Nicole and I went walking in the evening.  And we've been hearing the woodpeckers announcing their presence with their search for food.

Last week, driving kids home from either rhythmic gymnastics (Nicole) or Honour Choir (Kai and Gabe), we saw a large flock of pelicans heading north along the Red River.  There are some pelicans that hang out near our cottage in a little marshy area near a place we call Pelican Point, and they're great to watch.  The flocks swoop  as a group when they fly, and they can be quite high as they ride the wind currents on their way to open water.  Once the rivers are open, the birds appear on their migration north.  New friends told us that they also see bald eagles along the river, so we'll experience some new bird life here in our new neighbourhood in Winnipeg.

The pollen count is high, so anyone with allergies is reacting.  The big poplar tree on the south end of our yard is dropping buds and pollen everywhere -- when you stand quietly outside, especially when our little four-legged friend is being urged to have a last bathroom break before bed time -- you can hear them dropping like rain drops or ice pellets.  And in the morning I have to brush the yellow dust off the van windows... those winter ice/snow brushes are handy!  The poplar tree is tall and strong.  Its smell takes me back to my teenage years because we had a row of them along the side of our house.  So we make another transition into the new season, and meeting new neighbours, getting to know our new area.  We only lived here for 4 months before we left, so now is the time to make new friends and figure out the ways of the new 'hood.

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