We went for a long hike in the Assiniboine Forest on Sunday afternoon. Dave as always was on the lookout for birds to photograph. He was shelling peanuts and eating them as we walked. A little chickadee kept landing on the trees along the trail right beside us.
“I think that bird is interested in my peanuts,” Dave said. “I bet it can smell them.”
Dave told me to crack a peanut and hold it in my hand. He figured the chickadee might land on my hand to eat the peanut. And it did!
I kept putting new peanuts on my glove and the chickadee kept flying in, landing on my hand and diligently pecking at the peanut bits until it had managed to pick one up. Then it flew away to eat its tasty treasure. Later I found out this is typical behaviour for chickadees. If they visit a bird feeder for example they will take a seed and then fly away to eat it. How delightful to feel the chickadee’s delicate little feet on my fingers and its sharp tiny bill tickling my palm. The bird was truly light as a feather. I was amazed that this little chickadee would trust a stranger and sit on my hand as if it were nothing more than another twig on a tree. Up close I could see the chickadee’s white cheeks and sporty black bib. Its black cap seemed to be pulled down over its eyes.
According to Jennifer Ackerman author of The Genius of Birds, “Chickadees are generally unfazed by people… they possess a deep-rooted self-confidence, and will investigate everything inside their home territory.”
Oh to have the confidence and curiosity of a chickadee.
On Monday I did another training ride for my Croatia bike trip. I shared the middle section of a 35 km. ride with my friend Gabe. She is training for a bike trip of her own in the Baltic at the end of August. Gabe introduced me to the beautiful Harte Trail. I wondered how the trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail got its name. I discovered the Harte Line was the first section of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built in western Canada in 1894. The Harte Trail runs through the forest on the old railway bed. We had the perfect day for cycling, sunny but with a steady breeze to keep us cool. The trail is gorgeous and there is wildlife to enjoy. Gabe and I ended our time on the trail with a picnic in Assiniboine Park. Besides training runs, I am preparing for our bike trip by reading books set in Croatia. The book I am currently reading is Girl at War by Sara Novic. I am also continuing to learn new facts about the country each week. I have learned that………The iris is the national flower of Croatia. Croatia is famous for its strudel called savijaca. It has apples, curd cheese and other delicious things inside. Croatia holds the record for the longest strudel ever baked in the world.
Photo by Andrej Šalov from Wiki Commons
In the city of Zadar which is along the route we will drive before starting our bike trip there is a sea organ. It is an architectural sound object, a kind of experimental instrument that creates music using sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps. This was part of a project by architect Nikola Basic to reconstruct the broken concrete wall along the sea after it was damaged during World War II.