Tag Archives: birds

Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island

Feathers in the Dusk of Night-Hughes Island


I don’t know a lot about Mississippi Lake, and thanks to the kindness of the Card family I was able to see an amazing sight Monday night. If you have no idea like I did, one of the smaller islands on the lake is called Hughes Island. In the middle of the lake here is Green Island, which had that name before it was bought as a cottage site in 1915 by Mr. W. J. Hughes. If you want to be technical they say the estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 131 metres– Latitude. 45.0501°, Longitude. -76.1661°  and the sun comes up these days about 04:57 and we saw dusk take place at about 19:22.


I had no idea Hughes Island is kind of a “Jurassic Park sanctuary” for a species of Phalacrocoracidaes.  A Phalacrocoracidae is a family of some 40 species of aquatic birds commonly known as cormorants and shags, and there are cormorants on that island with one giant nest as a look out.  Approaching the island we could see “a raptor” in the nest of one of the trees, and Sean said it was an Osprey– but did you know that Peregrine Falcons, Loons, Bald Eagles, Osprey and Herons are also frequently sighted in these local habitats.


The Ospreys and Herons also breed inland from the lake, for example in the nearby Scotch Corners Wetland and these birds are prolific island colonizers. They birds living on small islands like Hughes Island don’t need large flight muscles for powering rapid escapes and are built to catch fish.

Their talons, powerful wings and hunting technique give them a success ratio and their feet are uniquely adapted to grabbing what is essential to them. One of the biggest things is that they are potentially the only bird of prey that never takes its eyes off their prey. Ospreys dive feet and head first into the water, and that is where one of these poor birds got into trouble a few days ago. If you see the bottom two photos one of these amazing beautiful birds died a brutal death, strangled by fishing line, and left to hand forever in a tree.


Miles and miles of line are sometimes improperly disposed of being tossed into water or onto land. Most bird-catching incidents happen when the line tangles around a bird as it flies past, but sometimes, birds like gulls or gannets will eat a bait or lure and get hooked somewhere in the beak. Last night as the sun sets I saw first hand that fishing line kills and some of the birds sat united on the branches around the deceased as we approached. No doubt that they understand that there is strength in unison.


As I kept staring at the birds I saw no emotion or fear coming from them.  I realized I had never seen any form of wildlife feel sorry for themselves as they understood that we only part to meet again. A lesson for us all.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Hughes Island on the map. I am Ross Gravelle. My Grandfather secured the lease on Hughes Island in 1941 E.B Gravelle. There was a cottage on it then but burn down in the 1980’s and it was sold by my family to an Ottawa University professor in 1970 the year after my grandfather died. I had a lot of fun on that island as a child in the 1960’s

Ross D Gravelle

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.


Miracle at Mississippi Lake-John Brown Jr.

Tales of the Mississippi Lake- Believe it or Not!

The Phantom Light on Mississippi Lake

CPHS Students Declare War on Mississippi Lake – 1973

The Cottages of Mississippi Lake — Carleton Place Ontario

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

Lake Park Lodge – Queen’s Royal Hotel- Mississippi Lake Carleton Place Ontario

Carnival Diablo out at Generations on Mississippi Lake 2011

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Birds Gone Wild!




Today a few 200- year old Maples were taken down, and this afternoon the crows went wild for over an hour. What were they saying? What did they mean? Was it more bad luck on the way?


All that cawing isn’t just noise; they’re talking to one another, and doing so in a very advanced fashion. Scientists debate whether or not crows actually have what we call a language. But why it’s a debate at all is somewhat baffling: Those same scientists also readily acknowledge that crows have regional dialects, a difficult thing to have without a language.

While it’s true that sometimes a circling crow is scoping out carrion, and they have been known historically to circle battlefields and other places where people have died, there are other reasons a crow might be circling. There is no reason to assume that this behavior is a portent of death or bad luck.

Researchers believe that the ability to recognize humans is an extension of the crows’s ability to recognize each other, which helps them to warn one other about potential predators. This also means that if — oh, let’s stop kidding ourselves here — when they rise up against us, the crows will remember who threw out those tasty bread crumbs and who thought it was funny to spray them with the hose.

Aren’t crows the ones in Yellowstone that work in tandem with the wolves, stalking prey and circling it to let wolves know where it is?  Do I welcome these new crow overlords with joy?

Damn, now I’m a little terrified.

What Was Going On at The Carleton Place Herald Office With the Birds and the Bees?



Owning a bird as a pet has been popular since the Victorian era, when the parlor was not considered completely decorated unless it had a canary in a very small brass cage residing on a table in a corner. In Victorian times British finches were hugely popular as cage birds throughout the British Isles, often replacing canaries. Due to a lack of protection, thousands of birds were captured for the pet trade every year.

News Office Canaries

Canary Birds, warranted first class singers, for sale at the Herald Office.

June 9, 1880.

Lost. Some Tame Canary Birds. As they will fly into some house, their return to the Herald Office will be thankfully received and suitable rewarded.

June 28, 1880.


Newsman’s Bees

Bees! A few hives of bees for sale at the Herald Office. March 13th, 1865.