Slow and Sweet

The first week back at work is behind me. So far about 70% of my students have returned. No, I don’t get new students. I get the same ones again unless they moved away or changed schools. One of my students is sick, one is still on an extended visit to his home country, one was too busy with appointments to start back this week and another was too busy getting his kids settled in a new neighbourhood / school. Other teachers lose and gain students via promotion through the levels, but my class in a special demographic multi-level class, so I have very little turnover.

I definitely managed to keep the leisurely summer feeling going this week and weekend. I’ve set up my big project table in the main room that gets light from two sides and has a view of the deck / feeders / river. That’s where I was sewing all summer; now it’s where I’ll do my lesson planning each evening.

On Friday Sylvain accompanied me to the Shores of Erie Food and Wine Festival, as Hospice was kind enough to give me two tickets (normally $30 each). The day was picture perfect–neither too warm nor too cool. We sat at a picnic table with a view of Lake Erie and enjoyed samples from some of the best restaurants in the area.

Saturday I ignored weather reports that it would rain all day and was at Point Pelee National Park by 8:30 for a field course in fall birding. What a day! It was pretty much as birdy as it was on Labour Day when I’d struck out on my own. This is my first year to try to bird the fall migration; I’d always assumed it would be too frustrating since many of the birds aren’t wearing their tell-tale breeding plumage anymore. I was so wrong! It’s as much fun as spring migration; the increased level of difficulty just makes for an exciting challenge. There are just as many warblers passing through as there were in the spring, and there are shorebirds too. What came as an even bigger surprise is how easy it is to see migrating raptors. Due to one experience in Toronto’s High Park, I had thought that hawk watching meant trying to figure out what these tiny specks of birds are WAAAAAY overhead. But at Point Pelee there were several Ospreys, Merlins and Eagles as well as scores of Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks  passing low overhead giving excellent views.  After 30+ years of birding, the joy of discovery is fresh again.

After the field course, another birder and I decided to check out the shorebirds at Hillman Marsh. I am still learning how to look at things carefully. What colour are the legs? Does the bill droop, turn upward or is it straight? Is it longer than the head or about as long? What’s the behaviour? What size is it compared to something nearby that you know, like a Killdeer?

I came home and got to colour in the Merlin in my life list colouring book. Another first for the day was Red Saddlebags (dragonfly).

Today has been slow and calm. I’ve done little chores like airing out the feather bed, doing laundry and putting it away, cleaning the droppings and sunflower seed shells off the deck (a daily chore), refilling feeders, planning this week’s lessons, grocery shopping and making a tour of my “patch” for eBird.

Sylvain headed off to Muskoka this morning–the first year in five that he’s going without me. He’s keeping in touch by texting and sending photos, though, which is fun.

What have you been up to this weekend?

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5 responses to “Slow and Sweet

  1. You must really get to know your students well on so many levels having them again and again. How long over all do they stay with you?

    Nice to hear of you and Syl getting out and having fun together. Is it that lovely vacation spot he went to with out you then? boo hoo.

    Happy birding!!

    • Lynn, Your average participant in our program spends about three to six months in each level, and so could get to the highest level that we offer in 3 years. I’ve seen students who come from cultures with strong academic backgrounds (Russian and Romanian, for example) zip through with lightning speed, and I’ve seen others languish at the same level for five years. K

  2. I started a new job :(
    Looks like you are able to find that balance. Kudos.

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