Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do adult ravens trick juvenile ravens to keep the best food for themselves?

When I watch birds I most watch common ravens close to home. I don't go for long treks across boggy ground to see them; they tend to show up around where I live. I suppose they come around because I feed them: eggs, lard, cheezies, meat and other stuff.
Right now I get visited by two adult ravens and about four very noisy juveniles. I suspect that parents have kicked them out of the nest but they still follow their parents around to beg for food.
Today I watched some interesting interaction.
I threw an egg and one of the adults took off with it; pursued by two juveniles. The adult started eating it, they kept whining and eventually the adult abandoned it to them. Feeling sorry I threw another egg and the adult grabbed it. Then something different happened. The adult dropped the egg by the edge of some tall grass and headed into the tall grass and came out with some rolls. I recognized them as ones I had thrown out earlier; the adult had cached them in the grass.
The adult started to eat the rolls. The juveniles approached. While this was going on another adult raven came and grabbed the egg and took off. The first adult broke up the rolls and gave pieces to a juvenile. Eventually two juveniles grabbed big chunks of the rolls for themselves.
It left me wondering: was this a deliberate strategy to divert the attention of the juvenile ravens while the adult raven removed the egg? Eggs, after all, are a favourite food.
If you want to see more pictures of ravens take a look at the ravens gallery on my website.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Winch driven ferry at Gardiner.

Photographs of the Gardiner ferry.

Coming back to Moosonee we usually stay overnight in Cochrane and catch the train in the morning. This trip we got into Cochrane early and decided to take a drive north on highway 579.
Our goal was the ferry at Gardiner, about 20 miles north of Cochrane. It's a quiet drive on a decent road through peaceful country to get there.

We came on the ferry suddenly; the road turned and headed down to the Abitibi River and there it was.
It is a small ferry, a couple of vehicles but it is big enough to handle the demand. It doesn't have a schedule; it runs when there are people who need to use it.

We grabbed a couple of shots, drove down and drove on. We went across to the other side of the river then drove up the hill and bank down to come back across.

Afterwards we got to talking with Alex Carriere who was the operator of the Cassiopeia IV, something he has been doing for a long time. Alex showed some pictures of the ferry and its predecessors and described how it works in the winter.

Coming from Moosonee we are used to people driving vehicles across the river but here was a new twist. They keep running the ferry until people can drive across beside it. That I would like to see sometime.

The ferry is winch driven. When you look at it you see that there are two guide wires to that keep it in its channel; when you look more closely you see the winch cable that runs along one edge to propel it back and forth. Apparently it is the last winch driven ferry in Ontario.
After making the trip ourselves we decided to wait around for the next run and get some pictures from the shoreline. That took a while, it was more than hour before another vehicle showed up. Fortunately, it didn't rain and the bugs were not terrible. Finally got a chance to get some shots of the ferry in operation.

Pictures of the Gardiner ferry.