The local wildlife

April 27, 2012

I’m watching the goldfinches at the busy feeder I put out yesterday. They are just getting their breeding plumage and are a comical, stripy mix of yellow, green and grey, and they are stuffing themselves full of expensive niger seed. The feeders are a big part of our day; we love to watch all the activity as the bigger birds try in vain to access tiny footholds in competition with squirrels and chipmunks, and the littlest birds flock in and out, occasionally stopping for a duck or a drink at the bath. We keep our binocs and field guide handy so we can ID any strangers.

Occasionally we spot an interloper: we have a few cats-gone-wild in our neck of the woods. These are presumably the offspring of someone’s pet, perhaps either dropped off to fend for themselves or the result of a brief encounter which their ma’s owner never knew about. If you go onto YouTube and search “cat catches bird”, you’ll find nearly 3000 videos posted by cat owners proudly displaying their pet’s hunting prowess. Wow, amazing cat! Look at that, he just killed another bird/lizard/snake/etc/etc. 

Our wildlife disappears before our eyes and everyone searches for the cause. But the most obvious one is right in front of us: our pets, particularly our cats. It doesn’t need to be this way. Cats are wonderful pets and the world would be a sadder place without the companionship they offer. But if you keep your cat indoors, it will be healthier and will probably live a lot longer. And for sure, your neighbourhood will be a more vibrant place.


That uneasy feeling after Cuba

April 24, 2012

If you have visited Cuba as a Canadian tourist, you know the feeling. It’s a vague sense of uneasiness: loved the place, loved the people, but the unfairness of it, the contrast between your life and theirs, has left you with the sense of unfinished business. This despite all the goodies you brought and left behind; the largesse distributed on such an unequal basis.

Finally a Canadian tourist — well, a travel writer, I suppose — has articulated, in a terrific piece for The Walrus, the injustice. Thoughtfully describing a visit to the area around Holguin, including the under-visited city of Santiago de Cuba, Chris Turner has analysed the experiences he had with Cuba and its people after he left the mummified security of the all-inclusive resort. The result is a must-read for anyone planning a visit to this beleaguered country and especially for those of us who have skimmed its surface.

On Tipping in Cuba, by Chris Turner, in The Walrus, April 2012: don’t miss it.





February 28, 2010

On-site interpretation, Devon Island, Nunavut

Archaeological, Art, Arctic  and Museum Consulting Services and Speakers

Contact Information

12 Moodie Cove Road, Trenton, Nova Scotia, Canada   B0K 1X0

Callum Thomson and Jane Sproull Thomson


Callum Thomson E-mail:  jmthomso@gmail.com

Jane Sproull Thomson E-mail:  jsthomso@gmail.com

Sandi Ratch

Phone:   (780) 352-3836

E-mail:  snratch@telus.net