Tony Beck - Photography, Nature and Birding Tours, Local Birding Excursions

Archive for September, 2010

A Naturalist’s Condo

Ring-billed Gull at dusk, taken from my balcony

Ring-billed Gull at dusk, taken from my balcony

Yes, I love my new condominium.
Yet, many ask how a naturalist can enjoy a concrete, heartless building away from the natural world.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
To me, my balcony in the sky offers an infinite view, through the clouds, with a limitless opportunity to experience the natural world.
My recent search for a new home came with many soul-searching questions.
How will my new home satisfy my connection with nature while still helping my business?
I don’t have time to deal with the fuss of a large garden.
I also need to be in a central location with quick access to Ottawa’s greenspace. Most important, I have to be close to the airport in order to make frequent travels more efficient and economical.
Although I’d love to live in the country, this would take me away from one end of the city or the other.
I might even like to live in a migrant trap like Grand Manan or Presqu’ile Park. But, this would leave me too far from an airport.
Then I started looking at condominiums overlooking the Ottawa River, in particular, the Deschenes Rapids beside Britannia Conservation area. The price was right, and the view spectacular. Now everything else simply falls into place.
In the few short months up here, I’ve seen more rare birds from my balcony than a lifetime of living elsewhere. I see them flying over the river, swimming on the water, or resting on the exposed rocks of the rapids. I’ll even hear a few in the woods below.
With my trusty spotting scope I’ve watched Great Egrets collect food for young, Common Terns feeding recently fledged chicks, Red-necked Phalaropes engaged in their spinning feeding action, a second cycle Little Gull, a juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Bald Eagles ripping apart carp, and a lovely male Harlequin Duck escorted by two females.
Northern Ravens, Turkey Vultures and Osprey regularly fly past the windows, close enough to photograph. And the sunsets… they’re wild and dreamy.
Yet, this is just the beginning. Fall and winter are just around the corner. What colourful vistas await with the Gatineau Hills as a background? How many migrating geese and gulls will fly through the orange dusk as they return to the river to roost? What rare wandering bird will venture down the river this winter, to rest on the ice edge below the balcony?
Stay tuned…

To view more images from my balcony, visit my facebook gallery:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=160504&id=596743076&l=199d5ac30e