Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Pounding Waves at Twillingate

My recent visit to Twillingate, on Newfoundland's northeast coast, inspires this departure from my usual bug postings.  Just 2 days ago on December 26 I was in the community for a visit.  The province had experienced a few weeks of strong winds and high tides. Normally at this time of year the snow has arrived making hiking trails inaccessible. Not this year.  The trails are wet but there is no snow. I left Durrell and hiked towards the expansive and beautiful French Beach.  From there I followed the relatively new trail to French Head. The area marks kilometers of high cliffs, forming right angles with the Atlantic Ocean  The winds were howling but the trail is set safely back from the cliff edge.  The reward?  An amazing display of high, fast waves crashing in the cliffs, a sea of boiling white foam and the air filled with a salty mist.  The soundtrack was the incredible roar of the ocean.  I regret that I had no pics or video - left my camera home.  :(   It was a real treat going to bed that night in Durrell - falling asleep with the dull roar of the pounding seas in the background.

My most recent had been in July when Twillingate and French Head are the opposite of the above. Warm breezes, a jewel of a blue ocean, wild berries every where and the occasionally Humpback whale passing by.  The pic below is taken from French Head and shows Spiller's Rock. 

The area is well worth a visit - whether it be July or December!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Carpenter is a Sow Bug!

The Sow Bug is a small humble little guy.  They are common in gardens though tend to stay out of sight.  Sow Bugs seem skilled at getting into your house as well. This is especially true if you have an older home or one without a finished concrete basement.  In Newfoundland they are commonly called wood lice, carpenters and even boat builders. 

Sow Bugs can be found gathered at near rotting wood so are considered pests by some.  However most of the time they are content to remain in their natural environment where they feed on rotting plants.  In many damp outdoor spaces they will be present under rocks and other objects.  When they show up in your house it tends to be a solitary mission and they are very lost. Just a convenient oasis when the outside weather turns cold.

Sow Bugs are crustaceans and have lots of ocean-based cousins.  They are about the size of your fingernail and are black or dark brown in colour. Usually they are not much longer than your fingernail.  Sow Bugs have 7 pairs of legs and are quite safe to handle.  Kids are intrigued by their slow movement and safe appearance.  

Next time your see one inside - pause and pick it up by holding each side gently.  It's probably the least squirmy bug you'll encounter.