• James Parry

Parrywinkle November 24, 2016

Let's go wild this week. For it seems that just about at every turn these past few days, I have come face to face - well, figuratively speaking - with the wonder of wildlife in our little community by the Lake of Two Mountains.

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ON THE WILD SIDE - Beginning with the fabulous flocks of Canada geese and assorted duck species once again gathering in the bay before swanning off south to warmer climes. More ducks on Pine Meadows, formerly Pine Lake. Reports of at least two big antlered buck deer doing their best to avoid crossbow hunters - yes, it's legal in Hudson - out Como way.

Foxes just about everywhere - including a magnificent specimen right on my front lawn last Friday unlike some I've seen while driving west this past summer on Main Road that look long past their prime - that are apparently having a field day snacking on the riotous rabbit population that has reportedly thrived this past summer.

I was intrigued to discover, by the way, that cats are not on their menu. Seems they have learned from bitter experience that felines have sharp claws and are best not to mess with. Field mice, voles, and squirrels make for much easier prey.

Then, of course, there is Canada's newly-named national bird, at least by The Royal Canadian Geographic Society, the awesome avian Grey Jay, a cousin of the raven and crow that spends its entire life in the boreal forests right across Canada and nowhere else on Earth. And known by our Native people as Wisaked-jak or Whiskey Jack. That, in my ignorance, I never even knew existed. Come on. To be honest, did you?

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FOR THE BIRDS - And so it was that I headed down this past weekend to one of Canada's most respected wild bird conservation centres that, believe it or not, started out in a barn built in 1837 and which for the past 20 years has been providing professional and compassionate care to injured and orphaned wild birds from throughout the region all year round.

I'm speaking, of course, about Hudson's Le Nichoir Wild Bird Conservation Centre at 637 Main which, just a couple of weeks ago, officially opened its new 560-square-metre building. I caught up with executive director, Susan Wylie, who showed me around. Wow, was I impressed!

For over and above specialized bird care areas that include a clinic, nursery area, and a kitchen specifically designed for preparing feathered-friendly meals for the birdies, there is a classroom open to groups wanting to learn more about birds and their habitat.

All of which will be open for guided tours for the entire community this Saturday, November 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And where one will be invited to walk the trails of the Clarke Sydenham Nature Reserve and get in some early Christmas shopping at the Centre's La Plume Verte Boutique. Where, incidentally, my beautiful Sunshine bought an Audubon Baltimore Oriole to add to our growing collection and which - at the push of a button - is now chirping away as I write.

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PARTRIDGES & TURTLE DOVES - Oops, now I need a wildlife segue into other events that I have been covering these past few days - or will be covering - now that the festive season is upon us and Christmas Day is just - at time of writing as is clocking down on our website – 30 days away. Sheesh!

Ah, I got it. The carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, first published in England in 1780 without music and as a chant or rhyme and actually thought to be French in origin. For as the first three verses go:

On the First day of Christmas my true love sent to me

a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me

two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Third day of Christmas my true love sent to me

three French Hens,

two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Yeh, kind of repetitive, I know. But at least I got my link! And, after all, I much prefer it to the Mall malaise of The Little Drummer Boy!

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HO. HO. HO! - So here goes. Together with Mireille, I stopped by St. Mary's Parish Hall for the first of our town's church bazaars just after nine on Saturday morning and their famous chicken pot pies were almost all sold out. Then off to the people-packed Alena Kirby Boutique on Harwood celebrating its 30th anniversary in fine style - with what has to be the most impressive in-store Christmas tree for miles around - while welcoming early Christmas shoppers from throughout the region and serving up delectable nibbles.

This Saturday, November 26, we will be heading over to St. James' Church, 642 Main, for their Christmas Bazaar running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. complete with hand-made wreaths and sprays that always sell out fast, a Christmas boutique, bake table and attic treasures. The very same day, and continuing on Sunday, the Hudson Christmas Craft Show will be at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, 394 Main, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. raising funds for the Westwood Senior High School IDP (International Development Project in Honduras) with live music and some 25 different vendors participating.

And then on Saturday evening, there's the Wyman Annual Turkey Dinner at 513 Main with sittings at 5:30 and 7 p.m. and for which tickets can be picked up at May's Studio, 459 Main, and the Church Office by calling (450) 458-4912.

Permit me a personal observation here dear readers. No question that all are praiseworthy and worth supporting. And all are volunteer run. But all, in essence and on the very same day, competing for our time, commitment, and disposable income - albeit for a good cause when perhaps we have other things and priorities to take care of at home with family and friends. Just a personal comment. And I'm not sure what the solution, if any, there is. But I respectfully suggest that it does bear thinking about for next year!

Oh yes, still in the holiday spirit, on Monday night, November 28, at the Hudson Village Theatre, 28 Wharf, Royal LePage Village, is once again hosting its Annual Auction in aid of the Fireman's Christmas Basket Fund opening for viewing at 6.30 p.m. and with the bidding starting at 7 p.m. with all funds raised going towards Le Pont/Bridging food bank.

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BAGGING IT AT IGA - And here's another marvelous initiative in support of our local food bank. This time on the part of IGA Sobeys in Hudson. Learned from manager, Louis Thifault, that the store - in support of La Guignolée and more specifically Carol Laws and her team - has pre-packaged two sets of much-needed non-perishable items with each bag going for $10. Check them out just to the right as you enter.

Pick one or more, pay at the cash, and they will be picked up by Carol or one of her dedicated volunteers the very same day for sorting and subsequent delivery to individuals and families in need this holiday season.

Says Carol, “It is so appreciated. Former owner, Michel Poirier, and IGA have been supporting us for many years now. And we are pleased that the tradition is continuing.”

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FAREWELL CLAUDETTE - In closing, and still at IGA, like management, staff, and so many shoppers there, was saddened to learn of the passing last week of Claudette Demers after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in August. For the past three years or so, Claudette - the sister of Jacques Demers - was the lady one went to at the sampling counter to check out and taste specials being offered that day.

She was always so positive, professional, gracious, and a true ambassador at large for the store. And she will be missed!

P.S.: Enough of this B.S. rumour sweeping through town that the IGA store in Hudson is closing following sightings by some early shoppers of management and staff crying last Thursday morning. According to the usual negative nabob suspects who always seem to delight in reporting - often unfounded and just based on gossip - bad news about our community, and who put it down to them having lost their jobs. In fact, it was all because of Claudette's passing. Get a life folks!

And that's a wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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