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  • Krista N Oswald

Almost paradise

Well, there are worse places to be stuck; in fact, there are few places I would rather be at any point in time, but it loses its lustre when it is not your own choice (I want my free will back!). I'm here in Huntsville, Ontario, a place almost as adorable as its name suggests, awaiting paperwork from two government's who seem to be arguing which of them can take longer to process applications (they won't read this, right?). I need Canada to give me a paper saying I have never committed a crime, and I need to give that to South Africa so I can get a new study visa.

And so I wait...

I also managed to stop and visit one of my best friends in Paris on my way back to Canada (a trip planned before the visa issues developed), which was amazing and helped my aged bones heal between flight legs (ah joint pain, how I love that I already have you). I did not mind sipping wine in café's while nibbling on charcuterie with Ms. Bails McGinn and being surprisingly accomplished at Patanque.


There are things to do while I wait, of course, but most of them involve me fretting, worrying, and agitating while I grow increasingly perturbed, anxious, and distressed, wondering who will care for my rockjumpers while I am gone (won't someone think of the childr––birds!). Now, I have an amazing team of supervisors (Ben, Susie, and Alan), who I know will take care of things while I'm gone, like training the volunteers I've recruited and testing new equipment, so all is not lost.

I have been trying my hand at birding in Ontario. By trying, I mean it is much more difficult than in South Africa, as the birds tend to be at least 25 metres above me, and I am not familiar

enough with them to go by sound, so have very little idea of what I am seeing. Pictured on the left are three easy to spot and ID birds that tend to stand out from one another

(downy woodpecker, red-eyed vireo, yellow warbler, female redstart). However, pictured right are what I often see but cannot ID and cannot get good enough photos to really guess what they are (Pine/blackpoll warbler? Nashville warbler female?). Instead of the LBJs (little brown jobs) of most countries, Canada seems to have LYJs.

I will not lot these warblers defeat me!


So, I wait in my apartment while my husband works, and will divide my time fairly equally between birding, knitting, and writing up my behaviour chapter.

As I said, there are worse places to be.

(above are two photos from nearby Algonquin Provincial Park)

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