Just before we left on our latest 'away from connectivity' loop, Nicole Skyped with her folks. It was their journey to Newfoundland several years back that sparked the conversation that resulted in our actually making this trip. As a result, they have been very excited to re-see some of the things they saw on their own journey and to explore some new ones along with us.
While we were Skyping, her folks pulled out their photos from that time and we started discussing the animals they had seen at Salmonier Nature Park. We hadn't yet considered stopping at the park but it just so happened that we were going to be driving right by it on the opening day of the season.
We sure are glad that we stopped in. It is a wonderfully well designed park, that takes in nuisance or injured wildlife and releases those that can be sent back into the wild. They have now opened a brand new visitor center with some nicely done and informative displays and, to top it all off, it is FREE!
But, once we opened the door to the first enclosure and located its inhabitant, we were mesmerized by this beautiful creature.
We were standing inside the cage! A pretty awesome experience. Did you know that owls do not have eyeballs so they cannot move their eyes inside their head. Instead they turn their necks in a radius of about 270 degrees.
Just outside of the Snowy Owl enclosure we found ourselves belly down on the boardwalk getting a closer view (and photo or two) of the Newfoundland Pitcher Plant (and whatever else happened to pop up). It sure was hard to stay focused and get good shots with all of those other tourists wanting to walk along the boardwalk! Up. Down. Up. Down. Here's a few of the shots we got.
Insects are attracted to the rim of the brightly colored leaves, lose their footing on the slippery waxy surface and slide down into the liquid-filled traps. Downward-pointed hairs prevent the insects from crawling out of the pitcher.
The insects drown in the liquid and decompose through the action of enzymes and micro-organisms (mosquitos and midges) living in the fluid. The plant absorbs the nutrients released by the breakdown of both the insect bodies and of the micro-organisms.
Along the line of carnivorous plants, Nicole has been wanting to see a Sundew Plant. At Salmonier she finally saw one but didn't know it until she got her photos onto the computer. It seems that there was one all wrapped up in a pitcher plant she was photographing.
The Sundew plant feeds on insects, which are attracted to its bright red color and its glistening drops of a sugary substance covering the sticky glandular tentacles on its leaves. It uses enzymes to dissolve the insects and extract ammonia and other nutrients from their bodies. Since the Sundew finds itself in a nitrogen depleted area, the ammonia replaces the nitrogen that other plants absorb from the soil.
In the non-carnivorous family, we saw a few more plants starting to bloom.
But, alas, it was time to move on. Salmonier is, after all, known for its animals and we'd seen only one so far.
This is Buddy. He had made himself a little too much at home in one particular community and as a result picked up the nuisance label. For his safety it was decided that he should be housed at the Nature Park. Buddy has been busy.
All kidding aside, these well designed paws have a split hoof in the front which can spread out and permit easier walking in snow or mud. Not only that but they make great paddles when swimming and are excellent for digging down through a thick blanket of snow to get to the lichen (a Caribous main food source).
We have no plants to segue us to this next creature. Although we can tell you that, as we gazed at some Solomon's Seal, (s)he was watching us for quite some time wondering when we would notice that we were being stared at.
Hope you enjoyed it, as well.
Goodbye for now...