I take my dog on long walks every weekend (provided it’s not raining – she’s a bit of a princess that way). We have a few loops that we both enjoy, but they’re all pretty urban so there’s little chance of seeing unusual wildlife. Red squirrels, hares, crows and magpies are pretty standard fare.
Until two weeks ago. On one of our regular routes in our west-end neighbourhood, a set of wings caught my eye as it landed on a lawn we were walking by. I glanced over to see how close it was and saw that it was simply two magpies. They landed side by side, monitoring our movement cautiously and, although their shape and size were identical, from the beak shape to the long tail, their colours were far from it.
The second magpie was the most beautiful smoky grey with white accents. I didn’t have my phone with me to take a photo, but I was excited to share the news with my husband when we got back. He cocked an eyebrow as if he didn’t believe me, so I Googled an albino magpie, and lo and behold, there is such a thing, a “leucistic” magpie.
The following weekend was dreary and overcast, and we planned a different trail to take. As we walked westbound on 95 Avenue, a bird landed on the boulevard beside us. The ghost magpie. I giggled to myself and looked up at the heavens. Of course, my phone was at home.
The take-away? Go exploring, enjoy the outdoors, and always take your phone with you.