Sunday, 31 January 2016

Oshawa Harbour
January 31st, 2016

Had a bit of cabin fever so I went down to the harbour. There was a slight chill in the air, but a very slight feeling of spring too. Wishful thinking maybe.

There were hundreds of gulls & geese on the lake & lake shore.














And a lone fisherman on the pier.














Officially he wasn't supposed to be there. He went around the barrier gate, as many of us do... including me. He soon had a visitor.

I talked to them both after their encounter. The officer said to me, "He might go back on the pier when I'm gone." :-) The fisherman said he was going to call the mayor.














A few minutes after the officer left, these two went around the gate, unconcerned by it all.
One side of the beach was covered with gulls. Kids love chasing them.















On the quiet side of the pier, where the ships dock, Long-tailed ducks were diving for a bite. This is a female.















... and a male. Neither one looks very pretty this time of year.














The male is gorgeous if you catch him at the right time. He looks a bit tattered now, and no long tail.


















Driftwood eventually loses its bark to the waves. I wonder how long it takes.















I was watching the ducks on the east side of the pier when I heard loud goose calls behind me. I love the sound. A big flock was coming in to join those already on the lake.

The next few shots look much better full screen. Just click on the images.















I love seeing large numbers of any of nature's creatures. It stirs something inside you if you're a nature lover.


























We're lucky that nature shares our space in cities. Or that we can share hers. I guess it depends how you look at it.


- fini -

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Winter is Upon Us
January 17th, 2016

We can hardly complain. Late fall felt more like early fall this year. And our first 'real' snowfall of the winter wasn't much either. May it continue.

On the path the other day there wasn't much to take shots of.






















Bird nests fascinate me... that a bird can construct one using only it's beak, feet and some body shoving—wow. Of course science tells us it's just instinct. I'd like to talk about that with the the first bird that ever made a nest. Where did it get the instinct from?















Young birch trees are one of the few that cling onto their leaves through winter.















I've been watching the fungus on this log for a while. Time is taking its toll.















Black Locusts don't hold their leaves through winter but they sure hang onto their seed pods. 1000s of them on each tree. Nature ensures that her species survive.

Snags are popular with bugs, fungus and woodpeckers.
























Some of you have already seen one picture of this hawk. I plastered my online sites with it to try to ID it. My birder friends came through. It's a Cooper's Hawk.

Here's a few more shots of it.















It was a cold day. Notice how he's tucked one foot into his chest feathers to keep it warm.

In this shot one foot is completely inside his feathers. I would guess he changes feet every now & then.




















 



When he showed up the first day it was to try for a snack. There were about 10 Mourning Doves and half a dozen Juncos enjoying some seed.

He missed out but not for long. Jane noticed dove feathers on the ground the next day. Maybe it was a miss. I hope so... but hawks have to eat too.


- fini -

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Oshawa Second Marsh
January 3rd, 2016

I didn't make it to the marsh in December but I bundled up and went down today. It was cold but there was some late day sun... not that it helped much, other than to lift the spirits a bit.

I've learned over the years not to expect to see much in mid-winter. I assumed I'd see chickadees, maybe a white-breasted nuthatch and maybe a downy woodpecker. I saw all three but not much more.

After a few very mild months, winter crashed through the door. I ran into a few others. They were all feeding the birds. Chickadees always show up in good numbers in winter.

















And you can usually count on seeing a nuthatch too. Both eat from your hand quite happily.


It might be time to rename the Beaver Pond as the Cattail Pond. That's about all you ever see there now.














 
It seems to me there are only one or two pair of nuthatches in Ghost Road Bush. In the years I've been going there I've never seen more than two at one time.


















A tree that's made to order for some small creatures.
























We haven't had an extended deep freeze yet so the vernal pools (can we still call them that?) are a mix of ice and some very cold water.















Or in this case, just water.

Here's an odd one. Frozen on one side of the boardwalk, water on the other. Must be shallower on the frozen side. Or maybe it's because it's 4 feet further north. :-)















A snow patty on a moss covered stump. The edges must be warmer. Or is it a wind effect?















This wild cucumber pod was a more golden color than the rest.
























Once you're on the berm you're in full sun. The water channel is mostly frozen. This is the area the turtles frequent. They're enjoying a long rest in the mud somewhere now.
















Late day sun definitely adds to a scene.














Not much to see along the berm for now. It was about here that I turned around and headed back to the car, while my fingers were still attached. 

I do wear warm sheepskin gloves and take hand warmers, but I take the gloves off so much that my fingers still feel like they're slowly turning into icicles after a while.















Interesting patterns on a birch tree, along with some holes from a visiting woodpecker .
 














Rather odd snow pattern on the boardwalk. Could be man-made but I doubt it.














My guess is air currents from under the boards. Any other ideas?

Leaving Ghost Road Bush.















Certain plants hold their leaves through the winter, still green.















Winter, summer, spring or fall, I love Second Marsh.





















A good way to end an outing to the marsh on a cold day... take some fries home for Jane & I to enjoy —  in a warm home.
I did see a white-tailed deer today... at least its white tail, as it flashed it at me 70 yards or so away in the woods. I was alert from then on, hoping to get a second look, but it wasn't to be.

Winter outings are becoming more of a challenge for me these days, but once I'm out I'm always glad I went.


- fini -

The Friends of Second Marsh web site...
A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Looking Back
December 26th, 2015

A topic of conversation around here for the last couple of Christmases has been recounting the ice storm at this time, a couple years ago. Even I remember that. As for Christmas last year, I'm not sure. Seems it wasn't bad if I remember right. We were in St. Catharines then though, which is known for its milder winters anyway.

I went for a walk today on my usual path but didn't take any pictures at all, so instead of coming directly home, I went to the park across the street first. It brought back memories. This was what the park looked like in 2013 after the ice storm. 























 























And this is what it looked like today. Nice green grass. This spot is pretty close to where I took the shot above. I couldn't even get to this spot after the storm. There were just too many fallen trees—some were huge—note the stumps. It took the city weeks to get the area cleaned up—other areas of the city were of a higher priority.
This stump is over 2 feet across.

















The black on the stumps must be some type of fungus. There sure wasn't a fire here. Anything but.

















Not many trees seem to escape wood borer attacks. You only see evidence of them if the bark peels.
















They can make interesting patterns.
















A couple quick snaps before I went in the house. Colour in the garden on December 26th. These are under our crabapple tree. Jane has told me the name of this one at least a half-dozen times—and I still don't remember what it's called. 

Update: Jane reminded me that it's a type of Geranium that has small pink blossoms.

















And this is Helleborus, budding in December—a first for us. Jane picked a couple blossoms from it a few days back.

We were without power for 42 hours during the ice storm. To be on the safe side, we ended up throwing out all kinds of food from the freezer. We kept some but not much. 

We'd checked into a hotel since we weren't sure when the power would be restored. Turned out we didn't need it. We went for a drive after we booked the room, then went home to pack and the power came on. One of life's little adventures that we'll always remember.

Our record-breaking temperatures are slowly slipping towards normal, though there's no snow to speak of in the forecast. That's fine with me.


- fini -

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