Friday, 21 November 2014

On the Path
November 21st, 2014

I went for my first winter walk today. Winter doesn't always wait for the date we peg it at to arrive. It's winter here.

It was late in the day so it quickly got colder. The late day sun was shining through the trees though, painting them a gorgeous golden hue. The sight takes some of the sting out of the cold air.

The next two shots were beautiful tree tunnels a few weeks ago. Still kinda pretty with the nice light.

A couple months back, a young kid told me about a wasp nest "further up the path". I never did see it then. It's sure obvious now.

It looks like some grotesque face from this angle.

It's this time of year that you find out how many squirrel nests are in the area. They just look like messy bundles of leaves, but they must do the job.

With the leaves gone, we also get another view of the results of last winter's ice storm.

When late-day sun hits a Yellow Birch, it becomes more obvious how they got their name. That's my guess at least. The horizontal lenticles ('breathing slots') stand out on all birch trees.

At a distance the seed pods on Black Locust could easily be mistaken for leaves, hanging on through winter, much like the oak leaves do. Imagine if all the seeds from this single tree were to succeed. Instant forest.

The Black Locusts on the path are just across the street from our place at the foot of the path. They're slowly spreading. Not a forest yet, but a start.

There's less to see in nature in winter, but we do get to see things that we don't see in other seasons.

- fini -

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Oshawa Second Marsh
November 5th, 2014

Fall has settled on the marsh. The wildflower blossoms are gone. Shades of brown dominate.

Anything that isn't brown stands out now... like this lone Birch tree and a few green and reddish leaves.

Approaching the Beaver Pond.

Lots of geese were flying north. To the corn fields?

It's only when the bark has peeled from fallen logs that we get a view of just how extensive wood borers' trails can be. They look like petroglyphs.

It took me a year or two to figure out that these green 'crawlies' are actually the last stage of Horsetail—so different from what they look like in their early stages.

The vernal pools have persisted most of the year.

Almost all of the Wild Cucumber seed pods are brown now. They're very obvious this time of year, draped over the branches of many of the trees. This green one is trying to hold out for a bit longer. I love the curlicues.

This is what I call 'smear fungus', for lack of the proper name.

Most smear fungus I see is white.

I always enjoy seeing the avian trio—Chickadees, Nuthatches & Downies. The Chickadees and Nuthatches were accepting sunflower seeds today. In the summer months they're much less interested, finding their own food elsewhere.

Both the Chickadees & Nuthatches land on your hand, usually look you in the eye, then check the seeds you're offering. Sometimes they pick one up, then drop it and take a more appealing one.

A Downie dropped by for a look but wasn't interested today.

This young, brilliant Red Oak stood out dramatically against the leafless Ash, etc. Oaks hold their leaves much longer than most trees.

"All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms", they say. I read somewhere that mushrooms have gills. But apparently that's not always true. Another source says that the difference is how the spores are produced, which can only be determined using a microscope. Right. So is this one a mushroom? Who knows.

This fungus was snugly nestled between a tree trunk and its lowest branch.

Another true sign of fall is birds preparing for their journey south. I saw a flock of about 20 Robins in Ghost Road Bush, and later a flock of 30 or so Starlings. The Robins may stay for the winter if they find a good stock of berries.

I recorded the chorus of migrants that were in Ghost Road Bush today. Unfortunately the sounds of the nearby highway compete with the birds, but the birds can easily be heard. It contrasts to summer days in the bush, when birds are nesting and it's almost completely silent. 

Here's a link to what I heard today. It's 30 seconds long. Turning the volume up should make the birds' songs easier to hear over the highway sounds. It's a joyful sound.
                               Bird chorus in Ghost Road Bush 

We've only had a few flakes of snow so far. When will the first real snowfall arrive? Probably sooner than most of us would prefer.

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...

- fini -

Thursday, 30 October 2014

On the Path
Fall & some Tree Tunnels
Sept--Oct 2014

Time is slipping by. Doesn't it always? Tomorrow is Halloween. Then it's November. Makes me think of one of my favourite sayings: "Life is what happens to you when you're busy doing other things." Fall also reminds me of life. Ready or not, the next stage is here. Enough philosophy.

I enjoy the seasons. Winter less so than I used to, but the changes are beautiful. Fall is still my favourite. When the leaves change color, the views are spectacular.

Even Poison Ivy takes on fall colors. Sometimes simple...

Sometimes not so simple.

Some cling, some don't.

Bittersweet berries. They stand out.

I haven't seen many Ladybugs this year. Are they suffering from our extensive use of pesticides too?

I love the tree tunnels. The path is in the heart of the city but the tunnels shield me from the 'busyness' that is only yards away from the path.

On a busy day I meet others, but on a quiet day I have the path to myself.

The woods at the top of the path are a quiet retreat. I'm alone in them 99% of the time. The path through them only adds a few minutes to my walk, but they keep me in touch with another side of nature. In fall, the leaves carpet the forest floor. I enjoy the crunch of the leaves under my feet every year, as though it were the first time I've experienced it.

Young love.

A 'Leaf fan' amongst the leaves... couldn't resist. For non-Canadians, one guy is wearing a Toronto Maple Leaf's hockey team sweater.

Sumach is blazing red at its prime.

Interesting pattern on Wild Grape leaves.

Milkweed... in its early stages in fall.

The most colorful bug I encounter on the path... Japanese Beetle. By the way, all these images were taken with a shirt-pocket point & shoot so some of them suffer.

A favourite of mine. Hard to explain why.

Colorful confusion.

Common Toadflax. I much prefer the more common name... Butter & Eggs.

A prehistoric green caterpillar.

A Scottie out for a walk. Its ears give it away.

Late-day light on some Wild Carrot.

Black Locust seed pods.

Back home... cute.

They get more than their share of the bird seed.

Freedom. I never tire of watching geese fly over. I always listen for their call but sometimes there's only silence.

The temperatures are slowly approaching zero degrees for a low. Snow flurries are getting ever closer. More change.

- fini -

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