Saturday, 13 December 2014

Oshawa Second Marsh
December 13th, 2014

Winter's second punch was stronger than its first, but the effects of it are already fading. The snow is melting fast and with warmish weather forecast, it'll probably be gone in a few days. 

What's left of a Dryad's Saddle fungus on a colorful stump.

With feeders set out for the birds, the Beaver Pond is a common spot to be surrounded by hungry Chickadees this time of year.  They perch on the cattails as they await your handouts.
They brighten any day with their perky, though hyper, attitude.

This one wore a cattail-fluff hat to catch my attention.

There were a couple dozen of them, landing on my head, my camera and my glasses, while they waited for my hand to be clear of others. They don't like to share, chipping at each other as they come and go to the seeds in my hand.

I fed them for about 10 minutes, then cleared a small area and added some seeds before I left. The one on the right was telling the other one to scram... which he quickly did.

One day I plan on trying to capture them in flight, freezing their motion. This shot was at a 200th of a second — much too slow.

One Nuthatch joined the fray. Usually there's a pair of them.

The frozen pools, with their grey-blue ice stretching off into the woods, to me is worthy of a shot.

An interesting pattern on the bark of a giant Birch.

Further along in Ghost Road Bush, kids have put up a few feeders. There are enough regular visitors to the marsh that the feeders will often have some seed in them. A squirrel was enjoying the food when I first arrived. 

This goes by any of these common names: Common Reed, Giant Reed, Giant Reedgrass, or Yellow Cane. I prefer Yellow Cane.

I hadn't made it down to the lake (at the marsh) for a while. It's a bit more of a hike than I'm up to some days, but I made it today. Farewell Creek is frozen over, other than here, where it enters Lake Ontario. At first I thought the lake was clear of waterfowl, but as I looked closer, I saw a few.

The lake looks cold. Good thing that ducks have insulation to keep them toasty warm. I couldn't ID these. Scaup maybe?

This is a string of Goldeneyes.

There isn't a lot of color in the marsh in winter, but there is some. This woman adds a bit more. She was heading towards the lake as I was returning from it. Is she going to feed the ducks?

On my way back  the Chickadees were still looking for seeds. As per normal, this one was scolding another that was wanting to share the bounty. "Get outa here."

I tend to forget that they have a golden hue on their breasts.

If birds can be described as 'cute', then these guys fill the bill.

As I was returning to the car, a couple told me they saw some deer... "just up the way". Well there's no way I'll see them I thought. 95% of the time when someone else spots deer, or pretty much any other wildlife that isn't common, they're gone in a minute or two — if not less.

But in fact I did see a couple deer just as I was about to leave the bush. Just the flash of their white tails, a hundred yards away, as they disappeared. But a glimpse is better than not seeing them at all. :-)

'Twas a good day to be out in the fresh air.

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 -


Sunday, 7 December 2014

On the Path
December 6th, 2014

The snow we had is long gone. When it was here, it felt like it was going to be around 'til spring. We've been given a reprieve. No snow, easy driving, not too cold. 

I like the tree tunnels in all seasons. Add someone walking or riding and I can't resist another shot.

In fall, it's easy to see how good a climber Dog Strangling Vine is.

It's pods twist & turn as they dry out.

I've only seen a few dozen Milkweed pods this year. They were out there. I just didn't time it right or go to the right places. These were on the path today though.

These may look like fungi, but it's a close-up of open seed-scales on a pine cone.

Whatever other colors may be in the scrub, red always catches my eye.

Nature's way. These are Silver Maple buds. The leaves have only been off the trees for a couple weeks but she already has next year's buds ready. They'll patiently wait for spring, when the land will reawaken and we'll come out of hibernation to see the blossoms.

Raspberry canes with the characteristic blue bloom on its stems... so much more obvious this time of year.
The woods at the top of the path have lots to offer. This is target canker on a dead Beech tree.

Though I've seen lots of wood borer trails on fallen trees, these are on a live one. Imagine what's going on beneath the bark of trees we walk by every day.

Notice how intricate the trails are on the right-hand side. Did the bark peel because of the borers?

I've shot this log before. The fungus is only on the growth layers that were recently alive. The heartwood/deadwood in the center is clear. I've only seen this a few times.

These two Eastern Greys were having some kind of stand-off. They froze in this position for a minute or two, and let me get much closer than squirrels usually do. They're both Eastern Greys. Experts tell us the black ones are mainly found in Ontario & Quebec and some northern states. If you're curious about the scientific explanation—they're melanistic. It's the opposite of albinism.

The grey one (half-brown in this case—another color variation of Eastern Greys) is about to enter his nest in this Beech. He finally did.

Judging by the collar around his entry hole, there used to be a branch there. The tree is dead but still standing—a snag. The black one slipped into a second hole just around the trunk from this one. They're both lucky. They didn't need to build leaf nests, like most of their brethren do. Maybe the stand-off had something to do with living in such close quarters.

He popped out to say goodbye to me. The shot is a bit soft—my shirt-pocket point & shoot with it's not-so-good zoom.

A land snail that didn't make it. Only its shell remains.

After leaving the woods, I came across this flop-eared fungus on a colorful log.

An interesting stump. Beautiful coloring. The green fungus is on the recently live layers again, but this time there's a different type of fungus on the deadwood/heartwood.

Depending on the time of day and the light, Black Locust pods seem to vary in color. They persist on the trees through the winter months.

I call this the "Tiny-Pearl" plant. I have the proper name in an old post but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. The white seeds look and feel like pearls. They're rock hard and only the size of a BB.

Black Locust on the left.

Seeing squirrels and other simple things in nature make my walks feel less like exercise. It also means I don't go at the power-walker pace though.

- fini -

Friday, 28 November 2014

Lynde Shores CA
November 28th, 2014

It had been a while since I was at Lynde Shores. It was Black Friday so nature was a much better place to be than in a mall somewhere. Cranberry Marsh is near Lynde Shores so I dropped by there first. White-tails and wild turkey are common in the area. Today I saw a small herd of deer and a flock of turkeys near the marsh.

The deer were a few hundred yards away. I could use a more powerful lens at times like this... but I don't want one. I prefer my zoom. Their white tails stand out, even at a great distance.


"We're watching you, camera guy."

A nice looking buck.

When turkeys are feeding, they hardly lift their heads.

They're quite colorful.

Come on guys—smile at the camera.
Lynde Shores always offers you something. It's a great spot for families. Kids (and adults) feed the animals & birds, so they're used to humans.

Mourning Doves were out & about today... sitting around watching the world go by as usual.

How can anyone not think these guys are cute? Look at the way he's holding his paws... and waiting for a handout.

I love the coloring on this one. I don't recall seeing a brown 'saddle' on one before.

A second flock of turkeys was at Lynde Shores. These two came charging at me like they were expecting something, but then just walked past me—about 3 feet away. They're very tame here.

There were about 10 in the area, but they were dispersed in the woods so you only saw a few at a time.

I felt bad today. I forgot to take some seeds with me. I almost turned around and went back to the car to get some, but ended up carrying on... feeling guilty. Sorry guys. Next time.

Beautiful coloring.

The look, and feel, of fall.

It always makes my day when I see creatures I haven't seen for a time. It's been a long while since I've seen deer or turkeys.

- fini -

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