Monday, 22 April 2019

Oshawa Second Marsh
April 22nd, 2019

Easter Monday. Sunshine & bright, blue skies. A perfect day. Speaking of which I figure we get about 25 perfect days a year. Not too hot, not too cold (as Goldilocks would say), no bugs, not too windy, not raining, not high humidity. A glorious day to be out in nature.

I hadn't been to the marsh in what seemed ages. It was great to see what nature had in store for me as she slowly awakens from her winter slumber. The early signs are there.

I was greeted by a Chickadee looking for seeds. I forgot to bring any. Felt bad, especially since the marsh is partially closed so they don't get many visitors these days. :(

The channel by the berm is clear of tall weeds and grasses now so it's much easier to see any life on it. Trouble is, it's too early for most. I thought the turtles might be out sunning themselves but not a one.

Look like pussy willows but they're buds of some sort, ready to burst open.

Turkey Vultures are passing through in big numbers.  Birders often refer to them as TVs. This was the best my lens could do.

Father teaching son the ropes?

This is kind of a contradiction I thought. These signs are now on the fence that has as its main sign, "No Entry, Area Closed". Fishermen and a few others of us, just walk around the fence since it's only about 50 feet long. 

My excuse is that I'm a director on the Friends of Second Marsh board and I like to check the state of affairs at the marsh now & then. As for others, the city is  of course, just covering its butt for liability issues.

 Coltsfoot... a sure sign of spring. The flowers appear before its leaves do. It's one of the earliest spring ephemerals... plants that come and go before the tree canopy blocks the sun. Often mistaken for Dandelions, they'll be gone before Dandelions appear, other than a few maybe.

Black Knot Fungus apparently attacks trees of the Cherry family. Ugly, but not as bad as it looks. :)

The boardwalk through Ghost Road Bush has lots of bad spots but sections of stronger ones too. The rebuild will be a major one when it's time.

The Beaver Pond.

Work of Pileated Woodpeckers I assume. They don't fool around.

Another of the spring ephemerals... Trout Lilies. Story is that its name reflects its resemblance to the markings on Brook Trout.

This shot kind of indicates the state of affairs in Ghost Road Bush. School children erected this birdhouse at some point.

Vernal pools reflect the blue sky on a day like this. I've seen ducks and tiny larvae in them in other years. Nothing today.

Can anyone ID these for me? I don't remember seeing them before?

These are the early stage of Fiddleheads... I think. It's interesting how many of nature's plants begin their lives in shades of red. That includes Poison Ivy.

Horsetail.We're told it has been around since the dinosaur days... 65 million years or so. They were several feet tall then they tell us. These are 4 or 5 inches now. They're distinctive in this 'pagoda' stage.

These look like porcelain sea creatures to me. Manta Rays maybe? But they're small. :)

I need help with this one too. I appreciate it's hard to tell from the shot, but could they be Giant Puffballs? The shape is right. I kicked the inner brown part and it was almost like kicking air... and brown 'smoke' (spores?) went into the air.

If they are, it was a first for me in the marsh. Last time I saw one was in the Moose Jaw area when I was a kid.

A reminder of areas of the marsh.

At the GM Tower. Lousy shot... my batteries died on my good camera, so point & shoot time and trying to get a shot without a viewfinder, but it does show how little water is visible from the tower now.

Oshawa has been through some rough times lately for 1000s of GM employees but I like to remember what GM has done for the area in the past. They were/are great corporate citizens.

Sunshine feels great on the face but it makes some shots very difficult. I'm past doing much with Photoshop to doctor images, though if I was still up to it, this one needs work... Turkey Tail fungus.

What a wonderful day to be back at the marsh. It's been too long. :)


Saturday, 2 March 2019

A Winter Walk
March 2nd, 2019

I dusted off a point-and-shoot and took it on a short walk today. Jane took her phone and grabbed some shots too. There's a city park across the road from us, so we sometimes walk there.

The view up the path where we join it. We headed the other way today. 

The creek across the street as it begins to wander thru the park.

Cattails sometimes manage to hold their covering thru the winter.

Oaks can hold their leaves all winter.

A jet-black stump... I'm guessing a fungus.

Another stump with fungus... that's starting to turn this stump black.

Weeds can look delicate in winter. 

There's a small pond in the park. We've often seen this pair of Mallards in it. There's very little open water as of now, but they seem to be managing just fine. They were nibbling at something near the surface of the water.

 Do ducks look forward to spring? Or do they think each year that it's not coming back? Just pondering.

Bob & Jane

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Calgary - December 2018

Jane's brother, Stephen, has played Scrooge at Calgary Theatre for the last 25 years. It's been on Jane's bucket list for years to see him play the role. This was the year. We were there on opening night, with it's special touches, including a backstage tour with Stephen.

We had a delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant before the performance, compliments of Stephen's partner, Michael. 

The play was first class... professional and heartwarming. No cameras were allowed during the performance, but I grabbed a couple at permissible times. We had perfect seats. Before the show...

Jane and Stephen and a cutout of Stephen. The similar B&W tops were purely coincidental. :)

After the performance... Stephen removed his wig and asked the audience to participate in "Toonies for Turkeys" to help the less fortunate in Calgary. Stephen initiated the idea early in his career with the help of the cast. With personal and corporate donations, they have raised $2 million over the years. Wow. 

We stayed at a hotel near downtown Calgary. We'd stayed there before but to our happy surprise this time, we had a couple rabbits join us. They're domestic escapees or were set free by someone, but we loved seeing them. We started to look for them every time we went outside.

Suckers as we are for wildlife, we quickly found... no surprise... that they enjoyed muffins and buns which we gladly shared. 

Our rental in the hotel lot. I hate white cars. But white on white is kinda cool. I like to try different rentals... cheaper than buying one... this one was cool in some ways, a pain in the ass in others.

While Stephen was performing, Michael took us to a couple sites in Calgary that we hadn't seen. This is Lougheed House. Some of you will remember the name. An elegant time, when life was simpler. Not necessarily better, but simpler.

A "Christmas Tree" in the house. Not one we'd want in our homes, but clever we thought.

A picture of a picture on the wall. Reminded me of my childhood. A Lionel isn't it?

A cozy nook in the house. Jane loved it. I liked it. :)

The living room.

Michael asked if we'd like to see the new library. I thought sure. But I sure didn't expect this. This is the entrance.

I'm always looking around, so I spotted this scene outside a library window. My kind of diversion. The green bikes are rentals. Pick up, pay, drop off. Or I guess it's pick up, drop off, pay. Whatever.

The library is an architectural marvel.

Jane & Michael on the stairs.

No high shelves... reachable by all.

Levels upon levels. Lots of computers and quiet areas. No crowded shelves. An incredible design. They've taken the 'open concept' to heart.

This is no ordinary library. It will win awards and be a second level tourist attraction in my opinion. But then again, it cost $250 million. That's a quarter of a billion!

Is this what libraries in today's large cites have to do to attract us in the digital age? Maybe. If you go to Calgary, check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

How things can change. I always took my 'monster' camera on trips before. Not this time. These are all taken with my shirt-pocket point-and-shoot. On an overseas trip I think I'll still take the monster, but I may have to reconsider that even. Maybe it depends on where we go. We'll see.

Bob & Jane

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