Thursday, 25 June 2015

Oshawa Second Marsh
June 25th, 2015

Rain showers were predicted but the light looked good for nature photography, so I went down to the marsh. I'd just put on some repellent and it started to spit. Judging by the sky I didn't think I'd get too wet under the canopy of the trees, so I pressed on. I did end up getting a little wet as the rain stopped & started, but not enough to worry about. 

Parts of the boardwalk are closed so it was a fairly short visit. Rather than climb over the fence at the Beaver Pond, I did the right thing and turned around. It's the first time since I've been visiting the marsh that this side was closed off. Nature takes her toll.

But enough of it was still open to make the visit worthwhile. When it's been a few weeks since I was at the marsh, I really just want to see what changes I might spot. As always, there were a few.

Cow Parsnip. It's quite tall so it makes a nice border on the path.
It looks good in the woods too.

Ghost Road Bush is mostly shades of green now. The rain makes things look even greener.

A Mayapple patch.

There's still some Wild Phlox (Dame's Rocket) around.
But its time is coming to an end.
Land Snail

'Snake Spit' — our name for it as kids. It's foamy bubbles from a Spittlebug.

If you separate the spittle you might find a spittlebug larva—a small green worm. If not, he's moved on. They're everywhere this time of year.


Wild Rose

Bees get most of the credit for pollination, but some flies contribute too.
A few of nature's tangled bouquets.

The Bedstraw reminds me of Baby's Breath that we put in our bouquets.

Daisies are still a favourite of many. The yellow blossoms are Bird's Foot Trefoil.

Looking like fall. Heaven forbid.
These Egrets were a few hundred yards away. Best I could do with my lens.

They're well away from where any humans can approach so they get to enjoy the marsh undisturbed.
Swans joined the party.

A lousy result but I like the pose.
I wanted to confirm that the boardwalk was closed from the other side too.

It was. This gate looks more permanent.

Bird's Foot Trefoil. Its blossoms look a little odd—to match a rather odd name. On our way to St. Catharines, we saw tons of it along the 407.

I've taken this shot many times over the few years that I've been visiting the marsh. It's taken from near the bridge in the above shot. Almost too much growth to make it interesting. It reminds me of overgrown rivers I've seen in jungles in South America.
This is what it looked like in winter a few years back. Not long after I got this shot, I started taking the scene through the seasons, so I have quite a selection of images of it. It's changing though. Part of the tree on the left has collapsed as the creek bank eroded. You can see it in the shot above (fallen in the water) if you look closely—with the image enlarged—just click on it remember.
And here we are — almost the end of June.

- 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...

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

On the Path
June 1st, 2015

I hadn't been on the path for a while. The Black Locust trees at the start of the path are blooming, with many of the seed pods from last year still clinging to the branches. 
  The flowers are pea-like.

Dames's Rocket. Other common names include Wild Blue Phlox, Woodland Phlox, Wild Sweet William, Summer Lilac, Sweet Rocket and Mother-of-the-Evening—some appealing names. I wonder who started them. And when. 

They add a welcome white, pink and mauve to the ditches on the path.

It always adds to my walk if I see one of nature's creatures. There were two for a few seconds. The other one was much shier and he quickly slipped into the nearby bush.

Dog-strangling Vine (Swallowwort) is blooming now. It's an unwelcome invasive that spreads like wildfire. The tiny, burgundy, star-shaped blossoms are pretty though.

It's already started it's habit of twisting around itself and anything else it meets. If you try to walk through some patches of it, it catches around your ankles. I can easily imagine it strangling a dog—if the dog got tangled in a bad patch of it.

It's time to be careful in the woods again. Not just because of the ticks we're being warned about, but because Poison Ivy is going strong now. 

Look for the three leaves as they always tell us. Two are 'joined at the hip' on the stem and the third is on a short stem at right-angles to the other two. The leaves tend to be irregular on many plants—not symmetrical. Some leaves have quite smooth edges, others are jagged.

At their earliest stage they're often reddish—though I don't think that's always the case. I'm not sure on that point.

To be on the safe side, heed the little rhyme that warns us:
 "Leaves of three, let it be."

Solomon's Seal with its clothesline of buds—an escapee from someone's garden.

Birch tree catkins before they've even thought of opening. The Birch has been known as the "Giving Tree" since pioneer days, because of its many medicinal uses.

'Til next time.

- fini -

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Oshawa Second Marsh
May 24th, 2015

May almost slipped by without my visiting the marsh... the wrong month for me to miss. A lot appears in May. I think I caught most of what happens, but just.

I can't pass a nice Dryad's Saddle and not take a shot.

The Mayapples are well on their way. Many seem taller than usual this year.

Mayapple blossom—there were a few.

Wild Geranium stand out in their soft pink.

A shy toad.

Most trees have reached full leaf.

On warmer days, I always look for the turtles in the water-channel by the berm. I wasn't disappointed today.

A fishing rod in one hand, a wagon with his son in it in the other, and accompanied by his daughter—nice to see a fisherman bring his kids along. We compared notes on the turtles. The young girl said she had a turtle at home. She was quite happy to see one in the wild.

This one must have picked up the red coloring from something in the water.

I don't see many Puffball mushrooms. These are the small variety, about an inch across. I'd love to see a giant one. Saw one as a kid somewhere, but none since.

A Trumpeter male on guard as the female was feeding. He was sporting two tags.

A spikey hair-do for the water.

Not much of a shot but I think it's something we've all seen—a small bird harassing a large one that is too close to its territory. It always makes me think of war movies where the smaller fighter planes are attacking a bomber.

Foam Flower amongst some Mayapples... thanks Michael.

The section of the boardwalk between the berm and the bridge over Farewell Creek is in a sad state of disrepair. In fact, access to it is blocked off from the bridge side, though not from the berm side.

It's just too much of a battle with nature for the volunteers and donors to keep up with. Each year that Farewell Creek floods just makes things worse.

It'll be a sad day if the authorities feel that they have to limit access to some sections of the marsh due to safety issues.

I was looking closely in the area where the Small Yellow Ladyslipper orchids are usually found. Didn't see a single one. I was disappointed, thinking I'd missed them this year.

Then, on the way back, this grouping of them jumped out at me, not 5 feet from the boardwalk. I sometimes wonder about my powers of observation. I figure I must have been looking left at the time, when I should've looked right. But I thought I was sweeping both sides of the boardwalk. Whatever.

In an earlier post I said Mayapples were probably my favourite wildflower in our area. I forgot about the Ladyslippers. So Mayapples slip to #2.

Their curly, burgundy sepals complement the rich yellow of the slippers.

Flying in formation. The texture and lines of their leaves complement the blossoms. A beautiful wildflower all round. 

Side view: Looking shy, with a sepal draped over the puffy slipper. 

They're a treat to come across. The slipper is about an inch long. The reddish spots inside the slipper add to its beauty.

I do get carried away with shots of them, but they offer such a variety of profiles.

They're not considered rare, but they're not common either. I expect most people have never seen one. If you do come across some, linger and enjoy their beauty. 

June is closing in fast. Where does the time go?

- 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...

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