Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Nuke Plant Nature Area -- August 30th, 2011

Under the heading of "you never know what you're going to see", my surprise today was seeing over 50 Midland Painted Turtles in the pond... pretty much every log in the pond was covered with them. There were a couple of Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron, the resident pair of Mute Swans, a few Cormorants and a few Mallards too.

The reeds made it impossible to get clear shots of some of the gatherings. I count at least 33 in this shot... including a couple heads poking through the water surface.

A pretty good balancing act...

Ma & Pa and one of the kids?


Locust tree seed pods.

One of the swans... and more turtles.

A Common Moorhen...

Cormorants have a way of putting their noses in the air while they're swimming.

Great Blue Heron

Cormorant lift-off

On the way home from the nuke plant I dropped by 2nd Marsh. This pair of Cormorants was in the channel and what with it being "turtle day", one was with them.

I saw about a dozen Great Blues at the marsh. As usual, some of them were sharing the raft with Cormorants.

These Great Egrets were squabbling over something. 

- fini -


Saturday, 27 August 2011

2nd Marsh & McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve -- August 26th, 2011

Brian joined me for a visit to the marsh. He suggested meeting there at 7:30am which is the the earliest I'd been there, despite the fact that I kept telling myself that I'd check out the marsh in the early hours of the day. I just never made it. I'm not a morning person, as those that know me will tell you.

I always hope to see wildlife early in the day but we didn't happen to today, tho we met another photographer who had seen a doe and a couple fawns a short time before.

What we did see tho was a swarm/cloud of midges over Lake Ontario. Brian spotted them from the viewing platform by GM. We thought they might be migrating birds at first but the other photographer we met had already been down to the lakeshore and he confirmed that they were bugs. It was a fascinating sight nonetheless. The cloud twisted and shifted just like the large flocks of birds do that you see on television nature shows.

I also took a quick movie clip of the midges and posted it on YouTube. It's only a few seconds long but it gives you an idea of what it looked like.

Brian came up with this link that pretty much confirms that they were midges.

Cedar Tree near the viewing stand.

There are huge numbers of High-Bush Cranberry berries around now.

After an hour or so around the GM tower, we drove up to the top end of the marsh, went through Ghost Road bush and down the berm towards the lake. These are Arrowhead Water Plants in the channel.

The channel is a popular spot for Cormorants. There's usually only one or two there at a time but it's a good chance for close-ups if you're lucky. We were today. There were 3 or 4 there and a couple of them lingered long enough that we were able to get several shots of them.

I had one chance to capture the pair as things turned out... the male quickly left his perch. The female was much more cooperative. She just sat and let us click away.

This one was on this branch for at least 20 minutes. We got some shots, then went further down the berm, and on the way back she was still perched on it.

Brian had to leave but I stayed at the marsh a bit longer.

Some nice light in Ghost Road bush.

It's the time of year for mushrooms & fungi. There's quite a variety in the marsh already.

The Jewelweed (Touch-Me-Not) is going strong. There's tons of it. It's not "popping" yet tho.

Before I headed home I decided to drive back to GM to see if the midge cloud was still visible. It was, but it was too far away and I'd done enough walking so I just went down to Dogwood Pond instead... a good spot for waterfowl and songbirds.

I'm glad I did. There was a Green Heron on a log in the pond. It was much more interested in fishing than it was in me... it pretty much ignored me. Birds aren't usually so cooperative for me, but today I had an easy time getting shots of Cormorants and this heron.

The wild reflections of the reeds in the pond make for a busy background but you get what you get.

Why is it a Green Heron? I don't see any green.

He spotted something.

These Mallards were in the pond too but they were much shier than the heron. They swam away as soon as they saw me.

More High-Bush Cranberry... these ones on the path around the pond.

A late blooming Purple Flowering Raspberry at the pond.

The bright orange Mountain Ash berries try to compete for our attention with the High-Bush Cranberry. Red is better in my book. :-)
There are signs around Dogwood Pond identifying trees & shrubs, and this one for a little history lesson. It made think, 250 years ago Indians were in the area, today it's us. Will any of our descendants still be in the area 250 years from now?

As I was walking back to the car a bunch of Canada Geese flew over the GMHQ building, probably heading for the lake.
 'Twas a good outing. You never know what the day has in store for you 'til you get out there.

If you're interested in wetlands, and in particular the Second Marsh, maybe have a look at these links...

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...

John Foster's Phenology Chart...

- fini -


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Darlington Provincial Park -- August 22nd, 2011

The days have been slightly cooler lately and a bit less humid too. Hallelujah! I went over to Darlington today.

I didn't see anything I'd call exciting, but it was a good day anyway.

I haven't seen these anywhere else. They look like something that could be in the Sunflower family... small flowers but huge leaves. They're Elecampane, another invasive. Thanks John, Gerry.

Bull Thistle

This is New England Aster... Thanks John, Gerry.

The Wild Cucumber pods are appearing now, along with the curlicues.

There are lots of these soft red berries at Darlington, that have the imposing name of Tartarian Honeysuckle... Thanks John.

And lots of the harder berries of the High-bush Cranberry.

Wild Cuke on a Spruce tree. Like the grape vine, it climbs everywhere.

Fishing is allowed in one area of the park. This fisherman knows how to relax... his snacks are close by too.

Something is going to seed. Mother Nature works in big numbers when it comes to reproduction... maybe one seed will make it.

Some early fall colour in a Silver Maple... Thanks John.

The Wild Cucumber blossoms are pretty delicate looking.

This tap was in the picnic area. It's cool. :-)

I like the B&W version.

Wild Grape gone crazy... with a bit of Wild Cucumber trying to horn in on the grape's territory.

Another one I haven't seen elsewhere. Not many blossoms have a "puffy" look to them, but this one looks like it might open up later. It's White Turtlehead... Thanks John, Gerry.

A quiet, peaceful stream on its way to Lake Ontario. At this point it only has another 200 yards or so before it arrives at the lake.

I haven't seen many butterflies this year (compared to other years at least)... other than 100s of Cabbage Whites at the marsh. 

Not much of a shot but with the lack of shots I've managed to get this year, I included it. I think this one is a Question Mark (or maybe a Comma) based on the jagged wings. John confirms that it's a Question Mark.

- fini -


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