Sunday, 25 September 2011

Thickson's Woods & Cranberry Marsh Area -- September 25th, 2011

After going to 2nd Marsh yesterday, I was planning on staying home today and attend to a couple chores, but then last night I got an email message saying that at the hawk watch at Cranberry Marsh they had counted 800-1000 Monarchs flying by per hour. Chores just aren't as important as Monarchs.

So... thinking that maybe there might be good showing today too I just had to go have a look, knowing full well that I may not see many... but thinking I would probably see a bunch. :-)

Mother Nature, as is so often her way, thought otherwise. I went to Thickson's first, having in mind the 1000s I saw there a few years back. Though I wasn't expecting 1000s, with the 800-1000 an hour yesterday at Cranberry (just 2 or 3 miles west of Thickson's) I thought there was a good chance I'd see a few dozen at least. I didn't see a single one. So... I looked for whatever else might present itself.

I can always count on some fungus this time of year.

Moss on the forest floor always catches my eye. It's brilliant green color, growing in velvety mats is hard to miss.

So off I went to Cranberry. Would I see a few 100 Monarchs there? That's been my hot-spot for this year after all. And they did report 800-1000 per hour yesterday. But it wasn't to be.

I saw fewer than 10... but at least they were obliging enough that I managed to get a few good shots. I can't resist taking shots of Monarchs no matter how many I already have. They're just too beautiful not to. 

They do love Goldenrod!

We're so lucky to live in this part of the world for many reasons... the Fall colours is only one of them.

Green leaves have a beauty of their own too. Add a touch of dew and and the right light and the beauty factor goes up another notch.

Or a nice splash of light on an interestingly shaped leaf...

I stopped by the northern viewing platform at the marsh and a couple Turkey Vultures flew over while I was there.

Mother Nature often arranges her plants in jumbled tangles, but the mix can be a treat for the eyes.  Here she has some of her Wild Cucumber, some Asters, a bit of Goldenrod, a touch of pink... even some brown burs thrown in. This is the time of year that we come away with some of her burs that were looking for a new home.

I like all stages of the Wild Cucumber, including the brown winter stage that most people don't even glance at. This seed pod looks like a miniature watermelon with spikes.

Yet another great day in nature. I managed to get one of the planned chores for the day done when I got home. The other one will have to wait... and it can. I find there are very few chores that have to be done at a certain time. Call it procrastination if you want. I call it "loving nature". :-)

- fini -

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Saturday, 24 September 2011

2nd Marsh -- September 24th, 2011

Though the majority of the marsh is looking brown, there are still spots of color. I was there in the harsh midday light so a lot of the images are way too contrasty.

This is a new kid on the block... Jerusalem Artichoke. It's in the sunflower family and is not an artichoke nor does it have anything to do with Jerusalem. Go figure. It towers over everything else... some of them are 7 or 8 ft high.

Another new kid but I only saw 2 or 3 of these... vs dozens of the Jerusalem Artichoke.

An old friend... Himalayan Balsam. Still lots to be found.

Some bangles for an added touch.

The next two shots are of Viceroy Butterflies, very close in appearance to Monarchs. The line on the lower wing distinguishes Viceroys. Thanks to John & Gerry.

The Wild Cucumber leaves are mostly faded and tattered but the pods are large and the curlicues have formed.

I find that pretty much anything in big bunches is attractive... here it's some sort of Aster... John has ID'd them as Purple-stemmed Aster.

Common Reed Grass (a very boring name for a beautiful grass) is widespread in Ontario & elsewhere. We used to call it Pampas Grass before we knew the proper name for it. I call it Northern Pampas Grass. Many plants have several common names so I make one up now & then. :-) I imagine that's how common names get started.

An odd one but it sure stands out. It has lots of buds so maybe we'll see some fall blossoms soon. The spikey ones are Slender Nettle. Thanks John.

No Great Blues on the raft in the bay... but a couple Swans and a Cormorant drying its wings before its next dive.

Though there weren't any Great Blues in the bay, there were a couple in the channel.

Pick a color... all the same berry but at different stages. They were peeking through the boardwalk.

My favourite shot of the day, a fungus with a gorgeous golden hue.

Nothing particularly exciting today but any day at the marsh is a good one. I like to see the changes from one visit to the next. Like they say about Scotch, "There's no such thing as bad Scotch, it's just that some is better than others." The same holds true for me for visits to 2nd Marsh.

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 -


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Thickson's Woods & Near Cranberry Marsh -- September 20th, 2011

A couple of us went out today to see if the Monarchs were about and maybe find something else too. We didn't find much at Thickson's... some Goldenrod with nice light and some fungus was about all I saw.


Not seeing much at Thickson's, we headed over to Cranberry to see if the Monarchs were in the large Goldenrod field. We saw a few dozen.

Some of Mother Nature's late summer color.

The field of Goldenrod near Cranberry Marsh has been this year's Monarch hotspot.. for me at least.

The next few shots aren't the best of the Monarchs themselves but they do show the legs & antennae & proboscis.

It's always nice to see something different, even if it is amongst the clutter. I think this is a Pearl Crescent... they only have a wing span of about an inch. It was long gone before I could try for a better shot.

I think toads figure that if they sit still they'll be safe, even if the background isn't their color. Too bad more Monarchs didn't think that way. When we left he still hadn't moved.

Soon the Monarchs will be on their way to Mexico and the toad will be buried under some mud or leaf litter somewhere for the winter. It's another of nature's marvels to me that toads can produce antifreeze-like fluid in their bodies so they won't freeze to death in winter.

- fini -

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Thursday, 15 September 2011

On the Path -- September 15th, 2011

A lot of my walks the last while have been in marshes, etc. so I hadn't been on the path for a week or so. I did make it tonight though... the first night I've worn a light jacket. The cool weather is here. Hallelujah!

The Poison Ivy berries are at the white stage now and the leaves are tattered & worn.


In contrast some of the Wild Cucumber leaves are in great shape. I like its leaves and the patterns they sometimes grow in.

The Fall Webworms have been around for a while now. They're very similar to their spring cousins, the Tent Caterpillars. Apparently neither species harm the trees though the trees do lose some leaves to their hearty appetites.

So many of the invasive species look attractive to me. This is Japanese Knotweed... a very difficult one to eradicate they say. The stems are like bamboo which gives it its other names, Mexican Bamboo or Japanese Bamboo.

It's unusual the way the blossoms grow along the stems. The leaves are large too, these ones are about 6-8 inches long.

I used to call this time of year the "Yellow-White-Purple time" since you see these three colors in fields everywhere in September.

Not many leaves have turned color yet but these reddish ones are gorgeous.

Some Dog-Strangling Vine pods are winding their way around the leaves... and anything else that happens to be in their path.

This is Common Toadflax but I like its common name better.. Butter & Eggs.

We'll still have wildflowers around for awhile yet but their days are numbered.

- fini -


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