Thursday, 31 May 2012

2nd Marsh -- May 30th, 2012

The flower show is under way. In fact, if you live locally and you enjoy a walk in the woods, now is the time I personally think is the best time to visit the marsh.

The Dame's Rocket is in full bloom and is putting on a gorgeous display. It seems to me there's even more than in other years and it's in both small and sweeping patches. Pictures just can't do it justice-- you need to be there to feel the effect of being "surrounded" by it.

Dame's Rocket is taller than most wildflowers so it stands out much more than others (and there's so much of it) and the white & purple mix really is something to see... spread out before & around you as you take it all in.

The best place to see it is from the Farewell Creek bridge to the berm and then south, towards the lake, on the berm for a few 100 yards.

This Yellow Flag Iris is at the Beaver Pond but there's also some along the channel that parallels the berm.

A 'noisy' shot but a sampling of the few dozen Dwarf Yellow Ladyslippers in Ghost Road Bush.

I thought this was Multi-flora Rose, but John Foster ID'd it as Blackberry. Thanks John.

Wild Geraniums

Canada Anemone

Hanging around from last year.

It's always a treat to see some creatures running about... this time a pair of curious, but shy, Cottontails.

Nature is putting on a real show with the Dame's Rocket. If you can, head down for a look. If you do, take some repellent with you. The skeeters have started.

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 -


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

St. Catharines -- May 21st, 2012

On the way to visit Jane's Mum, we took a short diversion below the Burlington Skyway to check out the Cormorants. It had been years since we last had a closer look. Their numbers are growing, much to the dismay of many of the locals I'm sure.

Dead trees always make Cormorant colonies easy to spot. Their feces kills trees pretty quickly.

They're a scruffy lot. I don't think they're very interested in housework.

Their nests are barely large enough for their size.

Wild Phlox (officially Dame's Rocket) makes this a beautiful fishing spot... just across from the Cormorants. I wonder if the fisherman enjoyed the "Phlox".

We stopped to smell the flowers as the saying goes. Wild Roses are hard to beat for fragrance.

We went to Niagara-on-the-Lake to pick up some British fare at the Wee Scottish Loft, then drove down to the lake for the view. The Toronto skyline (CN Tower, etc.) is about 30 miles across the lake-- vs about 90 by road.

The clouds caught my eye more than the Chestnut tree.

We'd never looked closely at the blossoms ("candles") on Chestnut trees before. We'd assumed they were just white, rather than multi-colored.

We ended the day with a cool walk (from the breeze off the lake) on the pier at Port Dalhousie... just outside St. Catharines. A few 100 others joined us.

The long weekend was perfect weather-wise.

- fini -

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Country Market Garden Centre -- May 19th, 2012

This garden center in Hampton (about 10 miles east) has a few animals for kids to enjoy-- sheep, goats, peacocks & chickens and dogs, but they also have some short walking trails through a Sugar Maple forest behind the center that they invite the public to explore. The Sugar Maples are huge, some well over 60 ft tall.

'Smokey' guards the property.


This last week I've been experimenting with a technique I read about. On those occasions when you have to shoot through a chain-link fence, you can make it virtually "disappear" in certain cases.

This dog was in a fenced area with the standard 2" chain-link fencing. I shot through the fence, without putting the lens against the fence... in many cases you can't. I was about 2 ft from the fence.

The Peacock was behind a rectangular-mesh fence. The rectangles were about 2 inches by 5 inches. To shoot him at this angle I had to shoot through the fence at a fairly sharp angle. I think that's why the image is softer on the right-hand side. Even so, the technique works well.

Personally, I've grown tired of perfect-specimen shots of Trilliums, even though I still shoot them-- though not as much as I used to. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that there are 1000s upon 1000s of them in the photo-world already and we keep adding to the number every year. It's a bit like the line, "Do we really need any more shots of the Grand Canyon?"

I've come to prefer the later stage, a bit worn, past their prime, but still beautiful in my eyes. They show more character in later life, just as many humans do.

Some mushrooms near one of the ponds on the property. It looks like they start off brown.

There are lots of Jack-in-the-Pulpits through the woods, many of them larger than the ones I see elsewhere.

The next two shots are of the same plant as the light changed.

I was the only one wandering the paths today-- at least in the hour I was there. It was a quiet escape from the city, and close by.

There were Mayapples, Trout Lilies and a huge owl (Great Horned?) that flew amongst the tall Sugar Maples, though I never had a chance for even a quick shot. It's definitely a spot I'll check out next year in early spring, or maybe this fall, or maybe this summer, or maybe...

- fini -

Monday, 14 May 2012

2nd Marsh -- May 13th, 2012

I was curious what the marsh would look like two weeks after the fire. The grass is growing back but it's going to take a while before all evidence of the fire is gone.

Maybe one or two of these Spruces will survive.

A pair of Cowbirds greeted me at the start of the path by GM but they were camera-shy.

There was a pair of Trumpeter Swans in Wilkinson's Pond.

Stop and smell the flowers.

With their heads underwater most of the time, it's no wonder their heads & necks don't stay white.

These Dryad's Saddles were in Cool Hollow.

The Warblers (a guess on my part) and others were singing their hearts out in Cool Hollow.
     Have a listen... (20 seconds)

I went right to the lake today. It was quiet & misty.

... other than this guy on the bay.

Beach flowers... Silverweed. Thanks John.

The marsh is big enough that I usually drive from one side to the other on days that I check out "both sides". Even so, I walked about 5 miles. I parked at the pump house, and as you enter Ghost Road Bush you're greeted with a forest floor covered in Garlic Mustard... an outcast, but a pretty one.

The trail is bordered by Garlic Mustard and Dandelions (another outcast)... it makes for a scenic walk.

The Mayapples have opened their umbrellas.

I always look for Mallards on the vernal pools this time of year but didn't see any today.

The birds were singing in Ghost Road Bush too.
If you'd like to have a listen...  (24 seconds)

It was Mother's Day today and I was wondering if I'd see a "marsh mother". I was in luck. The goslings were stretching up to nibble on the grass.

It was a warm enough day for the turtles to be basking in the sun. I think their numbers are up. Last year's hatch is doing well.

Wood Violets

Wild Geranium... Thanks John.

Red Admiral butterfly... there's lots around.

The underside of the Red Admiral wings.

A water plant breaking the surface.

Some new growth in a nice light.

Yellow Ladyslipper

A male Red-wing at the Beaver Pond.

I caught him at take-off. His wing patches look like a red bow-tie. 

This is the stage that I like Dandelions at. The central portion hasn't opened yet, at least not completely.

I kinda like this one too.

All in all, a good day at the 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 -


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