Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Oshawa 2nd Marsh
May 6th, 2014

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."

                                                                 - John Burroughs

What a wonderful day at the marsh. With the bright blue skies & the warm sun on my face it felt like spring. But more importantly, through Ghost Road Bush especially, it looked like spring. 

I saw tens of thousands of Trout Lily leaves, thousands of Horsetail and a couple hundred Mayapples. Add to those, the bird trio on the boardwalk... the Chickadees and Nuthatches accepting handouts and the Downies flying about. And much more.

It feels like the floodgates have finally opened and spring has burst through. There's lots of green on the forest floor; not just the moss anymore. In fact the moss has faded and has to settle for playing second fiddle to all the other plants pushing through the leaves, reaching for the sun before the trees leaf out and block it. The kind of day I've been waiting for.

I think the trout lilies have spread compared to last year. There may even be a few hundred thousand scattered about. It's hard to estimate when there are so many of them. Soon, some of them will be sporting their yellow blossoms.

Horsetail is more widespread too. Horsetail goes through a few stages, each one so different that it's easy to mistake each phase for a new plant. This is the 'terraced' stage. Apparently it goes back to the dinosaur era when it grew to 4o ft tall.

Mayapples are one of my favourites. This one hasn't opened its 'umbrella' yet. One of its common names is Umbrella Plant. Another is Wild Lemon, no doubt referring to its yellow apple. Word is that the apple can be eaten when ripe... it's somewhat poisonous when not ripe. Does that mean a stomach ache as opposed to death? Best to not find out.

These ones on the other hand, have their umbrellas open and are on the march.

Each one will produce a single apple, under the umbrella. 


As per usual, the chickadees were plentiful, there was one pair of nuthatches and one pair of downies. It's been the same for years.

"Where are my seeds?"

The Downie wasn't interested in handouts today... he preferred finding his own grub.


Saw a few fiddleheads. Most were just poking through the leaves. This one was the exception.

Someone put seeds in this birdhouse. My guess is a squirrel did the renovations.

Did someone bring a very tall stepladder along to put this one up?

I like the tones in this shot... the subtle greens from last year's leaves against the mottled browns & whites of the log.

The vernal pools have lots of water still, giving up some nice reflections.

Some of the pools are teeming with wiggly little critters. Mosquito larvae?

Here's a very short video of their antics.


The channel by the berm is visible now but there isn't much activity yet. By the time there is, the shores will be overgrown with cattails and reeds. Good if you're a heron or goose trying to keep hidden.

The berm itself gets lots of sun but it's a bit too soon for most plants that thrive in the sun.

This Dandelion was an exception... my first in the marsh. In fact, it was the only one I saw.

There were a fair number of Coltsfoot on the berm too. They overlap in time with the dandelions for a while, then the blossoms fade and large leaves appear.

With the warm sun I was sure the turtles would be sunbathing in their usual spot. They didn't disappoint. There were a dozen or so spread over a few logs.

Mother and her little one? And Pa and some relatives?

While I was watching the turtles I heard some geese honking loudly behind me.  These two came storming in, low and fast from the west.

My happy surprise of the day. I hadn't seen a Baltimore Oriole for a few years. The last one was in our back yard.  

His brilliant orange looked gorgeous amongst the brown of the trees. I watched him for a few minutes hoping he'd come towards me but it wasn't to be. He slowly went deeper into the woods, flitting from tree to tree.

He stopped long enough to share a log with a Downie.

First time I'd seen this in the marsh. Some kind soul put up some wool... no doubt hoping some birds might use it in their nest building. It was about 10 ft off the ground. The guy with the stepladder must have put it up.

My last sighting for the day at the marsh. My second Ladybug... Ladybird Beetle officially. Saw my first about a week ago in our yard. Another good sign I always like to see.

There will probably be a hiccup or two yet but I announce to all that spring is now here. :-) At last.

- 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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