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...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Thickson's Woods
May 16th, 2015

Not sure how long it's been since I went to Thickson's but it's been a while. It's a hot spot for birders this time of year, with the warblers and other migrants passing though. The woods were full of song—nature's musical tribute to spring.

I saw very few birds through the leaves so I had to be content with listening to the chorus. And I was. And with my lens the birds would have to perch 10 feet in front of me for a decent shot anyway—and none did. The 'true' bird photographers were there with their 2 and 3 foot lenses. It's a wonder they don't end up with a hernia carrying those things.

My first sighting was a group of squirrels eating some seed someone had left. It was probably for the birds but the squirrels were making quick work of it. This Red Squirrel in particular was performing some acrobatics for me.

Hi Bud.

I learned on some TV show that squirrels can rotate their hind feet 180 degrees, making it easy for them to scramble down trees and such. You can see the turned hind foot in this shot. Nature is full of adaptations.

Half body, half tail.
A good-sized patch of Marsh Marigold was spread over the forest floor.

Along with a few Trout Lily in bloom.

A Mimic Bee—I think.
Dryad's Saddle mushroom (aka Pheasant's Back mushroom). The name Dryad's Saddle comes from Greek mythology where Dryads (a female tree spirit) could fit and ride on this mushroom. Our forebears had some interesting myths. Our more boring modern world doesn't have any such colorful tales.

The Pheasant's Back name is for more obvious reasons.

Mayapples in May. All umbrellas are now open.

And many of the plants now have their apples.

One per plant, in the Y-junction below the umbrella.
Green, ringed with white.

The pine needles could be considered clutter, but I think they add a touch. But then, I like nature's clutter—always have.

Ostrich Fern I believe.

From Wikipedia:
The term "fiddleheads" refers to the unfurling young sprouts of ferns. Although many species of ferns are edible as fiddleheads, Ostrich Ferns are the best. They are edible only in their early growth phase first thing in the spring.

PLEASE NOTE: Most or all other fern species are either unpalatable (too tough or not very tasty) or contain high levels or carcinogens. Ostrich Ferns are the safest in that they contain the least amount of these. However, do not eat large quantities of even Ostrich ferns, as the carcinogens do accumulate over the short term. (This was news to me—but I don't gather them anyway. I hope those who do are aware of this.)

A helpful birder ID'd this as Red Baneberry for me. Quite pretty. I like the name.

These blossoms are like tiny, delicate, flattened cups. They're Red Currant blossoms—thanks John.

There were several small patches of Trillium in the woods, but nothing like the covered hillsides I saw at Purple Woods last week.
Another enjoyable outing in nature.

- fini -

Search my Blog...