Monday, 21 September 2015

Oshawa Second Marsh
September 20th, 2015

Jane joined me for this visit to the marsh—a bright sunny day—almost the official end of summer. With much of the access to the trails still limited, we walked the berm to the lake. It's about a mile to the lake, so it's good exercise as well as a beautiful taste of nature.

The most noticeable change from my last visit was the appearance of Jerusalem Artichokes, the tallest of the wildflowers in the marsh.

The delicate seeds of some species of grass.

There are still lots of Himalayan Balsam blossoms along the berm. They range from white to light pink to a deep pink. The common names for it—and there are lots of them—range from Bee-Bums (there's a bee in one of these blossoms) to Kiss-Me-on-the-Mountain.
I can't resist popping a few seed pods.

There are quite a few Touch-Me-Nots/Jewell-weeds at the marsh too. They'll soon have their pods ready for popping as well. They're closely related to the Balsam.

Jane spotted the turtles in their favourite spot in the channel by the berm, soaking up the sun. They're a species of Painted Turtle.

"Where we going, Mum?"

Since the trimming of the plants along the berm it's a much easier walk than before.

Burs waiting to catch a ride home or somewhere further afield.

This plant isn't common in our area. Its seed pods are like tiny white pearls.

You never meet many people at the marsh. Jane counted 14 today, and 7 dogs. :-) A record I think.

It's a big lake—about 30 miles across at this point. New York state is on the opposite shore. Its history speaks of lots of rum-running from New York state to Canada.

This bunch of geese had this part of the lake to themselves. Seeing them on such a large lake emphasizes their freedom to me.

They decided to move down the lake a ways. Why?

This fascinates me. I saw this kind of thing a few years back at another spot on the lakeshore. Scientists call them 'ladybug washups'.

Apparently it's common around the world on the shores of many lakes—and oceans too. Most of them are dead, but a small number are alive.

There were 1000's of them, along a stretch of about 30 or 40 yards.

There were several live ones on this log.

Kids or fishermen had burned this log. The ladybugs were a sharp contrast on it.

If you're curious to learn more about ladybug washups, check this link. They've been observed since at least 1873 according to the reference. 

What a happy sight this was. Others have reported seeing more Monarchs this year. We saw about 50 of them at the lakeshore, slowly working their way west, stopping on the Goldenrod to fatten up before their flight across the lake, and eventually to Mexico. 

I still find it incredible to think that they make the journey. They're such tiny creatures.

Maybe they're on the rebound after their low numbers the last few years. I sure hope so.

It's been a couple years since we've seen as many as we did today. We've seen a few in the backyard this year, but only a few.

Sharing a blossom.

They're gorgeous. This one is a female. The males have black spots on their hind wings.

Another thing I find it hard to pass by without taking a shot is a bunch of red berries, even if they're in a tangle as these ones are.

On the way back from the lake Jane spotted something to get a shot of.
A great day at the marsh. It was good to share it with Jane. I saw more because she was with me—four eyes are better than two.

- 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...

Thursday, 10 September 2015

On the Path
September 10th, 2015

Though the path is just across the street from our place, I seem to find it easier these days to find excuses not to go for a walk. I did make it today though.

Harsh light, cluttered backgrounds & tattered plants this time of year, plus trying to hold my shirt-pocket point & shoot steady when I zoom all add up to mediocre results for today. But the pictures do at least show the state-of-affairs for early September.

Before I learned the names of the more common wildflowers, I used to call this the "yellow, purple & white" time of year—Goldenrod, New England Asters & Queen Anne's Lace.

Still lots of green.

But some trees turn earlier than others so there are lots of colorful branches around.

A pretty realistic deer in a yard along the path.

The Himalayan Balsam now have seed pods and some of them are at the popping stage. A gentle squeeze of a pod (the bigger ones are best) and the pod twists & curls and releases its seeds—quite a distance if you pick the right one. They're in the same family as Touch-Me-Not/Jewell-weed and the results when you squeeze a pod are the same. I popped a couple here.

Dog-stangling Vine has spread along much of the path. Its seed pods are long and narrow.

Poison Ivy is changing color too.

This cat came out of the ditch to greet me. He checked me out, discovered that I wasn't anyone he knew, so he went on his way.

Leaves of Coltsfoot—the Dandelion look-a-like from early spring. Some are a foot across, huge compared to Dandelion leaves. The leaf shape is where Coltsfoot got its name.

I've been told that there are 5 types of Goldenrod in our area. I can't tell one from the other, but I'm fine with that.

A backlit Dogwood leaf.

Our neighborhood was built on the site of a former apple orchard. A few apple trees have survived along the section of the path close to home. I've tasted a few of the apples over the years—they're pretty good.

These berries are a deep purple, almost black. Can anyone ID them for me? 

It's European Buckthorn, yet another invasive. Thanks John.

The Black Locust tree seed pods are a rich golden brown now.

Fairly boring stuff for most I expect but the beautiful autumn colors will soon be here.

- fini -

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