Saturday, 27 August 2016

A Day Out With RJ
August 26th, 2016

With the school-year fast approaching, Friday was our last full day with RJ for the summer. It was a busy one. I picked him up about 7am, and we headed to Chickadee Trail with some sunflower seeds and corn. With only a couple other people there, we had the birds & creatures full attention for the most part.

I took the 'wrong' camera with me and 7am isn't my best time of day, so I was slow on the draw and didn't catch any shots of the Chickadees or Chipmunks eating from RJ's hand... but they did. A bunch of Chickadees, a Downy Woodpecker and two Chipmunks. He was especially thrilled with the chipmunks eating from his hand since it was his first time for that.

Squirrels got in on the act too. There are grey, black and red squirrels at Lynde. We saw all three today. You can expect any of them to come within a foot or two of you.

We saw four Wild Turkeys. They'll come within a few feet of you too. They enjoy the handouts as much as the rest of the creatures.

I thought RJ had been on the boardwalk at Lynde before but he said this was his first time. His memory is much better than mine. The cattails are taking over.

When we got home it was time to try out the skateboard he got for his birthday. His buddy J.R. joined him.

He'll be performing all the cool moves soon, no doubt. He does the foot-flip to pick up his board.

Our neighbor's crazy cat ("Mini") was relaxing on their front deck.

After lunch at McDonald's we went to Darlington Provincial Park. It's only 15 minutes from home. We had the lake to ourselves. Not really... but there were only a handful of people at the beach so we each had a section of our own.

RJ's not a swimmer yet so he found other ways to have fun.

His favourite was to sit at the edge of the lake and have the waves wash over him. Here comes one...

He just loved it. He'd scream like the kids do on roller coasters, when a wave hit him.

After a long session with the waves, we went to a turtle-feeding demo that the park staff put on. There were four Painted Turtles and a Snapping Turtle.

They fed the Snapping Turtle dead baby mice. Kinda sad in a way but apparently they're meat eaters. The guide said they'll nibble at dead raccoons, moose, etc. that they find in the forest. That was news to all of us.

Even the staff had to be careful with them. The way they snapped up the mice made it obvious why they're called Snapping Turtles. They only feed them once a weekevery Friday thru the summer.

All the kids thought the Painted Turtles were interesting, but they were fascinated with the Snapper.

Then it was back to the lake as we promised him, and some more ways to have fun.

He held rocks on his hands and let the waves wash them off. They 'disappeared like magic' he said.

Jane joined him to search for pretty rocks. Have any of us not done that?

Jane showed him how to get a dry rock, then wet it, to see the beautiful colors that most rocks have. He thought that was pretty cool.

They searched for flattish rocks too, for RJ to skip on the water. He must have thrown 100 rocks. His guess was 200. His record was three skips today. He was pretty proud of that.

He didn't actually fall asleep. He just commented how comfortable it was on the towel on the sand.

Before we left Darlington, RJ wanted to go to 'the park' as he calls it. Jane plays 'the troll under the bridge' with him. She's done it in a couple playgrounds with him. He gets a real kick out of it.

Jane & I often have a swing too. I was just the photographer this time. I was too pooped at this point. :-)

Before we left for home we stopped at the park store for an ice cream cone. RJ had Cotton Candy. Jane & I had a 'carmelly kind'. Delicious. A great way to end our day.

It's such a joy watching little ones enjoy life, as they discover the world. It rubs off on you. As everyone says though, all too soon they grow up. Too often that means they lose their sense of wonder & discovery. I hope RJ never does.

The three of us had a wonderful day.

- fini -

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Oshawa Second Marsh
July 31st, 2016

 "Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians."
                                               ~  Chinese Proverb

Back to the marsh. It had been a while. Sadly, there are lots of these signs at the marsh now. Ghost Road Bush will be off-limits for some time. As the sign says, potential falling trees are a hazard. The Emerald Ash Borer is taking its toll. It's the same story throughout North America. Untold millions of Ash trees are infected already.

Looking into GRB from the sidelines, things look pretty healthy. Unfortunately they're not.

The dominant species along the berm varies almost every year. This year it's a bit of a mix, but Chicory is plentiful. Wild Parsnip too.

Last year these were dominant... Himalayan Balsam. There are relatively few this year.

Someone, or some thing, destroyed the 'sculpture' I spotted on my last visit.

I've always thought that Wild Cucumber has interesting leaves.

The curlicues add a touch.

Lots of Joe-Pye Weed this year too.

Milkweed pods. Milkweed is the only plant Monarchs can lay their eggs on. People have been spotting Monarchs for a while now. I saw one in the marsh, but only one.

Milkweed blossoms. It's interesting how the same species can be at such different stages and yet physically be only a few feet apart.

One of nature's bouquets.

One that's popular with almost everyone.

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot) and the amorous bugs it attracts.

If you see thistle seeds and it's windy, pause & watch the show. These were dancing in the breeze.

Leaf Miner trails. Think how small they have to be to live & crawl between the leaf surfaces.

I seldom pass red berries without taking a shot. I forget what they are and I'm too lazy right now to look it up.
Note from John: Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum i.e.
3 lobes). The berries have so much pectin in them that you do not really need to add it when canning the berries for Highbush Jam or Jelly. Also, the Jam and or Jelly tastes good on whole wheat bread. I am speaking from experience.  

Jewell-weed (Touch-Me-Not)

Watch for their pods in the fall and pop a few. It's fun. :-)

Nature is taking back the Beaver Pond part of the boardwalk. It's closed too, so I expect they'll just let the growth continue.

Careful with this one... Wild Parsnip. The sap can be troublesome.

Mayapples are past their prime but they still carpet some of the woods.

Golden Rod. Looks like some kind of wild bird. Well, sort of, doesn't it?

Picnic tables at the marsh that haven't seen a picnic in a very long time.

Tufts on a Red-seeded Dandelion? I'm guessing again.

Time marches on. As does the wildflower display.

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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