Thank goodness for Mark’s Work Warehouse ! / Bluffs: November 6, 2018

This morning I was once again greeted in the early morning by the sound of rain on our skylights, This was to be the sixth consecutive nature walk which would be conducted at least partly in the rain. In the past, I wore various fall coats and was sometimes completely drenched by the end of the walk.

A couple of years ago, I decided that this was enough and headed off to Mark’s Work Warehouse. For $39.99 I purchased a Handyman Rain Suit and another $10 bought me a pair of rain gloves. Perfect!

Here is how one of the nature trails on the upper bluffs looked at about 8:30 am:

With all of the rain and the risk of getting water droplets on my camera lens, I took most of the rest of the photos for today’s post from the comfortable domain of my Toyota.

9 degrees and raining at the start

Sky at the start

As you can see, by the end of our walk, skies were blue:

Sky at the conclusion

Fortunately it is possible to drive very close to the duck pond at Bluffer’s Park and the following photos were taken from my car.

Bird Highlight: “Bib” Duck

“Bib” Duck (hybrid Mallard x American Black Duck)

Mallard Ducks are very trusting of humans and that is why we see them so often in urban environments. Other species are trusting of the Mallards as well. Indeed we have Mallard hybrids with Gadwall, Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Wood Duck and Wigeon in addition to the American Black Duck hybrid shown above.

Botany Highlight: Burning Bush (Winged Euonymus)

Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alata)

Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaea)

The red colours of various Euonymus species are spectacular at the moment and fully earn their nickname of “Burning Bushes”.

On this subject, I include an e-mail that I received from proud new grandfather and Tuesday walker Brian Whitefield:

Hi Miles,

I know we’ve been seeing a lot of Euonymous alata or burning bush lately so maybe that was what was in my mind. I had mentioned that we had a granddaughter on Friday and, as luck would have it, a good Rabbi friend from Chicago (who had married our kids) just happened to be in town for a convention and agreed to do an impromptu baby naming. Our daughter-in-law is very fussy about people taking their shoes off at the door but when the Rabbi asked if he should take off his shoes I jumped in before our daughter-in-law had a chance to say anything and said that he only need remove his shoes if there were a burning bush. He had a good chuckle over that but then quoted me a few lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh which I though you might enjoy:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, bufflehead, herring gull, ring-billed gull, rock pigeon, belted kingfisher, downy woodpecker, blue jay, common raven, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, golden-crowned kinglet, house finch, northern cardinal, white-throated sparrow.  (17 species)

Ring-billed Gull

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)

Mallard (male)

Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

Mallard (female)

On two occasions in the last 13 years, weather conditions have been so poor that no-one showed up and I did the walks on my own. You can see these posts under: May 25, 2017 and April 16, 2018. I thought, perhaps, that the early morning downpour would dampen the enthusiasm for this morning’s walk. As you can see, I was mistaken.

Miles Hearn


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