Early Signs of Spring at Beechwood / Don Valley: April 12, 2019

Each spring, I schedule most of the early April walks to be near Lake Ontario. This way we see many waterfowl (and don’t have to pay to park at Humber Bay and Ashbridge’s Bay).

Now that we are approaching mid-April, some of the walks begin to be scheduled far from the lake. Usually this means fewer bird species at first (although we had 21 this morning) but it gives us a chance to see the forests and fields spring to botanic life.

Here are some early signs of spring at Beechwood / Don Valley:

Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta)
Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Woolly Bears are usually common in fall, but here is a recently thawed-out one from this morning:

Woolly Bear

This morning’s group:

Some scenes from the park:

Species list: double-crested cormorant, mallard, turkey vulture, Cooper’s hawk, ring-billed gull, downy woodpecker, northern flicker, eastern phoebe,  tree swallow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, winter wren, American robin, golden-crowned kinglet, ruby-crowned kinglet,  red-winged blackbird, northern cardinal, house finch, American goldfinch, dark-eyed junco, song sparrow.  (21 species)

This Turkey Vulture has a broken feather in its wing:

Turkey Vulture
Eastern Phoebe
House Finch (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)

Red-winged Blackbird (male)
Mallard (female)
Song Sparrow
American Robin

We didn’t have 100’s of Golden-crowned Kinglets on this 7 degree, overcast morning but I was able to photograph these:

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet


Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.                – Edward Thomas, “Thaw” (1878–1917)

Miles Hearn

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