Wood Ducks plus Big & Tall Plants at High Park / September 19, 2019

High Park and especially Grenadier Pond is likely the most reliable place to see Wood Ducks in Toronto. We had many on this sunny, 21 degree morning.

Wood Duck (male)
Wood Ducks (likely juveniles)
Wood Duck (male)

Species list: black-crowned night heron, great blue heron, Canada goose, American black duck, mallard, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, rock pigeon, great horned owl, northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, gray catbird, warbling vireo, house sparrow, northern cardinal, house finch, American goldfinch.  (20 species)

Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker
Black-Crowned Night Heron
American Black Duck

Many plants have the word “giant”, “great”, “tall”, “big” or “bull” as part of their names. We saw three this morning. Some of the Tall Blue Lettuce is close to 3 metres in height.

Tall Blue Lettuce (Lactuca biennis)
Tall Blue Lettuce (Lactuca biennis) detail

Big Bluestem (which seldom seems to have a blue stem.)

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

There is a very large hornet’s nest near the western end of the zoo.

Hornet’s Nest

Other botany:

Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Winged Euonymus (Euonymus alata)
Sky-blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentandiense)
Gray Dogwood (Cornus foemina)
False Solomon-seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
Wand Bush-clover (Lespedeza)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Pale-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus)

Park scenes:

This morning’s group:

NATURE POETRY

Look, stranger

Look, stranger, on this island now
    The leaping light for your delight discovers,
    Stand stable here
    And silent be,
    That through the channels of the ear
    May wander like a river
    The swaying sound of the sea.

    Here at a small field’s ending pause
    Where the chalk wall falls to the foam and its tall ledges
    Oppose the pluck
    And knock of the tide,
    And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
    -ing surf,
    And a gull lodges
    A moment on its sheer side.

    Far off like floating seeds the ships
    Diverge on urgent voluntary errands,
    And this full view
    Indeed may enter
    And move in memory as now these clouds do,
    That pass the harbour mirror
    And all the summer through the water saunter. – W.H. Auden

Miles Hearn

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