White-throated Sparrows by the Don: Late December 2020

I recently wrote about a White-throated Sparrow gambling on human generosity by spending the winter near a birdfeeder.

White-throated Sparrow

It seems that some who spend the summer in the far north will spend the winter in southern Ontario feeding on weed seeds and not entirely relying on feeders. I found two on this day in the Don Valley.

White-throated Sparrows
White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

With rain predicted, I had a quick look at the former industrial road which runs alongside the Don River just north of Pottery Road. Trucks used to rumble along here all winter to dump snow in what is now called Cottonwood Flats. These days, the road is a busy recreational trail for joggers, walkers and cyclists.

Cottontail Rabbit prints

After years of buying cheap ice “grippers” and having them easily fall off or losing them, I got a first-rate pair for Christmas and they are perfect!

Some botany:

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Crab Apples (Malus)
Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)
Silver Maple (Acer sachharinum)
Black Maple (Acer nigrum)
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Red-osier (Cornus sericea)
Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Highbush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus)
Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)


“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “White-throated Sparrows by the Don: Late December 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    I love heartwarming good news stories these days–who doesn’t? The sparrows and your new ice grippers qualify! Also, beautiful scenes of a place I love. Thanks, Miles! Happy New Year!

  2. Gloria James

    That poem about the seasons is so appropriate. You do need perseverance to enjoy the outdoors in winter. I usually walk my dog in the evening but I go with a neighbour who also has a dog. We persevere around the block despite some cold winds. You really have to dress for the weather. Although my boots have good treads your grippers are superior.


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