Category Archives: Nature Walk Reports

Humber Bay: February 21, 2018

4 degrees and rain at the start

Bird Highlight: American Robin

American Robin

Botany Highlight: Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Species list: red-necked grebe, mute swan, Canada goose, mallard, gadwall, redhead, ring-necked duck, greater scaup, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, American coot, ring-billed gull, rock pigeon, northern mockingbird, American robin, European starling, house sparrow, red-winged blackbird,  northern cardinal.  (22 species)

Mallard (female)

Mute Swan

Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Common Goldeneye (male)

Lesser Scaup (male)

Common Goldeneye (female)

Ring-necked Duck (male)

Redhead (male)

Miles Hearn

                                             WINTER POETRY

It has been a mean winter.

But …

Ogre Winter will soon clean

Out the last of her pocket change.

She’ll toss wads of gritty snow

Like frozen Kleenex

All over my back yard.

And yours.

And year after year one wad lingers –

Decides not to melt until spring.

A watched wad never melts.

Winter sure is messy.

Winter is not a Lady.

I’ll be glad to see her gone.

– Adele Koehnke

Ashbridge’s Bay: February 20, 2018

5 degrees and light rain at the start

Bird Highlight: Gadwall

Gadwall (male)

Botany Highlight: Silver Maple

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Species list:  mallard, gadwall, American black duck, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, white-winged scoter, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, common merganser, herring gull, ring-billed gull, mourning dove, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, northern cardinal, American tree sparrow.  (17 species)

Lichen

Common Goldeneyes and Lesser Scaup

Gulls

Lichen

Corkscrew Willow (Salix matsudana)

detail on Catalpa bark

Miles Hearn

                                                   WINTER POETRY

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.

–Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)

Humber Bay: February 16, 2018

0 degrees and sun / cloud mix at the start

Bird Highlight: Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Botany Highlight: Wayfaring Tree

Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana)

Species list: mute swan, mallard, American black duck, gadwall, redhead, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, herring gull, ring-billed gull, downy woodpecker, house sparrow,  northern cardinal, American tree sparrow.  (16 species)

Mute Swan

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

American Coot

Redhead (male)

Sunburst Lichen

Bufflehead (male)

Gadwall (female)

Mallards

Miles Hearn

                                                    WINTER POETRY

On the wind in February
Snowflakes float still,
Half inclined to turn to rain,
Nipping, dripping, chill.

–Christina Rossetti (1830–94)

High Park: February 15, 2018

4 degrees and overcast at the start

Bird Highlight: American Robin

American Robin

Botany Highlight: Austrian Pine

Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)

Species list:  mallard, red-tailed hawk, ring-billed gull, mourning dove, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, American crow, brown creeper, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, house sparrow,  northern cardinal, American tree sparrow, dark-eyed junco.  (16 species)

White Birch (Betula papyrifera)

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum opulus)

Downy Woodpecker (female)

Mallard (male)

Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Miles Hearn

                                          WINTER POETRY

Come when the rains
Have glazed the snow and clothes the trees with ice,
While the slant sun of February pours
Into the bowers a flood of light.

–William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878)

Ashbridge’s Bay: February 14, 2018

1 degree and sunny at the start

Bird Highlight: Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Botany Highlight: Red Osier Dogwood

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)

Species list:  mallard, gadwall, American black duck, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, white-winged scoter, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, red-tailed hawk, herring gull, ring-billed gull, hairy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, American crow, house sparrow, American goldfinch, American tree sparrow.  (18 species)

Common Goldeneye (female)

Hawthorn (Crataegus)

American Tree Sparrow (photo: Judy Cazemier)

American Goldfinch (photo: Judy Cazemier)

Black-capped Chickadee

Hairy Woodpecker (male)

Common Goldeyes and lesser scaup

Mallards

Gadwall

with Red-tailed Hawk (top left)

Miles Hearn

                                           WINTER POETRY

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.

–Pablo Neruda (1904–73)

 

Toronto Islands: February 13, 2018

-6 degrees and overcast at the start

Bird Highlight: American Robin

American Robin

Botany Highlight: Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, lesser scaup, common goldeneye, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, red-breasted merganser, herring gull, ring-billed gull, mourning dove, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, American crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin, house sparrow,  northern cardinal, American goldfinch.  (21 species)

Red-breasted Merganser (female)

Long-tailed Duck (male)

Common Goldeneyes

Candleflame Lichen (yellow) and Sunburst Lichen (orange)

Hairy Woodpecker (female)

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Coyote

Miles Hearn

                                             WINTER POETRY

The sprawling Bear
Growled deep in the sky;
And Orion’s hair
Streamed sparkling by:
But the North sighed low,
“Snow, snow, more snow!”

–Walter de la Mare (1873–1956)

Wilket Creek: February 9, 2018

-7 degrees and light snow at the start

Bird Highlight: Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Botany Highlight: Bur Oak

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Species list: red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, mourning dove, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, American robin,  northern cardinal, dark-eyed junco.  (12 species)

Large-toothed Aspen (Populus grandidentata)

Dark-eyed Junco

Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)

Downy Woodpecker (female)

Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

Northern Cardinal (male)

Miles Hearn

                                          WINTER POETRY

The sprawling Bear
Growled deep in the sky;
And Orion’s hair
Streamed sparkling by:
But the North sighed low,
“Snow, snow, more snow!”

–Walter de la Mare (1873–1956)