Mud Lake in September

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september-2016-068 september-2016-119 september-2016-145A random, mid-week visit to Mud Lake. We all needed it. It is a great place to go for a walk, with many different trails to take. Some are heavily wooded and others take you along open (and often muddy!) water. The wildlife we often see include a variety of ducks (Wood Ducks are my favourite), geese, herons, chickadees, turtles, and squirrels. It is so wonderful to have places like this right here in town. On this particular day we drove with my mom, but we noticed that there are a few city buses that come pretty close. Click HERE for a map and description of the area.

While out in the woods, we actually ran into someone we know. My friend Amanda Sage, who shares my love of photography, was out bird-watching. She is also a talented writer, who has just published a children’s book to raise funds for CHEO.

Bird Sanctuary

Last week, my daughter and I visited family in British Columbia, so the cousins could finally meet each other. It was a joy to watch our sweet girls holding hands and playing together, and to witness the beginning of their long-distance friendship.

Luckily for me, this side of our family loves nature as much as I do, so they took us on a few road-trips to see some local sights. Reifel Island Bird Sanctuary was the first place we went to. It is similar to some of our local parks except it is surrounded by mountain views, and there is almost always a Bald Eagle soaring overhead. There were a lot of familiar birds- Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, and Red-Winged Blackbirds- but also some I had never seen, like the Sandhill Cranes that nest on the west coast.

wood duck MF 2Wood Ducks

bald eagle soar
Bald Eagle

goslings
Canada Geese

swallow box
Swallows

sandhill crane redwing crop
Sandhill Cranes
and Red-Winged Blackbird

The weather was could not have been more perfect while we were in B.C., and I am grateful to have soaked up so much sunshine! A special thank-you to my sister-in-law, a beautiful soul who somehow knew exactly what kind of holiday I needed! xoxo

Ducks Unlimited

Here is a rundown of the waterfowl we spotted in BC. While I got some really awesome pictures, some were not unlike sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and maybe not worth sharing. It’s really all about the watching them anyway, and part of the fun was looking them up in the book at home.

Barrow's Goldeneye

Wood Duck2 Ring-Necked Duck 2

Wigeon

Mallard

Surf Scoters         Harlequin Ducks

I have no photographic proof of every bird we spotted, but here is our checklist of waterfowl:

American Wigeon

Blue-Winged Teal

Wood Duck

Ring-Necked Duck

Surf Scoter

Harlequin Duck

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Mallard

Cormorant

Mute Swan

American Coot

The Wetter, The Better

We’ve had our share of extreme summer heat this week. At its hottest, it was 45 degrees with the humidity. So when my friend called me on Sunday for a last-minute stroll by the river, I jumped at the chance to dip my toes in the water.

We drove down to Westboro Beach with our cameras, but it quickly became apparent that we were about to have a thunderstorm. We spotted some older ducklings and their mum, stuffing themselves with whatever it is that ducklings graze in the sand for.

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I’m surprised they didn’t fall over from eating so much~ look at those crops!

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Within minutes, the winds picked up, the skies closed in and the river turned black. As the rain started to pour, we hightailed it back to the car, and just barely made it before getting soaked.

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The ducks decided that wetter was better, and headed back out on the water.

{You may remember this song from your childhood, too.}

A Spring Comeback?

Pink is not at all the colour I would expect to find on a crisp October day in Ontario. But there it was, putting on a show that could rival any springtime apple blossom, and just as spectacular as the surrounding autumn foliage. Taken at the Experimental Farm Arboretum this afternoon:

Euonymus 1

Euonymus 2

Euonymus 3

Another local photographer/blogger, candissabean captured some gorgeous images here last week, of this same shrub species. Do yourself a favour and check hers out: HERE and HERE

Also, if you happen to be in the area (and interested!) there are some unusual vistors at Dows’ Lake right now. Today we spotted some ducks I had never seen before~ Hooded Mergansers and Common Mergansers. They are spectacular ducks and I would have loved to see them much closer, but unfortunately, they were too far away for any decent photographs. I took some anyway so that I could at least identify them later. If you’re into that sort of thing, grab your binoculars and head out to see if you can spot them!