June 26 2020

Nature’s Way- Wanted Dead or Alive !

June 26- Matchedash Bay – Birding with MPFN members – Ken and Sue MacDonald, Bob and Sue Codd.


To start with I got lost and ended up in the wrong parking lot – after all
the last time I was there was about 4 yrs ago, and since then I have dropped
a few grey cells and grown more grey hair instead !
So- I did find the correct spot – Ken says- ” we walk up to the Osprey Nest
and turn back ” .
Along the way the many sights, bird calls, and the sheer beauty of the
warm sunny afternoon ( 4 pm ) , kept me going, as I already had done half a
day’s work at home/ garden , since 8 am !

But, I was determined to do the ‘whole thing ‘ –
Halfway towards the Osprey nest , I was ready to turn back !
Rob says- – ” you came from a hot country – you should be used to this “
I say ” Oh Ya- I have been here for almost 50 yrs, and feel the heat just
like as if I was born here’ !
No- Mind Over Matter kicks in !
Ignoring the itchy skin of my ankles, with bugs / flies having a good go at
it . , as I did not wear socks, heat now starting to bother me, fatigue
setting in, sips of an old clementine soothing my thirst

So- I plod along , Mind Over Matter the New Mantra !

What we saw — a lovely flotilla of Canada geese- just out for the
afternoon – so peaceful it seemed to be .

A distant solitary Trumpeter Swan- we thought that might be guarding a nest
– more about this later .

Blanding’s Turtle- resting on a wet mound, with the sun glittering on its
almost black very wet carapace – with its lovely yellow neck – the first
time I had actually seen the yellow neck .


Later on, there was an equally large Midland Painted Turtle- a nice
contrast with its striped red and yellow neck, again, on a wet mound .
It was nice to see them virtually side by side, on either side of the trail.

Not far from there- was a dead Carp – floating like a log- which at first I
thought it was a log till I took a peek at it with the Vortex .
Flies +++ Carp Food Fest !

Kingfisher- marking its territory, both male and female we saw at different
times, and we assume it was the same pair that we saw during the entire
afternoon .

Female Wood Duck — did a very lovely ‘water dance ‘ to lure us away from
her nest and took us on a wild ride.

And Then —

Ken heard the call of the Yellow Billed Cuckoo .!

That was it — We were ambushed right off the bat – and we followed this
bird , and I was surprised I managed a few half decent photos . I am sure
Ken and Bob took great shots with their fancy gizmos .

My fatigue vanished !
I plod along .

The Mother Osprey at the Nest Stand — she was screaming at us – ” Get
Lost ” – as she was feeding the chick with a little fish dinner .

We passed the Osprey Nest stand, and chased the Cuckoo , till it flew way
out into the open water and to who knows where .
In a way I was glad that the Cuckoo flew off- as I was really now like some
one from ” One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ !!!!

All along the trail – the brilliant yellow Butter and Eggs ( Linaria
vulgaris ) was really lovely – the cheery yellow was good for my head !

Then something sad — we saw an old carcass of a Trumpeter Swan … that was
food for so many other Nature’s Creatures .


There were Turkey Vultures riding the thermals — obviously had a bit of a
Swan Food Fest . Perhaps Ravens, Coyotes, who ever that needed a meal would
have been there . Now, it was time for the Mother Earth’s Earth’s other
Beings- Flies, Creepy Crawlers, Micro organisms — all part of the Food
Chain .
This comforted me . Now we seem to figure out why the Trumpeter Swan we saw
alone, and if there were cygnets she was caring for .

As we were walking back , we heard the call of the Virginia Rail– but she
did not come out . I was able to get a nice video of her call, right close
to the edge of the trail , where it meets the cattail rushes .

Then- we saw the Trumpeter Swan — on top of a rock – with three cygnets
— sooo lovely it was seeing her with her babies .
We climbed on to the Look Out Tower an got a good view of her .

She guided her little ones down to the water, for dinner .
So we knew why she was alone …

It was sad for me, to know that she will have to raise the cygnets by her
self, as when I was at Tiny Marsh — the Canada geese were really harassing
the Trumpeter Swam Family, and Daddy sent the geese on a real good wild
goose chase , while Mum stayed with the 5 cygnets .

Well- This is Mother Nature – Her Call , Her Way, and not My Way .

-Wanted Dead Or Alive for the Food Chain .


June 20-22 2020

Spirit of the Wendat and Solstice Time June 20-2020

Seems like  Auspicious numbers lined up — New Moon, Eclipse and Solstice
20 -2020.

 June 20 -2020,  started well- with the Cecropia Moth at a neighbour’s yard,
that I visited —  the moth came straight at me, and my friend coaxed it on
to my hand- Oh my god- what joy ! I have great videos and few great pics –
here is one of them . It stayed with me for 5 mins- which to me, seemed like
for ever, before it flew off into the Longest Day of The  Solstice Sunshine.

 My friend said it stayed on his home siding the whole night – attracted to
it by a night light on the porch .

  I was out at Awenda park today ( 22nd )  — I was the ONLY person on the
Wendat Trail ,for the 2 hrs or so I was there   !


 Apparently, the weekend- was very busy it seems, at Awenda ,  with the
parking lot full to over flowing, and people parking along the street, all
the way down to Champlain rd  it seems .
 Anyway – -here is my story – a lot of pics- but, it was such an interesting
day, just being alone, and I took in what ever Mother Nature threw at me !

 I parked at Hemelin Park and walked up- and just as I got down from the
car, there was this pair of lovely Eastern Tiger Swallowtails- puddling away
– I have not seen a pair doing this in a long while . This year, for some
reason, there seems to be a lot of Eastern Tiger Swallow tails around .

 Continuing my walk up the road, saw these red – orange blooms on the road
side- by the ditch — Indian Paint Brush– Castilleja species .  I have seen
this small clump  of flowers  year after year .


The Legend that goes with the story is hauntingly lovely and romantic —
There was this lovely Indian Maiden, who was loved by a handsome Indian
Warrior – but, the two tribes did not agree to the relationship and so this
lovely maiden, slashed her wrist-  and kept walking, the drops of blood
staining the earth as she walked on, till she could not walk any more …
 Where ever her blood touched Mother Earth  and the flowers,   they turned
red , as if painted by her blood .
 Truly a Solstice Romance..

 Butterflies — the ultimate Spirit of  Wendat – – Re Incarnation — New
Life  coming out of a cocoon — they were everywhere -Big and Small ,
feasting on what ever , to get the nourishment of salts and minerals and
moisture .


 The most interesting feature– the White Admirals feasting on horse dung–
as I saw evidence of it along Wendat Trail .


 On the board walk between the water lily and cattail marsh — there was
this cluster of butterflies, seemingly gorging on you know what !- and
thoroughly enjoying the Poop Party ! They were lined up the ‘road ‘ to get
to the Poop Party !
 They were on top of the poop pile like icing on a cake ! and I took a few
videos of this too .

 Not only that- there were gypsy moths- -zillions of them on the hardwood
trees –  —  I could hear their poop  falling down like rain drops and you
can see them on the board walk — I must have them tangled in my hair too.


 Dragon flies- -I have not seen this variety in just one hour !


 Birds- The King Bird – just seemed to ‘stay put ‘ for ever  it seems.


 Trumpeter Swan — on Strict Quarantine, was all alone on Kettle’s Lake.

Tim Tully did mention this lonely Swan– with no ID tag . Perhaps a young one,

not yet tagged . Jim Charlebois might know the story here  .

 Walking along– Mushrooms – the Good – The Bad- The Ugly . 
 You  eat one ( Chicken of the woods ) and enjoy it …


… and then eat the next one ( Amanita )  you will not live to eat your next meal!


 Finally– Snapping Turtle Egg  Protection At Work — there were many
recently covered up  holes, that I was able to recognise, that were not
protected , perhaps the eggs were laid just y’day evening,  or today morning.


 Hundreds of bees swarming in that area — a scary bzzzzz could be heard,
and I have seen and heard this at the Brabant Point — take care walkers and
hikers – Keep the Social Distance Please or run the risk of a painful sting-
even worse- Bee Sting Anaphylactic . !

 The Spirit of The Wendat- seemed to be all around me- just being alone on
this trail- is pure magic — the sounds of birds , wind in the trees, frogs,
even the nattering of chip munks — all seem to be in Commune with Nature —


This is The  Solstice Spirit of  Wendat -June 20- 2020 .


June 16,17 2020

Turtle Island – A Creation Story

This was a very interesting afternoon for me, as I was walking along Tay
Trail – Hogg’s Bay .
I actualy went there to see if I could get a glimpse of the Sora Famlily and
to see if the Warbling Vireo nest was still there, hanging from the poplar
tree .

There was no sight of the Sora family, but the Warbling Vireo nest was
there, with Mom in situ, still making her lovely call .
There was some debate as to the ID of this bird- but, the ‘call ‘ was that
of a Warbling Vireo, and Rob ID’d it as a Warbling Vireo , and the matter
was settled .

Again- Another Come By Chance it was indeed, meeting up with Rob and Sue (
the second time in 48hrs !! ) right by the bird nest site- though they did
not know about the actual site of the nest, till I pointed it out to them,
heard the call , and that’s how ID was made .

Then– again, Come by Chance — !! — there was this Midland Painted
Turtle- laying eggs, right next to the path, by the picnic table-
re-cycling- garbage bin area – -an obvious high traffic area .

We three did what we could — Bob got out the orange tape, tied it to a
stick and planted it near the turtle, and I got some rocks and made a circle
around the area .Sue made sure the dog was out of the turtle’s territory .

We did not want to leave the area, leaving the turtle alone- so we stuck
around, hoping the ‘turtle lady ‘ would come by ,and Come By Chance she did,
on her bicycle with all the ‘field research tool kit ‘ in tow !

She was thrilled that the three of us ‘saved ‘ the turtle and that we
waited in the hope she would turn up – and she did around 5. 30 pm .

She gave us a lesson on the turtle project she is involved in, working
alone, at the moment . A very dedicated young lady she is – Susan Hartwell ,
and gave us her contact info, in case we needed her help .

Susan is a very impressive young woman who single-handedly takes it upon herself to protect turtle’s and their nests.
Susan builds the nest cages and the flags used to identify the nest sites. She is a volunteer driver for turtle rescues with
the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre .
Susan is also involved with Saving Turtles At Risk (START)
and Kids for Turtles 

The MPFN Salutes you Susan Hartwell!

Susan was going to return later in the evening, with the protective cage .
For now, our makeshift ‘ caution organge tape flag on a stick ‘ and the
circle of stones would keep the site safe .

It was a humbling experience to watch this Mother Midland Painted Turtle-
patiently laying her eggs, then covering the hole , moving the earth with
her hind legs , then cover the dirt with tiny gravel, and move in the
direction of the water .


Believe it or not, if we had not seen it, we would never have spotted this
site – -it was soooo perfectly camouflaged , blending in with the gravel
area around it .


She told us we could use the organge flags any time, from one of the cages,
if we felt it was necessary , to ‘flag ‘ a site, and she would attend to
the egg laying site later in the day .


The photo with the ‘flag’ + cage was the turtle I brought to her attention
a few days ago ( see Power of Birds and Baby Boomer Blog ) .

Once she left, we turned our attention to the Sora, – No luck .
We gave up on the Sora sighting , and admired the Swan Family — Creation
at its Best – coming on the heels of The Turtle Creation , that we just
witnessed .

It was a humbling moment indeed, that we were able to do help Mother Nature

Trumpeter Swans at Hogg Bay

The Trumpeter Swan family- still had all six cygnets alive and well , and
growning like weeds, during the past 2 wks .

We also noted the 5 cygnets at Tiny Marsh on Saturday – — so eleven
cygnets in all , all alive and well , and well protected by Mom and Dad .

Trumpeter Swans at Tiny Marsh

Along the way- we spotted a late blooming Yellow Ladies Slipper along the
path, while walking back to the car . It was hard to miss this, as it was
really glowing yellow in the darkness of the edge of the forest .

I saw my first Female Monarch butterfly – looking a bit worse for the wear
after a long journey, from wherever she came to life – -4th Generation
coming Home to Canada from the wintering grounds of the Oyamil forests of
Mexico .


I could not help visualise the images from Kate Harris’s Monarch Journey
– and her personal Journey with the Monarchs, when she visited Meixco .

King Bird, Kestrel, Phoebe- were some of our sightings, as they all came
to catch the last rays of the sun, and it got rather cool, by 7 pm .

A Great Rewarding Day for Bob, Sue and my self — Turtle Island- A Creation
Story .

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–
I was at Tiny Marsh today June 17 – in the blistering heat !

I must have been crazy to do this today of all days .
I walked back along the shaded trail – that runs parallel to the North
Carolina Dyke.
I was exhausted and had only a little water + two clementines with me ! —

Walking along in the shade, and came across this gorgeous old, old Snapper
– I am not sure if it was just crossing the trail, or getting ready to lay
eggs . It was around 6 pm .

I gently touched it, said a prayer and walked on .


I felt energized to keep going and reached the car and drank all the water
left in the bottle and gobbled up the two clementines !

I did not want to exhaust all my food- till I reached the car , which I
knew was not too far away, and I will make it there soon .

The swan family at Tiny Marsh – doing well – all 5 cygnets are alive and
well, and I sent a little note to Jim Charlebois with photos of two sets of
families with a total of 11 cygnets.

 I think, this may be a fitting end to the Turtle Island- A Creation Story .


June 13 2020

Come By Chance

Come By Chance it was indeed !!
For all of us BIG Birds , to meet at Tiny Marsh today–

The day started off for me on a good note- with my resident House Wren
greeting me, first thing in the morning today, as I was contemplating how I
should spend this gorgeous Saturday .


I was definitely not going to spend it weeding, house cleaning, tied to
the stove , head in the oven , doing laundry, grocery shopping – that’s
for sure !

I had in mind, to go to Tiny Marsh – pick up Bonnie , on the way , just
to wonder around with the sun on my head and wind in my face, and shoot the
breeze .
Just then — Just by Chance , Bonnie contacts me- and off we go to Tiny
Marsh .

A Great Blue Heron flies into the marsh filled with Pond Lillies- we take
pictures .


A pair of Sandhill Cranes fly over head – could not take pics – just enjoy
the moment !
A Caspian Tern- is with a gull — ? fatal attraction – not likely, as they
seem to be quite happy just to be together .

The Canada Geese family- now grown chicks, quite a contrast to the little
butterball chicks that they were just 5 wks ago, now almost getting darker
like Mom and Dad.

They were not even afraid of us — but we kept the Social Distance !

Check out the Osprey Nest- – Dad on guard duty, and mom in the nest with
chicks .

Then we walk towards the seat on the dyke that has the seat- for a good
rest- infront of the ‘eagle tree ‘ , and a great place for Bonnie to do some
water color painting .

But– Two guys beat us to it – anyway we walk up to them.

” Hi Mary ” – -they greet us — !!

Just by Chance — there is Colton and Nick from Awenda Park- Colton with
this BIG camera – both of them, soaking in the later afternoon sun !
I last saw them almost an year ago , when I was quite a bit involved with
the Awenda Park Summer Staff .
Now with Covid- 19– there is no Summer Staff at Awenda, like they did last
year .
I had such a good time last year, with these bright eyed, bushy tailed
youths, full of enthusiasm, intelligence and above all — Love of Nature .

Bonnie- suddenly became the ‘designated photographer ‘ !- and with proper
Social Distance protocol- I post for the birdie , and we talk of the MPFN
stuff, web page, ‘deepthies blog’ etc etc , and they want the link to the
web page .

Then – another couple appears with a dog . The guy has a BIG camera .

Just by Chance — here appears, none other than The Web Master Rob and
Sue, of the MPFN Web page !!!

More photos, Social Distance protocol observed , and we talk of birds,
Awenda Park, Environmental stuff , “Gravel Pit Issues “, Clean water as
Bonnie was much involved with this issue and well known to MPFN Club Members.

Rob encourages Colton and Nick to become MPFN members for FREE as they
are both ‘ Under 30 Free Membership ” category !
Colton and Nick- keen to see the MPFN Web Page and Read All About It !

By now, is almost 5 pm- and we scatter –
I walk alone to the parking lot, after walking with Bob and Sue for a while
.

On the way to the parking lot- there they are- the lovely Trumpeter Swan
Family – X32 Family, with 5 little cygnets .– perhaps about 2 wks old .
I am thrilled , as I had just seen another Trumpeter Swam Family , with 6
chicks , at Hoggs Bay- along the Tay Trail , a few days ago .


Kudos to the volunteer members who care for the Swans, including our very
own MPFN member- Jim Charlebois – whose very lovely photo story can be
viewed in the MPFN Web page ‘gallery

Now, this is what I call Come By Chance — as none of this was planned –
Has anyone been to this little town called Come By Chance in Newfoundland
I wonder — ?

It All Just happened .– Come By Chance — Big Two Legged Birds
mixing and mingling with Feathered Two Legged Birds , enjoying a Covid -19
Social Distancing Outing !
Take Only Photos and Leave Only Foot Prints .

As if all this excitement was not enough, I am driving very slowly over the freshly gravelled Tiny Flos Town Line Rd when I see a bird – on a road side pole, the Snowy Owls use as a perch .

No— this cant be a Snowy- as Rob- Sue and my self, we were just talking about seeing Snowies as late as May – June in the area- ( Stayner ) .

I stop- take a photo through the windshield , slowly get out, after driving a few feet- take a back view photo — A Juvenile Red Tailed Hawk , who seemed to say “ have you not had enough for one day ? now get along home “ and it flew away ! , and I head home feeling very good about the events at Tiny Marsh .

Perhaps this was what the little House Wren was trying to tell me all
along, as I was doing my ‘Morning in the Garden Walk with the coffee in one

hand and camera in the other “

Miigwetch – good night- eagleD


June 9 2020

Bird Power and Baby Boomers of Tay Trail !

I headed out to the Tay Trail y’day ( 9th June ) late afternoon, and walked
around up to Reeves Rd , not looking at birds, but at the forest floor on
either side of the trail — just soaking in the beauty of the white  Wood
Anemone flowers , ( Anemone quinquefolia) )

Wild Ginger (  Asarum
canadensis ) , with its heart shaped leaves .


Then, as I approached the picnic table, just before the bridge, and across
from the  little gravel path  drive in parking spot,  I heard bird call
which sounded like ‘wichity- wichity ”  of the Common Yellowthroat , but
with a few added notes .
I was able to mimic the call, and get the bird to respond  a few times .
Search as I may, I did not see anything yellow flying around .
Then — I saw the nest- very small cup nest, made out of birch bark and
other fibres ,  virtually hanging from a fork , with the little bird inside
– making the call .
Took a few good photos and recorded the call .

As I was doing this, another young man , with a huge big zoom camera,
approached me, after having parked his vehicle at that gravel spot, blocked
off with a stone .
I indicated to him the nest/ bird and , over a little bird, we became
friends , and I told him about the MPFN !
He ( lets call him ‘ CT ‘ )  was quite interested in the MPFN activities ,
and got interested in photography and birds only recently —
Then — he tells me ” I came to see the Sora – on my way to work at the
evening shift.  “.


Well, well – I found a Soul Mate !
From then on CT and Deepthie stuck together – four eyes and four ears
better than two eyes and two ears  !
He heard the Oriole and we both saw it  and took photos .

Sora– left in the back burner for now !

Then , the resident Great Blue Heron came by- and a family of mom, toddler
in a stroller and a little girl of about 6 ys .
We stuck up a conversation- and we showed  ( mom and daughter ) the heron .
CT lowered the tripod, mom lifted the little girl, and she was thrilled !

From then on, the little girl was able to spot the heron on her own .


We Have New Birder !!

Then- the Trumpeter Swan Family came floating along — again the New Little
Birder was thrilled and we gave brief lesson on Trumpeter Swans .

Now, back to the Sora — we both  walked up and down, the trail, saw the
bird nest with the bird with the ‘wichity wichity ‘ like call,  more pics,
more videos .
No Sora .

CT- says ” I have to get to work ‘ and we walk to the vehicle = and there
is this Midland Painted Turtle , right by the vehicle .!!
CT- drives off to work, and I carry on .

Then- I see something curious — what seemed to me, a pair of little
chipmunks , on the edge of the path — I investigate and find the little
burrow hole, with a wee cute face, investigating me !!
Gotta be the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life !!!

By now- it is 6 pm- I sit on the bench by the bridge and much on my granola
bar- with the pesky little  bug eating phoebe , flittering around .

Then — I see movement in the water- -drop the granola, pick up the
camera–

NO– Not the Sora- but a family of Wood Ducks- Mom and 4 babes — Oh so
Sweet !— on their way home – right in front of me, on the little creek ,
they pass under the bridge and off to their home .

Heron – by now- is being chased from pillar to post by the Red Winged Blackbirds



The Swan Family- moves on, a Kayaker stops to admire them , and I move on
with my Sora Project .

Then — comes along folks from the Ontario Turtle Conservation – Citizen
Science Project- to look for turtle laying eggs and to lay cages over the
egg laying site . They told me, the display board is their creation .

They investigate the chipmunk burrow- I show them my photos, and tell them
about the Midland Painted Turtle near CT’s car- and take them to the site,
to find the turtle is getting ready to lay her eggs .
I take a photo , the lady takes out her measuring tape, takes photos and
does her  ‘ on site field research ‘ , and was going to return later with
the cages .

I take them to the bird nest-  my little treat  –
The bird  is still calling, sitting inside the nest, head and tail sticking
out – 3 hrs later-


They – the Turtle People – were happy to meet me, and I tell them about
the MPFN  !!!– and was very interested to look it up – -just like CT !
I move on —

No Sora .

Swallow my rejection, and walk along the forested trail, towards   the car
parked near Triple Bay Rd spot- hoping to see the Owl– walked up and down a
few times making the ‘ hoot hoot  who is cooking tonight ‘ —

No Owl  .

Drive home  nice and hot and tired —  No Sora, No Owl , but, lots of New
Bird  Friends  and New Life on The Hoggs Bay   Marsh – swans, wood ducks,
chipmunks,  ” mystery  bird ”  in the nest , Sora family – perhaps looking
after  few more chicks , and both mom and dad were busy in their nest .

Today– sent in the pics of the Mystery Bird phots to Awenda park- as I had
a similar nest last year, in my garden ,  and Tim Tully said it may be a
Blue Green Gnatcatcher . Tay Trail bird- did not seem to be ‘blue green ‘
more olive color .

Plan for today– visit Tay Trail again — if the heat and humidity lets up
a bit by 5 pm .


June 5 2020

The Call of The Healing Drum — Feed The Need

The Call of The Healing Drum …To Feed The Need – so to speak, in the
light of what is going on in the world today .

  The day  started off, with me feeding my little spoilt brats- -who I allow
to disturb me during my garden duties !

  Then, by evening , I was at the Penetanguishene Waterfront  Rotary Park
for Drumming with Chigamik Community Drum Circle .
 Since the main building is closed, and I really do not want to drum/ sing
in any building wearing a mask, I suggested this location .

 Jean Dove- who is also a member of the MPFN– sent the word out and a few
of us gathered at the main statuette  on the water front , around 6 pm , and
started to Drum and Sing .
 We started off with the ‘Water Song ” ( Cherookee )  and proceeded to sing
( in Ojibwa Language )  other songs ‘ Eagle Honor Song ” , Thunderbird Song
” , Spirit Bear Healing Song  ”  and a few other songs .
 This was the first time  The Chigamik Hand Drum Circle  drummed as a group,
after Covid 19 hit the town .

 There were many park visitors, who enjoyed the evening , along with us, and
came and spoke to us, indicating how much they enjoyed The Moment .
 One of those visitors was a neighbor of mine, to whom I casually mentioned
that there will be some drumming at the Rotary park, today in the evening ,
and I really did not expect him to show up and he did, and I jumped at the
chance to hand over my camera to him !
 He did a great job on the photos and I have included one of them .

 The family of Canada Geese were also a part of our appreciative audience
and it was such a serene moment, when I saw this  family together — The
Family That Prays Together- Stays Together  it seemed to say and I took this
photo, between songs !

 The Moment– is to Feed The Need – what ever The Need  may be, that is now
gripping the  World …  that is why I Lead the Spirit Bear Healing Song- a
very powerful Healing Song .

 Then, when we were walking back to the parking lot , there was this most
gorgeous Cedar Waxwing  perched right in front of us, soaking up the setting
sun .


 I got lucky with a few pics, as it seem to pose for us ,to wish us well on
our journey home,  and to say Miigwetch !

 I come home- to a spectacular Georgian Bay Sunset- to end the day .. , and
feeling I have achieved something good for the day , for my self and
hopefully, ” The Call of The Healing  Drum ” – went out into the Wider World

Healing is All Around Us. We only have to Look for it , Find it and  Use it


June 1 2020

What a wonderful hike it was!

What a wonderful hike it was , on Sunday- May 31 -2020 .– organised by the
Midland Hiking Club  Chapter of the Ganaraska Hiking Trails .
This was the first hike for the season, since Covid- 19 hit the world .

The last day of May, and it was COLD and windy – but the sun came out , and
we started off at 10 am from the parking lot of Simcoe County  Thompson
Forest.
We were divided into three groups  – in keeping with Social Distancing .

My group had three  members, my self, another lady  and Frieda Baldwin, who
was the  was the Lead .– who knows all the twists and turns of the
Ganaraska Hiking Trails !

Once I saw the tall Jack pines in the distance and smelt the pine
fragrance, I knew I this beauty of an orchid  would not be too far away .
Within 20 mins of starting the hike, I spotted the Pink Lady’s Slipper-
Cypripedium acuale – Native Orchid  of North America ,  in the sunny Jack
Pine stand – the main habitat for this species of Cypripedium .


There was this most lovely cluster of  about a dozen or so  of Pink Lady’s
Slipper  glowing in the morning sun, just by the side of the main hiking
trail .


I stopped dead on my tracks !- called out to Frieda, who called out to the
rest of the gp who were near by .
One group went ahead of us, and I don’t know if they saw the lovely blooms.

I gave a short Botany lesson of the growth habits of the plant– how the
plant uses the fungus ( mycorhiza ) in the soil,  for its nourishment .
Frieda , very kindly took my photos with her cell phone – Keeping Social
Distance , not using my camera for the photo shoot !

Then we carried on – seeing  more and more of the lovely Slipper  of Venus
as the Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid is sometimes called, ( Moccasin flower is
another name )   on either side of the trail, for the next 40 mins or so .

The ‘die hard ‘ hikers even stopped to examine the Pink Lady Slipper
Orchid, taking photos, discussing the tricks of the flower to attract
insects for pollination etc  — such was the ‘pull ‘ of the   Beauty of
Mother Nature !
They laid down their hiking sticks, got down  and dirty  on their knees , to
examine the lovely Face of Venus !

I know some folks in our area are fortunate enough to have this lovely
flower on their properties, specially if you have  Pine stands   on the
property .
Indeed I have seen a huge cluster of this on a private land long Conc 17 –
Tiny , some years back , when I was an ‘active member ‘ of the
Penetanguishene Horticultural Soc


There is another species of  Pink Lady’s Slipper species ( C reginae ) that
grows in the sun,  along wet areas like road side ditches, in Midland –
Penetanguishene / Tiny  .
The Yellow Lady’s Slipper  ( C. calciolus ) — seen here and there  hidden
in hardwood forested areas ,   in our area, and in great  abundance in Bruce
Peninsula, and Manitoulin Island, where the soil is most alkaline .

Once we passed the Jack Pine stand, and got into the hardwood forest trail,
and the lovely meandering bike trails, the forest floor was full of such
beauties  as Canada Mayflower ( Maianthemum canadense )  ,  False Solomon’s
Seal  ( Maianthemum racemosum )  Hairy Solomon’s Seal- (  Polygonatum
pubescens ) , lots of Starflower ( Trientalis borealis ) and of course
fading Trilliums turning pink .
I did not take photos of these plants but other hikers sure did — Hikers
seem to thrive  on  a diet of  Native Plants of the Forest Floor of Georgian
Bay !

I must refresh my head on this subject the next time I go on a hike, as I
did make some mistakes, as  I am losing a few grey cells, and had to correct
them via e-mails to Frieda .

Oh – of course- there were the not so lovely  Human Foot Prints of such
‘garden escapes ”  – Ajuga, Lily of the Valley  , very fragrant- and this
fragrance  followed us along the trails,  Periwinkle,  Goutweed , even some
Hosta clumps !
Some of these, I call them ‘ Plants from Hell ‘ !!!

Then one hiker picked up what seemed to be ‘ a flower ” -that I thought
would a  ‘flower bud  “from a pine .

I picked up another, brought it home, and voila– my hands were yellow !!-
Then it hit me — This is a Pollen Cone of the Jack Pines that turn our
water, cars, driveways, into a yellow jaundice  color, come June !


Indeed, the Georgian Bay water behind my home  is already jaundiced !– dare
not touch it and then touch my face, as I am allergic to pine pollen, and
will go into a  state of eye tearing  and sneezing fit !
My Pollen Cone– stays out side on the verandah – and I washed my hands
presto pronto !!

On the way home, did a bit of grocery shopping- that is no longer a fun
thing to do ,as I put my groceries in a sink of soap and water ASAP as I get
home — a lot of work , to keep The Virus  out of my system .
I did not mind this  today as I  had my share of ‘soul food ” along the
hiking trails,  that I  did not seem to mind  the hassle of washing down
groceries with soap and water !

Will I go again to see the Slipper of Venus ?? – -I doubt it – -as Love At
First Sight is always better than the Second Time Around !  as I want to
savour  The Moment of the Hike with the Midland Hiking Club, in the middle
of a Covid 19 Pandemic.

These simple pleasures makes Life  all the more meaningful and I learn to
Appreciate and Respect the more simple things in Life– Aka– Mother Nature.


May 26 2020

My story on the Eagles of Srilanka.

This is by no means a complete account of the variety of raptors seen I SL
– but, just what I saw during my travels – 2014, 2018, 2019 .
I don’t want to bore any one with 10 photos of the same bird either !

Srilanka being and Island , with many rivers that start in the mountains in
the Central Province  of the island, and finally  draining into  the Indian
Ocean, in the East, North, West and South .
Several   small islands  are located at  the Northern Province , where
Jaffna is , it is an ideal location for a variety of birds .
A causeway connects the mainland to the islands off Jaffna, and this is one
of the main locations for bird watching during the migration season- Dec –
Feb .

I usually visit SL in October – Nov , due to family /social reasons .
However, I make the best use of my time, to do some bird watching, even if
it is from the 4th floor of the condo of my friend- whose balcony is at eye
level with the tree tops of the most exotic roof garden, in the heart of the
capitol City of Colombo.

These   are just a few of the  photos  were taken during a visit to
Trincomalee  in 2014 ,   Wilpattu National  Park- 2018,  and on a road trip
to Jaffna, 2019.

All trips done alone- just me and the driver . I believe in Solo Trips –
long drives, from one end of the island to the other,  just enjoying  the
fauna and flora, and stopping many, many times for photos, or to just stop
and breathe in the sweet tropical country air .
Very few can tolerate these long drives, stopping a hundred times for
photos etc !

Habarana Cinnamon Lodge- is where I stayed for 2 days- is located in the
North Central Province in   the heart of the tropical rainforest, where the
chalets are built on the rainforest grounds ,  that maintain the natural
landscape of   old growth trees,  waterways,  ponds , marsh lands,  forest
edge  , that is a feast to the senses .
This is where I saw the pair of Brahaminy Kites from the  look out stand
set up on huge old growth trees , over looking a wet land .

Brahaminy Kite

 

Elephants do come to this area, but, I did not see any during the two days
I was there .
But they were there all along the Habarana Rd– more about them in another
Blog Post !

Most of my photos were taken ‘ on the run ‘ so to speak, other than the
Wild Life Safari  at Wilpattu National  Park , located in the North Western
Province, in 2018 .

This year, I had planned a trip to Kumana Bird Sanctuary located in the
South Eastern Province ,  — but, Covid – 19 came between me and  Kumana
birds .
I guess,  I have to thank God for Small Mercies and be content with what I
have seen so far .

— 2014-  White Bellied Sea Eagle — seen in Trincomalee- on the North
Eastern Province , where the might Mahaveli River ( Big Sand River ) drains
into the Indian Ocean .

White Bellied Sea Eagle

—–  2018 -The Wilpattu Eagles — They were every where – !
The National Park was closed to the public for  3-4 days due to heavy
monsoon rains and flooding .

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Changeable Hawk Eagle


I was lucky-  the rain stopped, the sun came out and the  park re- opened
that day Oct 11th — I was Jeep #1 at the gate at 9 am, having left Colombo
at 5 am . There were very few visitors that day, and I had the park to my self all
morning, and most of the afternoon, till the park closed at 6 pm  .

Grey-headed Fish Eagle


The birds came out to greet me – the different kinds of eagles were
virtually following me, so much so, the  national park jeep driver  was
asking me  ‘ what is it that the eagles are all over us today ? ” – -to
which my driver said ‘ her e-mail address starts with eagledeepthie ‘ !

Crested Serpent Eagle

       

Crested Serpent Eagle

—-  2019 – The Jaffna trip was done last year – the drive along the Jaffna
– Kayts causeway – was my highlight, where I saw many Brahminy kites and
other water birds in the lagoons on either side  of the causeway .  Just one
trip on this Kayts Causeway , really does not do justice for your senses . I
gotta go again !!!!

Brahaminy Kite

Brahaminy Kite

 

Till then– Enjoy  and Savour The Moment !

 


May 21 2020

Catch Your Dreams on a Sora Sunset !

A Spring Day at Matchedash Bay is full of surprises , and so it was for me,
when I headed out there with Bob and Sue Codd , for a nice day out and some
bird watching – keeping social distancing and NO car pooling !
We were there at Kinnear Rd parking lot , just past 2 pm – not many
birds, but it was a great afternoon , with only one other birding couple
quite a distance from us .

We heard the Sora – up by the ‘mole hill ‘ – but did not see it . So , I
was sure I was going to see it elsewhere !

However, we wondered around, and I got tired, and I sat on a old broken
bench by the pond on South Beaver Pond Look Out . Bob and Sue ventured out
further, while I was ‘saving my energy for the Sora ” at Tay Trail , that I
was so sure of seeing — how so ? don’t ask me !

While sitting there, I saw Canada Goose Mom and Babe – ” you listen to me
or else ‘ !– seems familiar !

A single lovely yellow Trout Lily, came through the broken bench railing
to keep me company, while I rested ” my back ‘ a bit !

I walked out towards the granite outcropping to take in the beauty of the
white Saxifrage ( ‘ Rock Splitter ” ) coming through from every little
crevice on the granite slab, creating a carpet of white, amidst the moss
and lichen .

Bob and Sue return, and we keep up the walk / birding
A lovely Yellow Warbler greets us .

Just as I neared the ‘gate ‘ by Kinnear Rd- -I see something in the
distance — I recoginise it at once – Dream Catcher — that I had seen Ken
post on the Face book page a few weeks ago .


I walk towards it — the late afternoon sun was getting low, and there was
a mild breeze and there was this most beautiful Dream Catcher that was
swinging in the wind, as the late afternoon sun gleamed through it ,
creating Pure Magic …


I give it a gentle touch, as if to ‘ Take in the Magic into My Being .. ”

I said a Prayer for the one who made this Magic Dream Catcher and hung it
on a tree in the bush , as if to Honor , Protect and Respect Mother Nature
and A Prayer to The Creator for ” We are All in It Together …. Covid
-19 … ”
I have seen many Dream Catchers, in many places in my life time- but THIS
was Special – given the Times — We Are ALL In It Together ….

Then, walking back to the car, in a meditative mode , I see the most lovely
clumps of Native Wild Columbine – Aquilegia Formosa , in the ditch .

Then Bob, Sue and my self, we hung around the parking lot for a bit , and
shoot the breeze for a while , and I drive off on my Sora Quest , and Bob
and Sue for more Birding .

Tay Trail – I reach there around 6 p. — within 5 min of reaching the area
near the old bridge repair spot– there it was’ right at my feet so to
speak, having dinner at the edge of the slope by the path .

I was sooo surprised I could hardly react – but, managed a few pics, as the Sora moved
along, enjoying its dinner , totally oblivious of my presence .


I did not want to get distracted by the fisherman fishing in the
distance, the Osprey circling over him, Caspian Tern, diving for fish, and
Kingfisher rattling and flying around .


Sora– Dream Catcher Prize for the moment – and enjoy I did every second
of the ten minutes I had with my prize, before it headed home .

I too reach home perhaps around 7.30 pm, pleasantly tired out — and a
little past an hour later I see the most lovely Georgian Bay Sunset —


Catch Your Dreams on a Sora Sunset,…. to end a Very Memorable Matchedash
Bay Day .

Che Miigwetch – for the  Moment —


May 17 2020

Back Yard Warblers of Sawlog Bay — A Warbler Victory !

Here is my Victory Story , on the Saturday of The Victoria Day Weekend,
out here in Sawlog Bay .

Sawlog Bay Fog

Yellow-rumped Warbler


They started to arrive on Friday , perhaps really arrived Thursday evening
, ahead of the not so good weather .

 

Black-throated Green Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Palm Warbler

They came- ahead of the rain that we are supposed to have , starting
tomorrow – Sunday , and were here , today , Saturday morning, as soon as
the morning fog lifted.

 

Cape May Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

For the past day and a half- the trees were full of little warblers running
around in a feeding frenzy, as the bugs were out in their thousends .
I had to act real fast, even before I had my first sip of that magic
morning drink– aka Coffeeeee !

Nashville Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler


The little pocket cannon did not disappoint me, and with the help of Birds
of Ontario and Ken’s willingness to help me ID what I was not sure, I think
I did quite well !

 


May 15 2020

Chickadee  Diner and Home Depot 

Then, just now, today,  as I was writing this note, I could see them
through the window ,  the chickadees came ‘ where is breakfast ? ” . So I had
to interrupt the writing to go feed my little friends . Spoilt brats  they
are — all my fault for the past 5 yrs !
They come at me, even if I am in the garden, minding my own business and I
had to interrupt my compost spreading y’day too , to feed them !.
Today, while the drizzle was mild, it was time to visit ‘home depot ‘  for
supplies – being my old cedar chair on the deck — where the bark is peeled
off year after year ,for nest building . It was sure a real delight to feed
the chickadees, and at the same time see one of them stripping off the bark
for the nest .

Perhaps the female  was feeding and the male was attending to the   ‘  honey
to do list of  home reno  duties !


My chickadee babies are sooo cute, I cant get enough of them !

It was quite the feat- to hold the pocket  camera in one hand, bird seed in
the other,  hand held  phone on the neck ( of course the phone had to ring !) ,

and take pics at the same time . — Mothers for Multitasking !

Never a dull moment around Sawlog Bay !


May 14 2020

Covid Dinner Time at Sawlog  Bay

After a hard day of spreading compost in the garden,  I went for a walk
around 5 pm. The wind had died down, and it was a pleasant walk along the
trail along the shore line .
There is a large beach area- or rather there WAS a large beach area which we
call The Big Beach at Sawlog Point .  Now the water level is so high, the
beach is all a strip of  gravel , and no sand at all .
From a distance I could see some wee birds pecking around the gravel —
Social Distance maintained !
it was a flock of  Palm Warblers, eating some thing on the gravel area .


As I walked a bit closer, there was some one else on a rock — a solitary
Spotted Sandpiper – with its classic see saw rocking movements . This was
real cute . I back tracked slowly without disturbing their evening dinner
time  at Sawlog Point Covid Café !

Then, something flew past me — followed it slowly- to find a solitary
Northern Flicker- feasting on  ants on the ground . It did not seem to be
bothered by me, but, of course I was  very discreet .

There was a robin too nearby, but I did not take a photo .

Walking back home, the Loons and Red Breasted Mergansers greeted me .


The Red Breasted  Mergs- a flock of about 8 birds- 3 couples and two single
males  are always around . Even now, in the fog and rain,  I could see them
in the distance .
Loons- three of them always patrol the water, along with a pair of
comorants .
There was a flock of Common Golden Eyes- way out in the distance – and the
photos did not turn out good enough for the blog .


May 13 2020

My Covid Tay Trail Treat !!!

Well , Well — Finally, I got to see my friend – Sora- Sora- Sora!!

To start with, I headed out to Sturgeon Bay around 2 pm– walked around,
saw nothing worthwhile . It was very windy .

Then headed towards Tay Trail , parked at Triple Bay Rd – – the idea was to
see if I get to see the Osprey, Eagle , and of course, The Sora !

There was NO Sora .

So walked towards the look out seating area , on the way to see the Osprey.

The Eagle came to greet me , as I was sitting on the look out point ,
eating my mid afternoon snack . It flew in front of me, and over the marsh
and over hwy 12 and beyond .

I was happy about this sighting as this I took to be a Good Omen !

Then headed towards the Osprey Nest- on the old telephone pole, and there
was no one around . So, this was my first time, getting this close to an
Osprey nest- and took this photo from right under it , and was amazed to see
how small it was , compared to Eagle nests . I was always under the
impression that this was a platform made by the Ontario Osprey Society, but
today I realised, that the Osprey perhaps found it them selves.

Walked back towards the bridge area, with the idea of trying my luck on
the Sora , a second time .

By now, it was around 4.30 pm, and along the trail, I saw this large bird
flying over, towards the woods / Marsh area –
By golly it was an owl ! There was NO mistaking – -it WAS an Owl — Great Horned ? perhaps, as it
was quite large .
The Wise Owl seemed to tell me — ‘just follow me ‘ ! and follow I did,
towards the now repaired bridge .

Getting close to the bridge- another large bird landed amongst the marsh
reeds- the most lovely Great Blue Heron .
I have seen them six at a time in Cottonwood , Page Springs , Arizona –
but, this was different , to see it in its most natural surroundings,
virtually in my own back yard .

Took a few photos/ videos, and some bikers/ hikers passed by asking me ”
who is that ? ” — so, did a bit of a bird ID class, with appropriate
Social Distance rules – by the way; a scary looking Tay Township By Law
guy was patrolling the trail today .

One of the bikers told me, he saw a beaver , and so I was looking for the
beaver– when a Kingfisher came by, and perched close to the heron .– same
spot, that we all saw it , when all of you were out there, with me, a few
days ago , turning on the “Sora Calls ‘ , so I could see it !

Then , I saw a something move amongst the cattail reeds — A SORA !!!.

You have to believe me when I say- This was my Covid Tay Trail Treat !!!

Took a hundred photos + a few videos . The sora was in no hurry, and did
not see me , I think . I had about 20 mins with the bird, and it was really
nice to see it move around, feeding , etc,. I think I even saw where it has
its nest– for next time !

At one time, I shut the camera off, and just enjoyed the Sora Show .

Then — something moved — The Beaver !- -came out for a cattail dinner .
It was just awesome seeing both the Sora and the Beaver, just enjoying a
quiet dinner- oblivious of a two legs watching them in awe .

Then the beaver got too close to the Sora, and it flew home .

I continued to watch the beaver, it it too went home, and I returned to the
car- at 5.50 pm , and drove home .

So- this is my Covid Tay Trail Treat for the Thirteenth Day of The Month of
May !

Good night ‘s rest with Sora Dreams !
Eagledeepthie .
Oh by the way- my AZ birdie pal refers to me as Owleagledeepthie !

 

 


May 10 2020

Here are my Tay Trail- Hogg Bay Adventures !!

I was out at Hoggs Bay- Vic Harbour and there was the Osprey- getting
ready for  fish dinner .
The sun was just Not in the right place for a decent photo- and I did not
want to disturb the bird either . It was on one tree initially, and then
moved closer to another perch , right in front of the  built up Osprey Nest
on the stand .
Good photo or not ,  It was a great moment for me, as I missed seeing the
Osprey activity in Arizona, due to the Covid- 19 and had to make a rush trip
back home to Ontario .

The bird had its prey in its tallons – a fish I presume .
It was on one tree initially, and flew over to the stump of an old tree
later .

I spent a lot of time with the Osprey- just admiring its gorgeous beauty .
It allowed me to be around it .

So, I got my Fill of Osprey today !

Then I walked back to the bridge- again – NO sora .

I returned to the ‘bridge  ‘ around 5 pm ,  hoping to see the Sora- No luck .
But, what I saw was a bald eagle being chased out by a little black bird

(Red Winged I think ) , till the eagle was chased out , over the marsh area,
and  over hwy 12 and beyond .
I have never seen the mighty bald eagle ever  losing a battle – with
ravens and ospreys, here in Honey Harbour, , BC , and in Arizona .
Here it was , right in my back yard virtually – being chased out by a
little one — Good Things Come in Small Packages some one said !

Successful mission- and the eagle flew over hwy 12 and vanished !
It was amazing to see this – I have seen this game between eagles and
ravens, eagles and osprey, and the eagle winning the chase, but, not
eagles and black birds, with the little ones being the winner !

I got ‘the message ‘ and returned to the car, before I got chased out  by
Tay Township By Law folks !

The trail was quiet – I was the only walker – other than one lady with a
dog, and two kids on bikes .
Great afternoon outing .

You have to remind me to tell you both a great story about my self and
predator birds – as told to me by an Indigenous lady, who used to be a
member of the Chigamik Hand Drum Circle, some yrs ago .
It still gives me the creepies !!

Many have since told me this- all Indigenous, from Ontario and Arizona- who
did not even know my name, – let alone my e- mail add !
The same thing at Wilpattu Nat park – when the different kinds of eagles
were being seen, where ever our jeep went , and the Nat Park Jeep driver
was a bit surprised !

 

 

May 6 2020

Tiny Treats

So- Here are my  prizes- -the pair of Bald Eagles on the Eagle Tree  at
Tiny Marsh , sighting of the Bittern in flight, and finding the lens cap of
Heather’s vortex binocs on the ground, when I returned to the trail, in the
hope of seeing the  Bald Eagle and  Bittern !

Jean, my self , Grace, Heather/ Mark — we all  actually saw the Bittern !
I could not believe my eyes and our luck !!

Seeing this old Snapping Turtle – -with all the dirt on its back, reminded
me of the Turtle Island Creation Story- when  after the Great Flood , the
wee little muskrat, dove deep, deep, deep  down, and got a bit of dirt, and
the Turtle offered its back to place the dirt.


That was how Turtle Island , that is Canada-  North America – was Created –
according to Anishinawbe Creation Story .
I guess, with all that is going on in Turtle Island, we may all have to
start from A Bit of Mother Nature’s Dirt and start all over again …

Jean, Grace and my self, met up with Heather and Mark , as we were looking
at the Bittern flying away , and landing amongst the reeds on the other side
of the dike .


Heather and Mark  actually saw the Bittern, in the cattail reeds by the
trail, it flew away instantly  !
Jean, Grace and my self, we may have just passed by it and not seen it,
while Heather and Mark- saw it take off from the cattail reeds just near the
dike walking trail  going E- W towards the osprey nest .
Well Heather/ Mark- flushed it out for the three of us to see it !!!!

Lesson Learned – – Next Time, —- Look Down while walking the trail

The hope of seeing the Bittern and the  Bald Eagles , led me back on the
trail , later in the afternoon  and I found Heather’s lens cap, as I was
hurrying up the N dike towards the Eagle Tree view area  !!– Eagle Tricks I
must say !!


I just took one photo of the Eagle Pair,  from a distance, and was
hurrying up the North Carolina dike, to get a better view of the Eagle Pair,
when they decided to fly away, telling me –  ” it is time you go away too,
as you have been out since 10.30 , and now it is 3. 30 pm ! ”

Anyway- I walked up to the bench, directly facing the Eagle Tree, in the
hope they may return. I sat for one hour-  pondering over my bad luck !
At least, I found Heather’s Vortex  lens cap  !

Had my snack,  looked around for the Bittern- NO luck second time, !
No luck with the Eagle Pair returning either .

At 4 pm, I started the walk back – a very SLOW one, that took me one hour (
! )  not missing anything hiding  in the cattail reed marsh brush , and all
the while, looking back at the Eagle Tree- for one more glimpse- – No luck !

This is enough  of  Tiny Tricks and Treats for today .
Tomorrow- will meet Heather at Rotary Pk- Penetang at 11 am – and see what
we see !

Good Night —
Eagledeepthie .