August 24 2020
Fun In The Fen
Fun In The Fen !– Aug 24th – 2020 .
Another Covid Outing for the Midland Penetanguishene Field Naturalist Club!
Ken carries the Club on his broad shoulders, and Rob gets all of us tangled
up in the (Spider) Web !
Someone had a bright idea that ‘ we should all go to Mary’s place to
see the garden and the birds ” — and the ‘Rest is History ‘ !
So, Bob / Sue / Piper and Ken show up one day ‘check things out ‘ —
And got the show on the road , and they all came on the 24th Aug.– 14 of
us – with 10 cars crammed into 2 driveways , so as not to clutter up the
Tiny tiny rural roads .
There was a couple who came here from Barrie Nat Club– now that is great,
that our little MPFN is doing something right !
We had a mini garden tour – at my place, and headed out on the Nature Walk
along Sunset Trail – a nice trail, kind of maintained by Township of Tiny .
Tim Tully of Awenda Park used to take us on the Sunset Trail , on regular
Guided Nature Walks – organised by the Sunset Bay Association about 25 yrs
ago. This association folded up a few years ago , as we all got too old ,
and got busy with Life Issues .
Then , Covid came to town, and End of Story .
First Stop– My trusty neighbor on the next street — The Go To Muscle Man
Guy- Solid, dependable , ready, willing and able to help me out of any
thing that needs moving, like stones, trimming tall over grown bushes , fix
the Weed Wacker and so on .
Quite the Arty/ Crafty guy he is , with very good social skills.
He is seen, on the photo, short socks on, feet firmly planted on the
ground , hands on the waist , head full of hair that needs a barber
somewhere, looking at someone taking a photo of his Arty Vegetable Garden
Plot Creation , to protect it from critters that abound the area .
” What you see, is what you think it is ” — was the answer to ‘ What is
that Carving ? “
I thought it was a West Coast / Haida Native Carving of a Bear . So did
Rob had other ideas – ” I think it is an Alligator ‘ .
Ok– See You Later Alligator !
That Crest- – Cross– ?
A Lativan Cross– as his wife is from Latvia , and this is the Traditional
Symbol of Latvia — something new we learned — Live and Learn , and Never
Too Old To Learn !
The Historical Plaque — does that shape look like a uniform badge of an
important civic official, like a park ranger, opp guy, security staff, even
a By Law guy ?
One of The Above is the Correct Answer .
And- we saw two Pileated Woodpeckers
and that scary looking Nursery Web Spider on the Hydrangea flower
right at the entrance to his driveway — good place to be !
Now we move on to the real Woodland- Mixed Conifer and Hardwood Forest ,
owned by Tiny Township, -with the creek running through .
This creek is the run off from Kettles Lake in Awenda park , that runs
through the wetlands , marshes, fens, before it drains into the Georgian Bay
. This is also a Trout Spawning Cold Water Creek , and come Fall – Trout
will be seen here jumping over the rocks to spawning grounds .
The Bridge– Built by Tiny Township , is my Self Timer Group Photo spot-
placing the camera on the bridge railing .
I cant believe I got all of us into that one photo with Social Distancing
in place , and I made it in within 10 secs to my spot .
I have done it before you see !!
This is also My Learning Curve Place — where I slipped on the ice and
fell, one cold January afternoon, fractured my wrist , the day before I
left for Arizona !
I cried all the way home, not from the pain of a broken bone, but from the
pain of a broken heart …
No AZ that year …
Another kind and trusty neighbor and his dear wife, took me to hospital
and had the fracture attended to, and I spent the winter in Mississauga/
Toronto, left hand in a cast for 10 wks, Learning Lessons of Life ..
Another little ways along the trail– my special Peek A Boo Photo Op Stop
! – an old Grandfather Eastern Hemlock that fell down perhaps 30 yrs ago
— as I have seen it here, in all the 30 years I have walked this trail .
Many people did the Peek A Boo Photo Op here – This time, I had the Web
Master tangled in the roots of this grandfather Eastern Hemlock tree .
So, we move on – and there is the patch of Sweetgrass ( Hierochloe odorata)
on the sandy beach — the most Sacred Grass for all Indigenous People of
Canada and USA.
It has the most fragrant odor, hence the name ‘ odorata “.
It is used for Smudging , as a herb medicine, handy crafts — hair barrettes like the ones
I wear, basket making, photo frames, place mats, you name it , into what
ever that can be braided and woven .
The most important function being its use a Sweetgrass Braid ,at
Ceremonies for Smudging, its fragrant smoke , to warding off evil and
bringing in Good Energy , before any Ceremony commences .
I accidentally ‘discovered ‘ patch, a few years ago, when I got the sweet
fragrance , after some Grass Cutter mowed this beach grass patch down .
One of these days, it is going to die out, as it is been mowed often . I
am surprised it is still there .
It is recognised by its broad shiny leaf blade, red base of the stem, just
above the soil level , and of course its sweet fragrance when the leaves are
Before picking it, one should sprinkle Sacred Semma ( Tobacco ) to ask
permission from The Creator/ Mother Nature ‘s permission pick it .
I did return on the 24th evening to spread Semma and offer prayers for
having picked a few clumps , earlier in the day, to demonstrate its features
to a club member .
Finally- we get to The Fen !
Photos illustrate the story . We scattered
in different directions, just totally awed by what we saw – field full of
flowers , yellows, whites with a splash of red here and there , , the watery
ground, on either side of us, stretching all the way into the Georgian Bay.
There was just too much for the senses … I must have come here at least
300 times in the past 30 years, but, never did I get this’ feeling ‘ like I
did on the day I came here with Rob/ Sue and Ken on our initial ‘checking
out ‘ day .
The wild flowers blooming around us, looking so unimportant, still with its
magic in the air , mixed in with the breeze from Georgian Bay with Giants
Tomb in the distance , and the sound of the water all around us . It is hard
to fully comprehend this magic — no photo fully captures the moment. One
has to Be There …
The Flowers of The Fen —
A sea of white Grass of Parnassus- ( Parnassia palustris )with its green
veins on the white petals leading the insect right down to where it should
be for pollination ,
Blue Fringed Gentian — clusters among the white grass of parnassus,
Yellow cinquefoil, on the limy, wet soil, forming short clumps – Shrubby
Sticky False Asphodel ( Tofieldia glutinosa ) with Reddish fruiting buds
Northern Bog Goldenrod ( Solidago uliginosa ) — yellow flower clusters
with lance shaped basal leaves, in a long sheathing stalk ,
Golden rod- Northern Bog Goldenrod- Solidago uliginosa
Purple Rattlesnake Root- at least that is what we think it is !
Hooded Ladies Tresses ( Spiranthes romanzoffiana ) – -that bloomed just
Plus a myriad of Horsetails as far as the eye can see, in the very , very
wet areas .
However, there was only One Butterfly we saw and that too- Viceroy
Butterfly – that looks like a Monarch, but not a Monarch .
Today – Aug 27th –
“ Stormy Weather Georgian Bay “ – just like Fred Varley of Group of Seven painted it a hundred years ago, almost to the day , in the Autumn of 1920, that I have hanging on the mantle piece of my home , with Giants Tomb in the painting in the distance .
It is good to sit back , during these hard Covid Times, in the comfort of a warm home , looking out into a blistering , blustery Stormy Weather Georgian Bay, and Re Visit and Meditate….
The Gifts of Mother Nature, for We Are ALL In It Together …
The difference is as Night and Day— Fun in The Fen !.— Dream Time —-
Miigwetch – Miigwetch – Miigwetch to MPFN Club— Mitakuye Oyesin ( We Are All Relatives- Lakota )
August 3 2020
Mid Summer Dreams- Nature in the Garden — Series Part Four
Eagledeepthie – Rock Star !!
Well, here is how I spent Covid Time during the month of July . I did not
even venture out to see birds . Just stayed around the yard playing withrocks and kind of beautifying the garden, that had now over grown during the
past 20 yrs .
Back in 2000, when I was landscaping the garden, the lake water level was
way down, down, and so we all went to the dried up lake bed and got rocks
for landscaping .
Don’t ask me how I did it – hauling in a thousand rocks by wheel barrow,
down from the lake bed and up the hill to the garden !
Remember I was 20 yrs younger then !!
This is how I edged the flower beds, that defines the garden, and add form
and contrast to the garden landscape, that adds to the visual appeal .
The garden did go on the Garden Tour- back in 2003 and again in 2009 –
“Penetnaguishene Library Garden Tour ” as it was known back then .
Now, I am too old for this game, but do donate my time, energy and
knowledge and of course plants to other gardeners , and to the
Penetanguishene Garden Club ., formerly Penetanguishene Horticultural Club .
This ‘rock job’ as I say, has to be done every 10 years or so, as the
rocks sink, weeds etc grow over, under and in between, and every where else.
I did this in 2000, 2008 and now in 2020 .
Next job should be 2030- and I hope to be with Ketchikawana in Giants Tomb
Island by then !
For now- -here is how I did The Rock Job .
Before and After photos are all self explanatory . It is not a tough back
breaking job – just very time consuming and labor intensive , specially I
was at this job, during the heat wave !- I must have a masochistic
personality to want to suffer like this !!
The small rocks- gravel was a gift to me by Mother Nature – during the
whipping Georgian Bay Storms we had last year – when I had piles of pebbles
I lost 100 % of the beach, my deck ended up as a tree house , and finally
as a Covid Beach Bon Fire ( not a Covid Beach Party for sure ! )
I raked all of them, and used them to fill up the small trench left by the
areas where the stones were lined up.
Now, the yard looks real nice and trim, though I still have a few beds to
Finally , after all this was done, I was duly rewarded by the most
spectacular sunset on Aug 1st — when the sky was on fire as if it were,
after the sun went down . It is rarely that one sees these colors light up
the sky . I last saw this kind of lighting about 10 yrs ago .
I missed the Northern Lights on Sat July 25th – -where Nick of Awenda saw
them at 1 am from First Beach , with lights from boats parked out for the
night at Giants Tomb island , and took the most spectacular photos – -might
see them one of these days on Awenda Park photos on google .
However, I did see Comet Neowise a few good times, from my beach and from
the public beach next door- around 10.30- 11 pm . It was quite the sight .
Wait six thousand years to see the next Comet Show !
Today– Aug 3rd — I have completed the 4th and Final Part of the ” Mid
Summer Dream- Nature in the Garden ” Mini Series , and all the birds came
out to greet me.
I rewarded them for their undying loyalty by hand feeding the chickadees
and leaving some sunflower seeds for the
White-Breasted Nuthatch – -that live in my garden .
Now, I go back to the garden and finish the Rock Star Job !! and check on
the Free Loading Noisy Covid Wrenters . There are babies in them nest, for I
saw mom and dad flying in and out with food early this morning .
Time for Summer Doodle Time on the Verendah Bench with Cannon ready to
Hope you all enjoyed the Mini Series Blog by Eagledeepthie Rock Star “
Mid Summer Dreams Nature in the Garden ” Mini Series !
Bye for now- eagledeepthierockstar !
August 2 2020
Mid Summer Nature in The Garden – Noisy Covid House Party Wrenters !
The Noisy Covid House Party Wrenters started to move in to the two
houses attached to the garage as early as May 13th !
Into to the little brown house first
and then the white house in late June.
Mom and Dad were busy and noisy and raised two equally noisy brats , that
chatter, chatter all day long, with mom and dad adding to the racket .
They would peek out of the hole, checking out the Big Wide Covid World ,
looking sooo adorable .
However, noisy as they were , no Tiny Township By Law people were called
in to check the little people !
I enjoyed the Party Songs from Sunrise to Sunset- along with the Red Eyed
Vireo , chickadees, blue jays, Red Cardinals and of course the robins and
Well- after 6 weeks – June 28th — they decided to vacate the house , and
one by one, they left, coaxed by mom and dad, who told them to hurry up and
get going , and get going they did…
and all was quiet for a few days, and
I almost wept … !!
I missed them …
However- I soon noticed , another change- the second house was being slowly
getting ready for occupancy – June 25th , and no sooner the chicks left, mom
and dad got busy with the second Wrental !
They keep me company as I putter around the yard – staying away from The
Two Legged .
Even as of today 2nd Aug- in the pouring rain, mom and dad were busy
perhaps taking food in to the nest- , though I have yet to hear any chatter
coming out of there .
Noisy they are- ie mom and dad , talking to each other in a language I do
not understand, flying around , and around from branch to branch from tree
to tree .
But I do know, that by certain calls, one of them will get into the nest,
I have to be ready with the camera , take my seat on the verandah bench and
patiently wait !. and wait I did, for many hours , day after day , when I
get tired of my garden puttering .
I have very lovley videos of chicks getting out of the nest, mom and dad
fixing up the house etc .
Today- August 2- mom and dad are still busy, and I wonder if chicks are
already hatched .
I am just waiting to see them, poking their little heads out of the nest
hole, like the first pair did , back in June , looking just adorable .
Noisy as they may be, Tiny Township By Law will NOT be informed !
Covid ?? it is NOT my problem- I wear a Mask !!!
And Oh ! By the Way — Wrenters Stayed Rent FREE ! and so no need for NO
Eviction Notice !
End of Part One.
Mid Summer Nature in The Garden
I don’t have to go anywhere to see any one – They are All around me!
The first Garter came around- at least I saw it – on Victoria Weekend , and
a few more times after that .
I was getting worried about my frogs in the
pond, as I did not see them for a while . Then, one by one, the frogs came
along . and one day- BINGO- -I saw Twenty One !!
I suppose the Mr Garter has moved one ?
Then there was my friend the Water Snake — who stays around the flower
beds , perhaps looking for mice ? and not frogs ?
This Water Snake- has been coming here for a few years and Tim Tully of
Awenda park told me how to build a Snake House – and it worked like a charm,
and I had sooo much fun with my Water Snakes ,till the big storms came last
year, and wrecked the Snake house and my deck, which was my Snake House
Viewing Platform .
My deck by the way , ended up as a Tree house that eventually ended up at
a Beach Bon Fire Party — Not a Covid House Party !
Then one day, I saw something curious- a Merganser on the maple tree- Tim
Tully , my trusty Awenda Park Nature Go To Guy – told me, ” Mergs are
tree nesters and soon you will find Mergs falling out of your maple tree ” !
Nothing like this happened, and I could not find a nest cavity either . The
Merg came a few more times, and I did see a family of mergs – mom with 6
chicks for a few more times on the water .
Then one day – I was sitting on the veranda, on a very hot and humid
afternoon, feeling very nice and lazy, when I noticed something else on
another old maple tree . Whip out the Vortex- and voila– a Racoon !!-
taking a snooooozzzie , in the middle of the afternoon at 3 pm !
It stayed around till 9 pm- and then it got dark, and I could not take any
more photos .
This was the cutest thing I ever saw up on my maple Tree !
Mr R never returned as I never left any food scraps out for a quick meal .
One morning – I was up bright and early , and who do I see — Mamma Bunny
with two Baby Bunnies — my Free Lawn Care Service !- they were nibbling at
the clover and other greens from my so called Wild Lawn !
Oh they were soo, sooo sweet !
They came for a few more days, and now, only one little Bunny comes along
and I think it is in a little bunny hole in my neighbors yard .
Now- my real treat – is a simple one – Frogs ! I just cannot have enough
of them, or too many of them .
One day, I was in the garden, when Awenda park staff came on their Annual
Butterfly Count , as they were sure they will find something new in my
They got one new species to their list- Mourning Cloak Butterfly .
But, one guy was more interested in the frogs for a little while and he
forgot about Butterflies ! .
He recalled jumping into my pond tryring to catch frogs, some 20 yrs ago,
when he was a kid !- he lives on the next street and has been there ever
The Kid in Him- never left him, and he is still chasing frogs !!– and now
he photographs frogs and butterflies , instead of jumping into the pond to
catch the frogs !
Frogs and Snails and Puppy dog Tails – that’s what Little Boys are Made Of
!!- -it seems !
Unfortunately, he saw only 5 frogs, and but a week later, another Awenda
Staff guy came along to take photos of butterflies in my garden, and he
saw Twenty one frogs !!—the most I have had for this year so far . Must
be a good sign as Amphibians are the Canary in the Mine for the environment
Now– where are the Snakes ? they may have gone some where else I presume,
but I am not complaining as I LOVE my Frogs .
The other day- I almost stepped on one of them right on my door step- it
came to say Good Morning !
So – here you are Mid Summer Nature Time In the Garden.
End of Part Two
Mid Summer Dreams – Nature in The Garden “- Summer Doodling !!
Lazy Hazy Days of Summer Afternoon is a great time to sit on the verandah
bench doodling along, and gaze at the summer colours of the garden, and the
birds and butterflies that are attracted to feast on the nectar and insect
Food Fest .
Summer colours- Red Monarda, Blue Delphinium, Pink candy tuft like Queen of
The Prairie ( Meadowsweet- Filipendula rubra ) — all in one field of view,
with the yellow Rudbeckia in the background , seem to dazzle my eyes .
At the same time, keeping one eye on my Free Loading Covid Wrenters , and
the other eye on the Ruby Throated Humming bird pair that fly around, and
come to the feeder and the flowers .
So, one day, Saturday July 25th morning , I was on a “summer doodling
mode “, watching over the garden, I see a strange insect– is it ? a big
bee, ? a big wasp, or ? a small hummer ?
Well, it suddenly clicked in my head — It is A Hummingbird Moth !- I
have had these Hummingbird moths in the garden before.
I go into — Action !- Camera !- Shoot ! – Mode , and got the most
wonderful photos and videos, that would make Awenda park staff green with
This Hummingbird moth came in on two consecutive days – same time, – 10 am
and 2 pm, to the same blue Delphinium in full bloom .
THIS was my Mid Summer Dreams Highlight for 2020 !!
I did watch out for this beauty in June, when the Siberian Iris were in
bloom- when one visited me last year in June .– see photo June 25th -2019-
Also see photo – Hummingbird Moth – June 9th – 2008 on the Forget Me Not
Never did I expect one this late in the year- late July .
But, Mother Nature– can always change her ingenious ways !
The Hummers did a curious thing yesterday morning about 8.30 am just
before the rains came — they were having a sort of a ‘mating dance ‘- the
male would fly in an Arc Shaped manner, the female would fly at the male,
sometimes, the female and male would just chase each other, and when they
make contact, there is a distinct ‘ Tik ‘ sound– their ‘security code !!
and Not Tik – Tok !!!
I was able to video tape this sound and it is really neat to hear it .
The other butterflies in my garden includes — Monarch, Eastern
Tiger Swallowtails , Pearl Crescents , Silver Spotted Skipper , Spear marked
Black Moth , Silver Studded Blue , Mourning Cloak , and White Admiral .
The variety of species seen in my garden is a lot less than what it was 5
yrs ago . The number of Monarchs- far less that in previous years, where as
5- 6 yrs ago- it was a Monarch Explosion .
There have been a large number of Eastern Tiger Swallow Tails around this
year, and there is a NEW Variation of this – “Midsummer Tiger Swallowtail
” – noticed in Ontario . Perhaps this is what is been around our area at
Mid Summer this year .
Look up Google ” Midsummer Tiger Swallowtails ” . https://www.ontarioinsects.org/tigers.html
It was Awenda Park SummerStaff member Nick , who alerted me to this new species , when he visited my garden on July 31- to photograph butterflies and Hummers feeding on the
monarda , and of course, photograph the all time favourite- The Frogs in the
pond !End of Part Three.
July 8 – 12 2020
Four Mishoomis and a New Friend
I lost 100% of the beach during some ferocious Georgian Bay Storms- Sept 21
and Oct 31st .
My old deck went into a friendly neighbour/ helper’s bonfire !
However, he fixed up an old bench on the edge of the water, so I could at
least sit and watch the sunrise while sipping my morning coffee , with the
old pocket Cannon by my side .
It is pure ethereal beauty- to sit in the cool of the serenity of the
morning silence , under the tamarack tree, with its lovely green leaves,
seeing the blue sky through them, and watch the morning sun come through ,
nice and just right for a bit of free Vit D .
I have seen two merganser families glide by, two moms and 10 babies ,
heard loons calling in the distance , kingfishers rattle around , and
sometimes cormorants flying by .
One day a merganser flew over to the water, right from the top of my home-
perhaps having watched over a cavity nest some where – I could never find
where it was , search as I may .
Two days ago — a friendly gull came and perched on top the Big
Grandfather Rock as I call it .
We sat in silent meditation– me watching the Four Rocks , as I call the
Four Glacial Erratics lined up — Four being the Magic Number for all
things in the Indigenous, in the Teachings of The Medicine Wheel.
These Four Grandfathers – I communicate with them – -asking them—- ‘ What
have you seen during the past 2 billion years, that you have been around ?,
and you came down here, from the Arctic , when the glaciers melted , and
when they retreated, 15,000 years ago , you decided to stay with me .. ” .
They have been my constant, trusty and ever faithful companions, that
don’t ever talk back, for the past 31 years .– Not even an inch they moved
, even with the most ferocious of Georgian Bay Storms .
Mother Nature’s Gift to me – Four Glacial Erratics – Four Grandfathers
Miigwetch Mishoomis ( Thank You Grandfather ) .
Now back to my friend —- It flew from Rock to Rock – pausing to meditate
on top of each one .
I ‘moved along ‘ with it – my mind drifting along with it .
Perhaps it remembered me feeding it last year , when I had the old deck .
After one hour, we parted company and I started my day – starting with my
‘garden walk ‘ that takes an hour .
After that , is way too hot to do any meaningful birding .
Just puttering around the yard – – Weeding and Hand Watering is Meditation.
Then , today – ( June 10th ), as I was gazing at ethereal light on the
water and on the Four Mishoomis Rocks , around 6 am, my friend flew over
and perched on one of the Grandfather Rocks .
I ran inside the house, and got a slice of bread, and we both had our
brekkie – me , the coffee and my friend, the bread .
This went on for an hour – with my friend flying around, and me flying with
it so to speak, picking up the bread crumbs from the water, and my pocket
Cannon clicking away .
It was pure joy — just me and my gull – My New Pet !
I hope I see you tomorrow – I will think of a nice name for you in the
It is hot as hell here and I hear Thunderbirds in the distance – see
dark clouds over Giants Tomb, and a little drizzle — and now, the sun came
Don’t ever believe The Weather Man !!
Rain – it did not come – It just POURED !!, so no hand watering for another 10 days .
The rain time gave me time to think of a new name for my New Pet—
“ TONY ‘—after my friendly neighbour who helped me with the waterfront clean up
and rigged up the old bench – propped up on a big flat rock
July 12th Morning —– They were waiting for me –
Mom Merg with her 8 babies — now all ‘growed up ‘ !
And ” Tony ” who had a quick bite to eat,
before his pals came along and they all went away , and I sat around for a
while, left the crumbs on the bench and came in as the water was virtually
lapping on my feet
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Just then — Just by Chance , Bonnie contacts me- and off we go to Tiny
A Great Blue Heron flies into the marsh filled with Pond Lillies- we take
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 –
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 .
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
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 !!!!
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
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
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
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 !
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
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
Good night ‘s rest with Sora Dreams !
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
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
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 —