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Saturday, 25 March 2017

First Spring Hike at the Doris McCarthy Trail

Last weekend, while it wasn't real warm, it wasn't freezing, nice hiking weather. Doris McCarthy Trail is a hike with quite a bit of an incline to it, for the way back up and out. Perfect for sight seeing and exercise!

The hike down the trail which reaches the shores of Lake Ontario in Scarborough,is about 15 to 20 mins at a leisurely sight seeing pace, longer if one stops to take photos, faster if one just jaunts down to the end with no gawking.

You'll want to gawk though, especially in late Spring and the Summer months. Chances are you'll see the deer if it is early enough in the morning or not too busy, there are a lot of birds, butterflies and dragon flies in the Spring, Summer and early Fall. In very early Spring, there are blossoming trees and pussy willow bushes. It's super exciting, all the things you can spot!

The lake shore area has long waterfront paths that you can follow either east or west. It has a similar structure to Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto Lesleyville area. There is clean fill that builds up some of the shoreline.

During our last weekend's hike, which covered 5.2 kms, around 3:30pm in the afternoon until about 6pm, we spotted a pair of redwinged hawks soaring, a few long tailed and bufflehead ducks and scaups on the water, and quite a few red winged black birds calling back and forth. Other than that, the light was gorgeous, lots of cool rocks and such on the ground, and it was sunny airy slightly nippy but also pleasantly mild at times, day.

It is probably one of the, if not The favourite spot that we like to walk and take pictures at.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Stop Over Before Dinner with Friends

Since were were heading out to the Durham Region area for a dinner with friends, we decided to stop at a farm road on the way that we often went to for walks when we lived in Whitby. There were tons of people down there. One, because it was Family Day weekend, and two because it was a mild weekend, and last but not least, three, because most likely the sightings.

It was slightly damp and wet there, since we were there fairly late in the day. However, it was worth it, worth being chilled and damp feeling, because we saw tons of deer and we got to see the barred owl! We haven't seen the barred owl in that area since 2012. It was nostalgic, and we were glad to see this owl was extremely healthy looking and content there, as in 2012. They must love this area as they stay a long time, which means probably that there is food there for them.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Winter Kinglet at Halls Rd.

Early January, we went for a walk on a really pretty sunny Sunday. We decided to go to our old favourite haunt, that we loved so much, and with the hopes of seeing a lot of birds.

It was so bright and sunny, and right in the middle of our little hike, little flurried began to fall. They were sparkly and gorgeous, back lit by the brilliant sunlight. It was stunning!

There indeed were quite a few birds. Lots of nut hatches, and Downy woodpeckers, there were blue jays, and tons of Chickadees as usual, and Juncos and a couple sparrows. The woodpecker, a boy, actually made the move to come and eat out of the container of seeds we brought with us. I am assuming he was hungry, mainly because in the past, only the females have been brave enough to feed from our hands. That, and it has been maybe twice only in a 5 year period that a woodpecker has even come to our hands to feed.

We actually learned something new this day as well. John spotted a tiny bird hopping around in one of the pine trees. Upon c loser look at it, we were surprised to see it was a Golden Crowned Kinglet. We had no idea they stayed in Ontario during the winter. Once we got home, we were able to research and find out that they actually Prefer colder weather, and they travel further North in Summer, and for breeding.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Years Day Hike in Oshawa

The first of January, the first day of a brand new year, was a gorgeous sunny one. We decided to go back to our old haunts. We had planned to go to Thickson Woods then Halls Rd.. But, after quite a long time at Thickson, we skipped the other, which we had actually been to recently anyway, and we ended up at Whitby Harbour.

Our old apartment was a 10 min walk from Whitby Harbour, and a 5 min drive from Halls Rd. We do really miss that area. If we financially could have stayed in Whitby, we would have. But, Go Train to work for me is triple the cost of Toronto TTC, and property taxes for a condo even, out there, are double what we pay in Scarborough, which is actually now the City of Toronto since the 90s amalgamation. Anywhoo, we decided it'd be nice to head out that way for a change for a New Year's Day walk.

John took out bird food, as there are lots of sparrows and chickadees, not to mention cardinals, Juncos, nuthatches and such in winter that thrive on people helping them out during the long winter. They were out in plenty this sunny day :-)

I even shot a little video of the chickadees, for a few minutes, landing in the little container we had all the seed in. It was quite funny I realized, once we watched it at home lol!

The treat of the day, and quite unexpected, is a sighting of a long eared owl. She/he was sleeping peacefully in a sun spot on a branch in a pine tree. It was a first for us, seeing this type of owl. We saw a lot of Barred owls in 2012, a snowy owl in 2012, a Sawhet in 2012, and the Great Horned owls a few times in '12 and '13 or '14. I took a couple pictures of the owl, watched it for a bit, then left it to sleep.

There were a lot of gorgeous dried plants and little gems as well.

We got quite the surprise at seeing that there is now a gate up in winter, at Whitby Harbour, and you are not able to walk down the pier to the lighthouse anymore. Possibly due to that avid runner who died a couple years ago, we assumed. They also have resurfaced the cement walkway on the pier we saw.

After a quiet evening with finger foods, wine and a movie, it was a lovely fun day to start a new year journey in 2017.