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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Miss Nature's Own Crystal Skull

Last weekend, despite the deep snow conditions, we decided a long exercise filled walk would be great. Having chose the marsh area near the GM plant in Oshawa, that also can lead into the Darlington Provincial Park, we drove there and found the parking lot pretty precarious. Against my better judgement, I pulled pretty far into the lot and yes, got stuck lol! Other cars were there and one guy was by his car and ended up moving for me so I could pull forward and around, following the well worn tracks that lead to where he was parked. I got out and back onto the main road that leads in to the lot, only to have to stop behind a snow shoe guy walking in the center of the road lol! Would I move aside after seeing that a car was stuck and trying to keep from getting stuck again? Yes lol! Needless to say, I stopped my car, hoping I'd not get stuck again, until he finally was off the road leading out. I chose to drive back a bit and go to Second Marsh instead. In a way, it was good all that happened because the Second Marsh walk ended up being awesome!

We cut through the wooded path through the forest that comes up pretty early in Second Marsh, instead of the usual path that leads straight to the lake. This path is interesting and it leads pretty much to the area where we had initially intended to go, only it is an hour or so walk to get there. It was fun, tromping through deep snow that luckily had some people make a bit easier by already having gone that way before us. I never did get my hiking boots I ordered so don't have the greatest boots to be doing these walks with.

We ran into a family snow shoeing, saw lots of cool things, enjoyed the sun which was out, and ended up with a 3 1/2 hr walk. The ice on the shore of Lake Ontario offered up some pretty cool and creative designs right from the hands of Miss Nature. Little beautiful crystal like formations, strewn here and there, with glorious light travelling through them. One particular piece had a skull like appearance.

There were lots of gorgeous sights to see, through the forest part, along the shoreline, then back through the regular path that goes right through Second Marsh and back to our car. But the most amazing gem of a find, on the last legs of our hike, was the perfect little heart shape on a single piece of marsh grass. Just in time for Valentine's day which was 4 days away :-)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Snow Snow and More Snow

Usually, when we used to get told by the news that there is a big impending storm coming, Durham Region ends up really getting not much of anything. Well, this time we did lol! Work gave us an early dismissal to make sure we had more time to travel home safely but I totally did Not get home in time for any leisurely walks in That snow last Friday lol! The side walks were plowed right over with mountains of snow and our car was stuck in the back lot of our apt. building. It took me longer to get from the Go Stn, which is 5 mins away from our apartment then the train ride home was lol! Needless to say, we stayed in and ate whatever food we could find for dinner and watched a movie, burning finally to nothingness, the huge Partylite candle my friend had given me when I moved into my apt. almost 2 years ago.

Next morning, we did get the car out and we went to our favourite walking area before doing food shopping.  The snow was deep but there was already a bit of a path cut in it from boots before ours. The sparrows, jays, cardinals and chickadees were going nuts and they were happy to see people with food. They were quite funny and I managed to get a comedic shot of a bird fight over seed.

Later, we went in the evening to Lynde Shores. The evening light was gorgeous and I got a few beautiful landscape shots. We saw a red Tailed Hawk when we first parked. The ducks were funny that day too, nipping at each other's arses and plopping down suddenly on the snow to eat seed dropped by people. The geese pretty much were doing the same thing. I got one particular Mallard's portrait that my boyfriend says reminds him of this cartoon character (new to me) called Darkwing Duck lol! The way the light hits the eye makes the duck look evil. There was an instance as well of a female Mallard perched up on the fence for a few moments, gawd knows Why she was doing that.

Venturing down the chickadee path, we saw lots of woodpeckers, both male and female, as well as the Red Bellied Woodpecker again. They were appearing from everywhere - it was Woodpecker city. The Red Bellied is quite gorgeous to see, flying from tree to tree, looking for bugs. He has a shrill call, sort of similar to a Flicker. It was cool to get to hear it!

Down at Lynde Shores, twice now, we've seen a Black Duck. It appears to be a darker female Mallard but after researching, we are pretty sure it is a pure male Black Duck and not a Mallard and Black Duck mix.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Red Bellied Woodpecker - Really? Where's the Red lol!

Ok, this is a bird name that has baffled me since learning about their existence a year or so ago. maybe I am wrong but I don't see any red on their bellies. The head, yes, but alas I guess there already is a Red Headed Woodpecker. Despite the way I always think of these birds as the "bird that doesn't match their name" I still knew what the name was when we happened to spot one this past weekend.

Update lol!: Ok, I'll give it to the woodpecker, it Does have a hint of browny pink on its underbelly. We saw it again and we did see the tiny bit of "red" lol!

There are always a lot of Downies in the areas we walk, I enjoy hearing them knock the tree bark and love getting to see them not to mention the odd time when they'll feed from your hand. Their name matches them, they are so soft feeling and gentle. Those and the Nuthatches are so cute to see and have them eat from our hands. They are a little bird but Love peanuts. The Nuthatches have the most unique and beautiful sound as well and as we walk, I love hearing them all around us.

One thing I used to always love, when I was in a place where my window was open often in spring, was the sound of the birds in the morning just as the sun was rising. Hearing them was not annoying or disturbing, it was very calming and pretty. I do tend to be an early riser - a person who always hated wasting away big chunks of my life sleeping in, even as a teen, so I welcomed birds' sounds at 4am lol! Walking through forested areas has a similar peaceful feel with the sound of birds if not quite exactly the same.

On the walk, there is also many little interesting things to see. A glinting curled silvery thing, which looked to be not a natural object for its metallic silverness and sure enough a closer look revealed it was a man made object - but the way light hit it and something about it made it a cool little find to photograph anyway :-) It was a tiny silver piece of ribbon, curled and tied to a branch. 

There were small frozen puddles of water which revealed grasses and such frozen beneath their surfaces in layers, which were also cool, as well as various back lit items such as leaves, always a favourite lighting condition of mine :-)

On our way to where we walked, while driving, we spotted a Red Tailed Hawk. There was a rabbit half dozing in the sunlight, at the beginning of the path, despite the fact that we saw 3 birds of prey right in the vicinity. We saw a robin which gets one all excited that Spring is just around the corner, but no such luck lol! There was also the usual cute red squirrels - this time they were Not attacking Mourning Doves however lol!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Short Walk on my Short Work Day

I had some lieu time to take, about 3 hrs, so I got to leave work at noonish Friday. I was excited as I'd be home long before dark time and we could do a walk on a weekday, which is always enjoyable.

Well, it certainly was Not +12 like Wednesday, in fact, with the wind chill it was -18 lol! We did go, kind of halfway hoping we'd see a Sawhet owl that 3 different people we've run into have mentioned they'd spotted. Typically, I am not one for going out specifically to look for something as I enjoy the walks for the walks first, then love the surprise of seeing something cool or interesting or exciting. Otherwise, there is that chance of being disappointed because one didn't see what they hoped to see - it's like that for me anyway.

Well, we got there and a guy had his shepherd running loose in the area where my boyfriend mentioned the owl is seen usually. So, no way was I going to walk around there. We figured we'd look a bit on the way back to our car. Venturing into another area, we startled a deer in the small tree and bush area, which scared the crap out of me at first. What a beautiful and large animal it was. It ran and we saw that down below in the valley, it joined a group of about 4 or 5 other deer and they headed away. I'd never seen deer there and was surprised by coming upon one.

In a different area, we happened to spot the Great Horned owl (not me though, my eyesight tends to suck). It was nice to see that it seemed fine and was still present as we'd not seen it for a while. It was dozy, turning its head slowly in the direction of some far off sound. They are always so high up that getting a photo of them is very difficult with my lens. Seeing it here, you'd think we were very close but at the height they usually are, I can barely see them with my naked eye. Nice to have a couple shots though, to recall in the future how lucky we were to have seen them.

We never looked for the Sawhet even though the guy and his dog were gone because we were freezing so we booted it back to the car and went home to make dinner and watch a movie.

Friday, 1 February 2013

I Hate Diamonds and Gold - My 'Cheep' Birdy Ring

Huh? A chick who doesn't like diamonds and gold?! No way lol! Even if they Are her birth stone?

Yes way - most of my rings (unless inherited) are $40 and under. I have bought a few hand made and weird rings from Etsy, eBay and even while in Ottawa with my close artist friend. I love earthy and organic jewellery and silver is the closest to precious metal I'll usually get. I love most of all ethnic rings from India, Indonesia, Turkey, and hand made rings.
I found an awesome little ring which was under $10 and it reminds me of my boyfriend's and my passion - hiking and being surprised by cool sightings of birds, animals, beautiful stones, gorgeous light, flowers, butterflies and hundreds of small little finds :-)

I only began to wear lots of rings maybe 8 years ago. I am unsure why because my hands are "workish" hands and not elegant or pretty really at all. The nails suck and always have, which I too inherited. Maybe all kinds of rings remind me of something positive about my maternal Grandmother, who actually was quite beautiful looking, recalls for me my history, a little bit of where I came from - she always had rings stacked on her fingers, often white gold with diamonds though. When I think of her I see her hands first.