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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hiking at Happy Valley in King Township Area

John and I decided to use the Victoria long weekend to go a bit outside the Toronto area for a walk, photo, bird hike this time. I was thinking Algonquin, but that is a bit too far for a day trip only.

John looked around online and he stumbled upon Happy Valley Forest in the township of King, which is just north west of Wonderland. There is the Oak Ridges trail as well, which we did first, before the Happy Valley Forest trail.

The Love Mountain trail was definitely chalk loaded with birds, especially in certain spots. There is one main path that goes across from road to road. Off that path, close to the area we parked, are 2 wood stakes that are the entrance to an abundance of smaller winding paths. On those paths are where many of the birds we saw, were. There is a bend in one path, that came near a water way, and there were many wrens, grosbeaks and orioles.
Our most exciting sighting was a Black Billed Cuckoo! We also saw an Indigo Bunting more than once, and a Ruby Throated Hummingbird in a tree. We also spotted a one legged Robin, the poor little guy, but he was singing quite beautifully.

We spent about 3.5 hrs in the Oak Ridges trail area. After that, we drove 5 mins away to the entrance of the King Ridges Stables. There, you can park in a small spot by the metal road divider fencing, and head up towards the entrance to the Happy Valley Forest. It's a gorgeous forested landscape, slightly rugged and windy, and has some real steep spots on the path. We had hoped to see a couple of the rare creatures such as the Jefferson salamander and the red shouldered hawk. We did see 2 salamanders but both jetted away far too quickly, from us, to get photos of either lol! But, I was glad just to finally see a salamander!

Tons of Trillium, many very tall, over 12-14"" in height! As well, we saw Trillium that were changing to green, this I have never seen before.

There is an abundance of birch trees in the Oak Ridges trails, and we did see the tallest most huge aspens we've ever seen, in the Happy Valley Forest trail.

Super gorgeous trails and quite the work out, this area is worth exploring and hiking though! But, respect the many spots of private property and stay on the trails, as this area is sensitive and preserving its naturalized state is vital.





















































































































































Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunsets From Our Place

Ok, I haven't done one of these sunsets posts since Sept. 2015 lol! Which means, a Lot of image files to go through to pull and organize some images from.

We face north, and we get some spectacular skyscapes and sunsets all through the year.

Here is a compilation of the best of them, through to June 2016. I'll do a 2nd post from June 2016 to May 2017 in a bit.

We'll start with May 13th 2017 and work backwards :-)





Sept 12th 2015 to Present:



















































































































































































































































































































Monday, 8 May 2017

Hi, How Are You?

This is what met me (I embellished it a bit with the How Are You part lol) when I first looked down and saw one of the coolest beach finds yet.

My husband and I were walking down at the shores of Lake Ontario, easterly from the base of the Doris McCarthy Trail. There were a couple of recent land slides from all the rain, large sections of the clay and mud bluffs, along with their passengers, groups of tall ornamental grasses, blocking a couple areas of the stone walking way parallel to the lake.

The city had a warning gate up, no public access due to eroding shorelines and such. It's quite the drive down there so we figured we'll venture down the path, and just not go near the water line if it looks to be precarious, since we'd made the drive.

The shoreline looked fine, a lot of extra washing up of stuff, so we continued. The land slides from the bluffs proved to be the real issue down there. But, they had already occurred.

This time, we trecked slowly closer to the water's edge and in doing so, we found quite a few cool little trinkets, pieces of glass, some little brick pieces, and one little man made "stone" that just spoke to me :-) I was standing still, and John was mentioning up ahead the huge land slide that blocked the walking way, but I was already looking at the ground. "Hi?" was I really seeing what looked like Hi on a stone? I'm like "get out" and I took a photo of it. I figured it would just wipe off, but as I picked it up, I saw that it was a worn piece of cement that some thick metal wire had been exposed and that rust and that wire created the word on it. How cool! It wasn't perfect but it was certainly legible. So, I took the little thing home and I really have become quite attached to it!

So, besides that thing, there were a few other living things that were cool to see. We spotted 2 pairs of Red Necked Grebes, quite a lot of Merganser ducks, Terns, and a Herring gull pretty far out, floating on the water among the Long Tail ducks. We also saw a Pine Warbler, but I didn't get any good shots of it, nor any of the other birds for that matter this time. It was just nice to see them.

Seems we weren't the Only people not to heed the warning sign and closed gate, there were a few others down there and we met another couple just passing the gate as we were coming up, joking about what it is good to see what law abiding citizens we all are lol!























Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Glaucous Gull in Scarborough

We have not ventured out at 6:30am in the morning on a Sunday, to see the sunrise, for quite a long time. It was not the ordeal it is now, when we lived 7 mins walk from the lake in Whitby. Now, it's about a 15 min drive south from our condo building in Scarborough. But, still, it's ok. We just cannot whip down on a quick whim like we used to be able to. We had to set the alarm to go off on a Sunday, lol, and then get up in time to drive there to make it. It was worth it, though we did miss the spectacular soft pink beginning glow of it, which we spotted from our car windows as we headed down there.

The highlight was an odd gull I spotted as I was watching a small group of seagulls in the little sheltered area on the beach which is east of the actual Scarborough Bluffs area, east of the marina. I was taking his photo because I liked the light and the water ripples around him when I realized he had a white tail, no black. I immediately flipped my gaze to his beak because I knew if he had a different mark, he was not the usual ring billed gull. Well, he wasn't. He had a little spot on his lower bill, kind of like what you see marking a Jamaican patty for being spicy. The red spot on some gulls, it has always reminded me of those.

I got 2 shots then he took off to the east, possibly to show up at Whitby Harbour a bit later.
















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.