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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Exciting Birds and Animals This Summer So Far

We've been to a few of our local haunts this past late Spring and Summer so far.

This year, we've seen a few really cute sightings and had some cute encounters with baby animals, and have seen some juvi birds.

In these couple of instances, I didn't get good pics, only a couple not so great cell pics, unfortunately, as I didn't have my DSLR.

On the way to the entrance to the RT in the morning, there's a cement accessibility ramp, as well as stairs. It was May or early June, and as I headed for the stairs, my husband, who walks me to the subway some mornings, spotted a tiny baby bunny. Then, we spotted 3 more. One was actually half way up the ramp heading towards the doors that enter the walkway to the TTC. I dropped my bag and chased it to try to capture it so I could put it back with its brothers and sisters. They all were hanging around the empty square garden area at the base of the walkway. I did finally corner the little thing and cupped it in my hands, holding it until I got it to where the other bunnies were. I didn't like that they all still seemed so vulnerable, but there was no way I could really do much about it. My husband said that an hour later they were no longer there. A month later, we spotted one, a bit bigger by now, in the grassy area outside our condo.

The next encounter, outside the window of our ground level condo gym, we spotted a shadow going back and forth every 10 minutes or so, out of the corner of our eyes. My husband looked behind and out the window was a mom squirrel carrying a baby squirrel up the cement pebbled pillars that lead up to a narrow cross way on the outside of the building. I waited for a bit to see if she'd go get another one, but she didn't appear. Weeks later, there again, was the mom, up on the top of the narrow crossway with her one baby sitting beside her, in silhouette against the bright sky. The pic shows a reflection in the window, too, of the Mom and baby squirrel.

Getting back on track again, we've had some cool bird sightings so far this year. A brown thrasher at Rosetta, blue jay, cat birds, cute squirrels, a black squirrel with a red tail, red eyed vireos, wax wings, flycatchers, hummingbirds already, and more!

The biggest thrill was getting to see the little baby Killdeer at Doris McCarthy Trail in early July. They were so tiny, adorable little replicas of their parents. I couldn't get great shots, even with my 70-300 mm zoom as they were pretty far away.

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: