Am I on the right track? 🙂
April 18, 2012 – The winds, that I discussed in an earlier post , have now headed east and the sky is blue, so off I go again to photograph the Magnolias at the Experimental Farm.
Didn’t get there AGAIN!
Each Spring, for at least the past five years, I have driven past a certain corner, seen wild plums in blossom, and thought “Too busy to stop. Maybe next time.”
Well, today I stopped!
Each time that I drove down Carling Avenue, I would pass a certain point and notice a trail that I have not yet explored and think “Too busy to stop. Maybe next time!”
Well, today, I stopped!
In a normal Spring, parts of this trail would be a bit damp right near to the road, but it soon rises a bit, and from there on it is high and dry. Today, it was definitely dry all of the way along. An early Spring heat wave and limited rainfall has rendered everything in the woodland a bit drier than normal for this time of the year.
Not much colour in the woods yet, but the trees are beginning to get a hint of green as the leaves begin to show that they are still alive.
On the forest floor, the ferns, which have spent their winter underground just waiting for the snow to disappear once again, are just now beginning to unfurl their lovely fronds.
Along the pathway, the forest floor is heavily populated with the spotted green leaves of the Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum), each with its single, delicate pendulous yellow flowers just beginning to appear.
The trail itself is bounded by farm land on one side and by a sluggish water way on the other side and then travels along the side of the Marshes Golf Course. This small parcel of woodland is bounded on the other side by a railroad track and a fence.
The signs of human involvement, unfortunately, are not as attractive to me as the moss-covered stumps that litter the forest floor, but is hard to escape from the fact that some folks like to treat the forest around us as their garbage dump! At least, there were very few signs of golfers treating the landscape this way, which is a good sign.
Marshes Golf Course
Just as I was thinking of walking further along the trail, a pair of Cardinals flew across my path and landed in a bush beside the railroad track. Hoping that I might be able to get a nice shot of the Male Cardinal, I dropped down into the ditch by the tracks and forced my way through a goodly mess of raspberry bushes. Thankfully, I was wearing long pants and a jacket so was somewhat protected from those thorny bushes. Alas, by the time that I got near to the tracks, the Cardinals had flown off, leaving me to look both ways before crossing the tracks. Nothing to the left, nothing to the right!
As I was photographing the tracks, a White-tailed Deer appeared from beside the tracks and ambled across to the other side.
Then another came out of the bush and bounded after the first.
A third and then a fourth came out to give me a good stare before following the first two back into the forest.
The deer had headed off into the woods through a good thicket of raspberry canes so, rather than follow them on their travels, I decided to follow along the tracks to a spot where the path back into the wooded area would be a bit less prickly. This brought me along the backside of the government Communication Research and satellite testing complex. Of course, I just had to photograph the crow that had landed on top of the satellite dish. Obviously, I needed a longer lens :-).
Once I headed back into the woods, I was able to find a number of interesting natural subjects to photograph.
Polypore on Yellow Birch and other fungi on dead and fallen trees
Although I had earlier seen the pair of Cardinals and seen a few Crows, the number of bird species that I saw during this short outing was somewhat limited. A few Northern Flickers had been flying from tree to tree at tree-top level but nothing much near ground level. Then I saw a couple of birds flitting about at ground level and approached as quietly as I could. At first, I thought that they were both of the same species, but as I got a closer view through the thicket, I was able to see that one was a Sparrow and the other was a Thrush.
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Olive-Backed Thrush (Swainson’s Thrush – Catharus ustulatus)
Am I on the Right Track?
Still haven’t got to the Magnolias at the Experimental Farm 🙂
“Too busy! Maybe next time!”
Guess I’ll have to cross that fence when I come to it 🙂