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Winter Walks

I’ve been going on Miles Hearn’s nature walks (through the Toronto District School Board) since early spring of 2018. Today is the first of a series of winter walks. I’m excited about this since after these walks I’ll have experiences the various GTA locations through all the seasons. Today’s walk was at a Toronto treasure, High Park.

This hairy woodpecker showed no fear of us today and went about his business

There are a number of invasive species of plants in High Park. One of them is the winged euonymus.

winged euonymus

Another is a tall grass called phragmites.

phragmites

The folks who manage High Park try to reduce the invasive plants in the park and right now there is a 3-5 year program in place to control phragmites. Perhaps in a few years other species such as cat tail will take over at the top of the pond.

Phragmites at Grenadier Pond

Another invasive species in the Park is buckthorn. One good thing about this plant is that the birds enjoy the berries. Best us humans avoid those berries. Let me just point out the scientific name for common buckthorn is Rhamnus cathartica. Catharthis of course means purging. Need we say more.

When Grenadier Pond freezes, the winter ducks find open water where they can. There was an army of mallards up at the top of the pond in one open water stretch.

mallard army

Mallards are very trusting of people and when our group came by, a platoon left the water and walked towards us, hoping for a handout.

High Park is home to a number of hawks and we saw this red-tailed hawk on the wing toward the end of our walk.

There are a number of dawn redwoods in the Park. This distinctive tree, the shortest of the redwoods, is a native of China. We have them in Canada as a result of gifts of these trees from the Chinese government after the Second World War.

There are also Douglas firs in High Park. Here is a Douglas fir cone.

It’s great to be back doing these walks again. I enjoy them tremendously. Here’s Miles at work.

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