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Blustery Nature Walk – Marie Curtis Park

Miles Hearn’s spring nature walks started this week. I’m going on the Wednesday walks and today our group met up at Marie Curtis Park, just down the road from here. It looked like it was going to be a nice day, but that changed quickly. At various times durng the morning, we experienced cold blustery winds, a bit of rain and some snow. By the time the walk was finished, it was sunny again, but still chilly and windy.

There were a few ducks around, mostly mallards, but also a couple golden eyes and a wood duck. The ducks in the photo are hybrid mallard/black ducks, often called bib ducks.

There were 6 turkey vultures circling the park. Not sure what goodies they were after.

Early spring is an interesting time to look at trees, using the bark and the buds as well as the shape and stature of the trees to identify them. Above, Miles is showing the distinctive bark of the hop hornbeam (sometimes called ironwood). Below you can see a far different looking bark. It’s black cherry, whose bark Miles compares to burnt cornflakes. This particular black cherry has a lot of dripping sap happening.

There are quite a few butternut in Marie Curtis Park. The bark looks like it’s been taped up with masking tape.

Above, Miles is showing us silver maple buds.

Here in Ontario, we have a problem with an invasive Asian insect called Emerald Ash Borer. Below you can see an ash tree which has been killed by this insect.

When I think of trembling aspen, I think of how they look in mid-summer. I wasn’t expecting these fluffly flower buds, above.

On many of the Missouri willows in the park, you can see pine cone willow galls (above).

One way of identifying choke cherry, even before they have leaves, is by the distinctive black knot fungus, which seems to be present on all the choke cherry shrubs we saw today.

sThere weren’t too many green plant up yet, but we did see some stinging nettle…

…and some Dame’s rocket

We saw a good flock of starlings in some trees in the park. There must have been 50 of them.

And here’s an American robin, enjoying a staghorn sumach.

Right at the end of the walk, we saw an unusual bird for Etobicoke Creek, which Miles identified as a juvinile red-throated loon.

1 Comment so far

  1. Anonymous

    Very blustery morning and even now at 5ish. From our indoor view, it was amazing watching the weather system descend before lunch–from the NW–twice! Just rain here! We were at the AGO this aft and exitting out the back door into Grange Park saw and heard a robin–hopping around the grass and approaching us. A lovely sight!

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