A Season Gone By

This blog reflects 365 days of photos taken along a portion of the Tom Taylor Trail, in Newmarket, Ontario. It was an opportunity to work on my own observation skills as well as to learn about photography. I’ll occasionally update this site but have posted more regularly and recently on Flickr, where all of my photos are in the public domain.

Camouflage Expert

I wandered down to the overflow pond to see who was there. A mallard duck was resting on the outcrop between the two pools of water and looked up at me. I watched closely, though, because there appeared to be shifting earth below where the mallard was sitting. And that’s when I saw the sandpiper.
Camouflage expert

Riverside Birds

This spring has been very cold and perhaps that is why I have been seeing some unusual birds.  Yesterday as I walked home from the train, I saw a variety of warblers that were new to me.

Tennessee Warbler

I’m not 100% sure this is a Tennessee warbler but it looks like it from my identification book.  Or it could be a vireo.
Warbler world

American Redstart

Like the warblers, this Redstart was moving around so quickly and far back in the brush I could barely get a snap of it.  At first I thought it might be an oriole but it’s orange is in the wrong places.
American redstart

Yellow Warbler

I usually see a pair of yellow warblers each year but for many years I may have been seeing them but assumed they were finches from a quick view of yellow feathers in a bush.  They’re obviously very different.
Yellow warbler

Grackle

I like the grackle.  It’s colorful feathers are always attractive and, while it seems like it’s a bit of a bully, always has a spirited look.  This one was hopping around just as I got off the train.
Gracklescent colors

Watchful Weasel

The dog and I walk along the river and, while he’s sniffing the grass, I keep an eye on the river.  Even on a windy day, you can see ripples that aren’t natural on the water.  I saw some and watched as a creature swam the river and popped up on our side.  A weasel!
Weasel
It paused at the river bank and then slowly jumped its way across the low underbrush until it came up almost right to me and the dog. Which was the first time he saw the weasel – he’d been huffing and puffing at me while I stood still, and hadn’t been looking at the animal coming towards us.
Watchful weasel
The weasel continued to move around the grass looking for an auspicious place to cross, I’m assuming, the path. By the time we looked back, he’d disappeared.
Weasel in the weeds

Myrtle Warbler

I’d not seen a Myrtle warbler before – and hadn’t known it under it’s Yellow Rump (or “Butter Butt”) name.  The purpose of this site was to help with my observation skills and visually I’m better, but the birds make me realize how little I can distinguish one bird’s call from another.  The finches and cardinals are obvious, but often I’ll see something like this bird because I’ve heard a call I don’t recognize!
Butter butt
I wasn’t sure at first that these are the same type of bird, but this one clearly has the yellow spot on the head. I find bird watching in spring to be hard as the juveniles do not yet share the coloring of their adults.
Myrtle warbler

Late Summer Monarchs

I’ve seen more monarchs in the last few days than I’ve seen all summer.  The butterflies are well provided for as milkweed goes.  It’s everywhere.  But this monarch butterfly was spending its time in the plentiful goldenrod, bee balm, and prairie coneflowers.

monarch-butterfly-goldenrod-snail

Basking Beaver in the River

This weekend was extremely hot.  I was out early with the dog to try to get in a walk before we both melted.  As we passed a large outflow pipe, this beaver was floating on the river.  Not a ripple from it as it seemed to just enjoy being in the cool water.  After a moment it gained a bit of headway, and disappeared as a bike rider rattled by behind us.

beaver-swimming-holland-river

Asters and Goldenrod

It is late summer along the Holland River and the purple asters have taken over from the white daisies.  They’re especially striking amongst the tall yellow goldenrod.

purple-asters-goldenrod

Muskrat Rushes

One afternoon on the way home, the water was deep and the ducks were dabbling.  Then a muskrat swam up and started grabbing the rushes from near the edge of the pond.

muskrat-swimming