In the summer, when I get out on my bike, I usually head for the Humber Recreational Trail. I’ve biked many hours here, and today I decided to head over to one of the sections to get my butt out of my regular neighbourhood.
I headed to a section of the trail where there is a large pond. In the summer, you can usually find great blue herons and white egrets here, but with the cold weather, these birds head south. I did not find any other birds here, which in a way was lucky since I had only brought my macro lens with me. From one of the viewpoints on the pond, I saw a person by the water’s edge under a beautiful tree. I can’t say I was disappointed with this nice surprise as I quickly snapped a few photos.
For the middle of winter, there is a lot of brown around us. We haven’t had snow since Christmas Day. This image above was quite bland when I started editing it. I wanted to give it a little spice, so I added some fog to the background and darkened up the foreground, giving it a little more atmosphere.
As I crossed over the river on my way back to my car, a couple of ducks picked that same moment to came in for a landing. I was able to get a few shots as they came toward me. Only one photo was sharp, but that was all I needed. A very different walk than usual, but it was worth the short drive to see something different from my own backyard.
I met my friend Nigel at Meadowvale Conservation Area for a hike around the credit river. It was an overcast day but the place looked promising when we spotted a hawk in a nearby tree. We, of course, had the wrong lenses to capture an image of the hawk. The hawk didn’t stick around long so we headed onto the trail where we saw one more hawk. I swear, they were taunting us.
There were some good views of the credit river from different spots along the trail.
This spooky tree stood out against this section of the river. I tried a few different spots along the trail to photograph it but I liked this one the best. There is another trail in the other direction from the parking lot. We may have to try it out next time we head this way to see what surprises lie there. And maybe I’ll bring my long lens, just in case.
Nigel and I decided to head back over to Drynan Forest for another hike. When we were here last time, we spoke to someone who mentioned another nearby trail. So, we have decided to try both trails today, with the Drynan Forest loop trail up first.
Drynan Forest Reflections
You’ll notice a big change from our last hike. All the deciduous trees have lost their leaves, leaving only the evergreens. Which means everything is green again! One of my first photos today was of the trees across the small lake. The lake is very still and acting as the perfect mirror, making the reflections look almost real.
After hiking the Drynan trail, we travelled to the Chesney Wilderness Trail. We began hiking the trail counterclockwise and were greeted by this pathway of Hemlock trees. They make an impressive entrance to the trail. Although the Chesney trail is on the shorter side at only two kilometres, it makes it perfect as an add-on hike. And it was a great way to end our hiking journey today.
I dropped my dad off for his appointment, and since I had time to kill until I was to pick him up, I decided to wander the path around Professor’s Lake. I have never taken the trail here, even though I used to run a photo group from their facility. Go figure.
I tried my best at finding shots that didn’t include all the homes that seem to be everywhere along this lake. I was able to take two shots that were only of the natural environment.
Autumn at the Lake
It was a lovely walk along the trail but a little too urban for my tastes.
I’m off to Colonel Sam Smith Park with my friend Nigel. It’s the middle of January and we are hoping to find something to photograph. We’re anticipating seeing some ducks and lo and behold we find – ducks.
Gadwall Playing in the Waves
This Gadwall duck is playing in the waves at the shoreline before swimming as far from us as possible. I guess our long lenses are intimidating. Interesting fact about the Gadwall is that they often snatch food from diving ducks as they surface. They’re the pirates of the lake.
I notice that the ducks seem to congregate along the shoreline. I guess the shallows are warmer. Do ducks even feel the cold? I wonder sometimes as I’ve seen them stand on ice for long periods and they seem to enjoy just barely unfrozen water all winter. How? And can you give that superpower to me?
Male Long Tail Duck
This long-tailed duck is one of many enjoying a paddle around the shoreline. He has an impressive tail which I assume is for mating purposes but what’s interesting to note is his plumage during winter The males have two mirror-image plumages: in summer mostly black with a white face patch; in winter mostly white with rich brown, black, and gray on the face. I’ve only ever seen the winter plumage as they are from the high arctic and they are there for the summer and my travels don’t take me that far.
After our fill of the ducks we head home to warm up and plan our next outing.