My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): the apparent wind in our hair


It's warmer out but there's still snow on some of the city trails.  Many fields are drenched and not conducive to hikes.  It's muddy and slippery and water levels can be high and currents fast, so exploring around streams and rivers is just not recommended.  So we decided to get on our bikes!  (Please note that despite the title of this post we did wear CSA approved bicycle helmets on our ride!)

I remember biking home from a meeting late last summer along one of the parkways and the scent of the conifers was in full force.  It was such an uplifting fresh smell that I almost turned my bike around to enjoy the tunnel of green again.  The blue skies on our bike ride over the weekend were a force to be reckoned with - just a piercing azure that made an amazing background.  The reds of sumac and yellows of fresh willow branches stood out on the horizon and even the aspens with their stark white shone with an extra gleam.

This is a great time to enjoy some of the unique details of the trees from flowering maples (many bloom before the leaves are out - catch them while you can) and hanging catkins to dried samaras (winged seeds - such as the familiar maple keys) that haven't dropped yet, it's all out there unhidden by greenery for everyone to see.  This is also the perfect time to take a look at leaf buds to see how many unique shapes, colours and textures there are.  I also find it a wonderful time to peer into woods and to see details of wetter areas before everything is densely covered and shrouded by the lush summer vegetation.

We took a shorter bike ride last night and we were surprised to find a large flock of waxwings gorging on last year's crop of buckthorn berries (they are so plentiful in the city), their whistles cutting through the wind and filling the early evening air of a small urban park.  There were hundreds filling the branches looking for nibbles and nourishment.  We also came upon a small stormwater management pond in the city filled with singing wood frogs - their mating call a cross between a chirp and a quack with their chests expanding like a floating device each time they sound out their location to potential females.  The males try to drown out their competition so it almost becomes a rolling cacophony of singing with a level much louder then you'd expect from such small creatures.  And considering that this stormwater pond was right beside a busy regional road, it's a good thing they can get their message out loud and clear!

A visiting pair of wood ducks close by, seemed unconcerned with the ruckus.

Spring is definitely here!

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