Hidden Corners and Quiet Nature Spots

Nature can be very surprising.  It's more resilient than some might imagine.  That is one of the brilliant things about nature in the city - it's unexpected when you come upon it flourishing in urban spots, it provides a bit of hope in days of climate change worries and finding wildlife itself undaunted by sharing habitat with humans, lets us experience the uniqueness of feathered and furry neighbours.

Photo Credit: by Viliam Glazduri (InstagramFlickr500 pxContributing Creative to Wild. Here.

It's for these reasons that I kept finding myself being drawn into exploring any local wild surroundings that I would discover.  There was always another surprise just down the street or in the neighbourhood park.  Wood frogs mating a five minute bike ride away?  Cedar waxwings gorging on berries in a local green space?  A tiny toadlet nursery hidden in a corner of a cemetery?  Bobolinks singing their mating song along the parkway - ten minutes away from downtown (see first photo above)?!

And if you end up learning some identification, these new skills provide the added surprise as you find certain species in new and different places, helping you realize that urban areas can be abundant with life - big and small.  I'd also be surprised by what I found in terms of natural areas: a large heritage pine perched precariously on a ravine in a hidden spot near a very popular bay; a sweeping vista of a forgotten creek invisible to those who drive along a popular parkway; a small urban woodlot carpeted in blooming Dame's Rocket and other marvelous sights as I kept visiting new areas in all four seasons.

There is also a variety of moods depending on the weather and time of year in even the exact same location and some stunning vistas for the intrepid urban explorer that you might just stumble upon.  These are the rewards that make it such a thrill to get out.
vista (ˈvɪs.tə): a view, especially a beautiful view from a high position (link)

Photo Credit: by Viliam Glazduri (Instagram, Flickr, 500 pxContributing Creative to Wild. Here.

Sure I might see lots of invasives like Manitoba Maple or Buckthorn or Garlic Mustard but that's the beauty of it - the times I do see White Trilliums or Sensitive Fern or Soloman's Seal or Blue Vervain in these small urban parks and green corners, it gives me an extra boost and even some times some hope for the future in these times of big headlines and dire predictions.

Even without knowing the names of specific species, it is exciting to come upon wildlife.  You don't need identification skills to enjoy local nature spots and the wildlife you discover.

(Count the frogs!  What an early spring party for these herptiles!)

If there are no natural spots close to where you live that you can walk or bike to, see if you can find a larger area that's close enough that you can visit easily at different times of the year and that might offer a variety of terrain to explore.  If it's a short car or bus ride, it'll make it easy to get out for a visit once a month or more.  It's definitely worth it, as the more you go out, the more wildlife and wild wonders you may encounter. Find some activity that you enjoy doing that you can do outdoors or that gives you the opportunity to be outside regularly.

For the urban wild explorer, I will be writing some posts about how to find these wild areas, what resources are out there in various cities, what you might want to bring with you, how to enjoy wildlife sightings, safety considerations and other great tips & resources whether online or IRL.  Start with this post: "Introduction to Urban Wild Exploring" and then check out the ongoing series starting here: "Urban Wild Exploring: Finding New Places".

What's been your greatest urban wild discovery?  

When were you most surprised by a wildlife sighting close to your home?  

What's your favourite way to explore the green (and blue) spaces in your city (by bike, walking with friends, on the water?)

Photo Credit: by Viliam Glazduri (InstagramFlickr500 pxContributing Creative to Wild. Here.

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