It’s Tuffy P – guest blogging again… off on another garden tour – this one took place in the gardens Durham region – Oshawa and Whitby. It featured artists, artisans and live music in just about every garden. Thank you to all those gardeners, home owners and volunteers who put together this year’s Artists in the Garden garden tour. It was their 15th annual such event. Proceeds raised from the tour and raffle tickets went to support Oshawa’s Hearth Place – Cancer Support Centre which first opened their doors on January 29, 1997 http://www.hearthplace.org/
I was contacted recently on this blog by a fellow looking for someone to lead a mushroom walk up in cottage country. It’s getting right toward the end of our season here, but I agreed to do the walk on Saturday, and hopefully we’ll find some interesting mushrooms and some tasty edibles. I am not a mycologist. It’s just a hobby for me. I enjoy trying to identify mushrooms and I enjoy collecting tasty edibles for the table. I can identify quite a few species but there are hundreds and hundreds of different species in our woods. I’m sure we’ll find all kinds of things I won’t be able to identify – and a bunch of mushrooms I’m familiar with as well. These folks are pretty smart in seeking out someone to help them ID mushrooms. Even though I’m not a pro naturalist or mycologist, I’m sure by sharing some of my knowledge and experience, I can help a few people begin to learn for themselves.
Quite a number of people have found this blog by searching for info about Ontario mushrooms. I’d like to take a moment to remind people to be really careful about eating any mushrooms you pick in the woods – unless you’re 100% sure you know what you’ve got and you know it’s safe to eat. Also, even mushrooms known to be generally safe can cause stomach upset in some people, and certain edibles are more likely to do this than others. If you have identified a mushroom and you’re sure of the ID and you want to eat it, but sure you first cook up a little bit and eat that, and see how your body reacts – before enjoying more of the mushrooms.
An organization in Toronto called Citizens Concerned about the future of the Etobicoke Waterfront, or CCFEW for short(er), organizes regular birdwalks at Sam Smith Park and at Humber Bay. There was one scheduled for this morning, so we trundled out in the rain to enjoy it.
The rain kept some of the birds down, but still I think we saw 19 species:
American Goldfinch (lots of them, flying around and singing)
Magnolia Warbler (one, which could just be seen hiding in some bushes)
Song Sparrow (a few)
Cliff Swallow (they nest at the water filtration plant….these, like other swallows, have been in decline)
Mallards (lots of them)
American Black Duck (hanging out with the mallards)
Mute Swans (the bullies of the waterfront)
Black Crowned Night Heron
Muscovy (likely an escapee from a farm)
Sam Smith Park is a significant breeding area for Red-necked Grebes. We saw the female in the picture sitting on its nest while the male dove nearby for food (the male isn’t visible in the picture….the other bird in the picture behind the grebe is a cormorant). This is late for the birds to be on the nest. It could be the first attempt failed and this was a second try at raising a family. On another nest, we saw a mother grebe with two young ones. The babies have stripes on their heads.
In spite of unrelenting rain, we had fun on the bird walk. I’d like to go on the next one as well, in early October.
The weather changed quickly from a cool morning with a menacing cloud overhead to a hot clear afternoon, one of several rapid weather shifts I experienced on the Upper Peninsula. This turtle was crossing Country Road 450 where it crossed The Driggs River very slowly in the heat. This turtle had places to go, things to see. I agree with my friend here that the river on the upstream side of the bridge is more interesting than the river on the downstream side.
Here are Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band performing Pilgrim, from the recording “The Mountain”. I listened to this full blast in the car several times while rolling down the highway last week.