There have been snowy owls hanging out in our neighbourhood since early winter and just about everyone in our neighbourhood has seen them…except me. That is, until this morning…
Unfortunately I don’t have one of those lenses that are a foot and a half long. All I had with me was my iphone. The owl is sitting on the docks. If you look between the rectangular box items on the docks you’ll see an irregular shaped blob. Through my trusty binoculars, it turns out that’s a huge snowy owl. He was moving his head around quite a bit, as if he was preening himself.
Visitors to Sam Smith Park here in Toronto are being treated to a great show of monarch butterflies right now. We took a walk with the dogs a short while ago and saw butterflies anywere there were flowers.
By the way, Sam Smith Park is currently being studied by the city for designation as an environmentally sensitive area. I’m not sure all this designation implies yet, and so I don’t have any opinion on it. I’m all for keeping lots of natural areas in the park, but I also appreciate the park is used for many things from playing sports to watching birds. There’s a yacht club in the midst of it and schools. There’s a balance in there somewhere. Is this designation the right thing in the long run? There will be some public meetings in November, where we can find out more.
So there we were yesterday afternoon, fly fishing the upper Credit River, just a little ways below the former highway 24 (whatever they call that road now), when along come 2 guys each paddling a kayak. They each had a spinning rod ready to cast and they were all set for a leisurely float to the lake.
You guys know about the falls, right?
Yes, the falls. It’s where the Credit River tumbles over the Escarpment. It is a very significant landmark, so significant they named the near-by town Cataract. Hopefully these fellows paddled carefully, heeded the warning roar of the falls, and parked their kayaks and got out well before the abyss. Now I suppose they might have picked up their kayaks and their fishin’ rods and carried around the falls. It is difficult but possible to get down there without hurting yourself if you’re really careful. But then they’d have to cope with the pocket water below, a dicey proposition, even in kayaks. I wonder how far they got? Did they look over the falls and carry their kayaks for a half an hour’s walk along the railway tracks back to their car? Or maybe they walked back up the river, dragging their kayaks behind? Or maybe they decided to try to portage the falls and navigate the pocket water. Maybe they carried down the trail past the worst of the pocket water before re-launching.
The blind faith involved in decided to float a river without checking for enormous obstacles is great – but consider this – this was the third time I personally witnessed folks happily heading downstream hoping for a relaxing float to the lake. The best was the 3 guys in a 16 foot aluminum cartop boat several years ago. I was casting a dry fly to a rising brook trout when I heard the bumping and scraping of aluminum on rocks banging toward me. I told them they didn’t have a chance, but they kept on, wrong and strong.
The Toronto Star has published an article about quicksand warning signs in an area of Mississauga, although their investigation failed to turn up any actual quicksand. I don’t think I’ve seen real quicksand before. It seems like something out of the movies. I have experienced some serious and difficult mud before – in fact just this Monday when I was out trout fishing. It looked wet but safe. There was vegetation growing on the surface….but I sunk down past my knees and it took me some time to free myself. It happened once before while out fly fishing with my friend East Texas Red. That time he kindly helped me get out. I can only imagine that actual quicksand, stuff capable of gobbling a guy up, stuff that pulls you deeper the more you struggle, must be tremendously scary.
A City spokesperson suggested there are soft spots in the Fletcher’s Creek area that could be difficult to get out of. Perhaps the signs are a little over the top.
Somebody landed on this blog today after searching “best mushroom field guide for Ontario”. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before. I use two.
They are the Audubon guide by Gary Lincoff and Mushrooms of Ontario and Eastern Canada by George Barron. They’re organized differently and depending what I’m looking for I use one or the other. Normally I have both in my car when I’m out chasing mushrooms. I’ve been told the Barron guide is the most accurate, but I have no way of validating that (except that the statement came from a fellow who knows more about mushrooms than I’m ever likely to know).
I’d like to ask the rest of you Ontario mushroom hounds, what guide do you use?
Thanks for staying with me…this is Tuffy P guest blogging this afternoon… hope you are enjoying the tour. Tour ticket dollars go to support the Rouge Valley Health System Foundations’ vision to purchase leading edge medical equipment for their 2 hospital sites.