Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nonquon Visit

Friday was a nice day in the morning so I threw the little canoe on the roof and drove up to Port Perry with Isaiah. We launched our canoe in the Nonquon River on Old Simcoe Rd. just south of Scugog Line 10. The Nonquon goes under Old Simcoe at this point and there is a little area where you can safely launch with out fear of your vehicle being a traffic hazard. Isaiah is just four years old and has his own paddle so I put him to work paddling us downstream! His paddle blade spent a great deal of time in the water, and some times it even was moving us forward. He has an idea of what he is doing and at this stage that is all I care about. Amazingly, the entire hour and a half that we were out he never dropped his paddle once. The Nonquon is about fifteen feet across for most of the section we paddled and not far from roads, but for the length of our paddle we didn't see another boat or person or man-made structure. What we did see was beaver lodges, Canada Geese on their nests, Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Winged Teal, and Great Blue Herons. As we were launching we heard the kidik,kidik call of a Virginia Rail. It sounded to be only a few feet into the marsh grasses. At a point where a beaver had built a dam at some point in the past, there was a small riffle that dropped about three inches. To Isaiah this was whitewater canoeing at its finest. I am sure he felt like an early explorer did crossing America in the eighteen hundreds. To a four year old it was grand adventure, and best of all we shared it together. I like to think he will remember these times together for the rest of his life. If you have kids go exploring together somewhere outdoors with them.

As we neared the end of our paddle and were returning to the launch site a Sora Rail stood on the bank about five feet from us and watched us go by. I was impressed, as you don't see rails very often. Isaiah was just as impressed by the Barn Swallows and their nests, under the bridge at Old Simcoe Rd. It really doesn't matter to a child how rare a site is to the rest of us, he is as happy with the barn swallows up close as a Sora Rail. What really matters is the shared experiences that will turn your child into an outdoors person. So this weekend, grab your kids, and your canoe,pack,bike,whatever and find a patch of nature to share with those you love.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring has Sprung

White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum

It was a beautiful day for walk in the woods and I even took my camera with me. For me the Trillium is one of the highlights of spring in Ontario. There are five or six different species of trilliums in Ontario but only two that are widespread and common. The white trillium is the one we all know and it is is the one that will carpet the hillsides in deciduous forests. I had passed this woodlot a couple of times lately, and saw the splash of white on the hills. I decided it was time to explore the woodlot and these are a few of the photos!

A hillside of trilliums

A "flock" of trilliums!

Red trilliums and white trilliums

Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

Early Meador Rue, Thalictrum dioicum

Large Flowered Bellwort, Uvularia grandiflora

The woodlot had a variety of other spring flora with good showings of Wild Ginger, lots of May-Apple, and some Jack in the Pulpit. This lot was right in the city of Oshawa, beside a major road. The next few weeks will bring lots of other spring flora out for your viewing pleasure. There is nothing on TV!! Go for a walk in the woods!

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