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Sunday, 18 October 2020

Hillside Park, Waterloo, ON

     Hillside Park is close to home, it is a great place to walk, harbours an abundance of birds, and is a favourite place for Miriam and me. Over the past few days we have been there twice, once just the two of us, and on Friday last we were joined by Heather and Lily.
     The fall of 2020 seems to be exceptional for mushrooms and for a dedicated mycologist there must be much of interest, and more than a few good meals for one who is certain of the edible varieties.
     I believe this is Pleurotus dryinus which I know to be edible, but I have never had the pleasure of tasting it. 



     We saw several small gatherings of Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and I am reminded that this species, not being native to North America, is generally not highly regarded by birders.


     It is a little perplexing really to reflect that we introduced this species deliberately into North America and immediately set about disliking it, even embarking on futile attempts at eradication.
     Miriam recently found a delightful book for me in the local Value Village store, Birds in my Indian Garden, by Malcom MacDonald, a volume that I have thoroughly enjoyed, a work that has much to commend it.
     The Common Mynah (Sturnus tristis) is a kissing cousin to our familiar starling, and these words about the mynah, changed for context naturally, might well be equally attributed to our familiar starling: "One of the Common Mynah's virtues is courage. It sometimes displays daredevil recklessness. I have seen it giving chase to monsters much bigger than itself, like kites; repeatedly dive-bombing a mongoose who ventured too near its nest; disputing violently with a pair of Spotted Owlets about a building site; and in the vanguard of a troupe of birds mobbing an eagle. The species certainly has the bravado of its impertinence."
     American Robin (Turdus migratorius) arouses no animosity in anyone; it is a perennial favourite, and in spring eager observers vie for bragging rights for the report of the first bird to return from its winter quarters to the south. 


     A Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is no less appealing and can at times be very confiding and entirely approachable. 


     Homelessness is a scourge in many modern societies and Canada is not immune from this pressing social issue. The distant reaches of a public park are often the havens of poor souls without other shelter, and this appears to be such an encampment we stumbled upon.


     It was a happy time all round when we met Heather and Lily for our Friday walk. Lily's early days are being saturated with exposure to the natural world in all its glory, and we are happy to be the agents of her early immersion into the wonders of nature.


     Perhaps this Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) lingered into October to have one last look at Lily before heading to the southern United States and Northern Central America to spend the winter months.



     White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are also passing through this area on their way south.


     I doubt that they spend any time admiring the beauty of a southern Ontario fall.


     It is certainly a cause for reflection among appreciative humans, however.


     We saw several White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) all busily engaged in securing food, both for instant consumption and as a choice item to be stored for winter rations.



     A juicy insect appears to be the prize following suitable excavation of loose bark.


     Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is the hardiest of our migrant flycatchers, being the earliest to arrive in spring and the last to depart in fall.


     Every berry-bearing bush was loaded with fruit - rich pickings for American Robins, and for Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) who were active, but declined to pose for a photograph, unfortunately.


     One does not tire of gazing at the splendour of fall in eastern North America.


     Fallen leaves carpet the trails and pathways in ribbons of intricate beauty.


     Can you even imagine making a jig saw puzzle from the leaves on the ground!
     Laurel Creek meandered peacefully through the park.


     The stems of Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) are very visible now that the plant has shed most of its leaves, and are a deep reddish colour, hardly noticed when the plant is covered with leaves and flowers, and abuzz with the sound of bees and other nectar seekers.


     All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Heather and Lily for another week.


     All that strenuous nature gazing makes a girl tired you know.



     When Lily's hair finally settles into some semblance of orderliness we are all going to be mightily disappointed!
     We always extol the virtues of Lily in these posts and dwell on the sheer joy of watching this little girl change as she grows up, and that is all understandable of course.
     But it is perhaps time to give a shout out to Heather, who I first met as a dedicated young biologist, not yet married, hard at work helping us every weekend at our bird banding station. She always arrived dark and early along with the rest of us, never shirking for a moment the responsibilities she had taken on.



     From the very moment I met this young woman I was happy to be around her, delighted to know her, thrilled to be cooperating with her in the furtherance of our knowledge of birds, in a never-ending quest to try to improve their lot in a tragically impoverished world.
     Those of us who know Heather, never doubted for a moment that she would accept the mantle of motherhood easily and our faith has been validated a thousand times over as we see her interactions with Lily.
     Many children visited our mist nets and seeing Heather's involvement with them left no doubt that she was "made for the job".


     I met Heather's mother only once when she visited us at SpruceHaven, but I can say without hesitation that she is no doubt well pleased with the terrific daughter she raised.


     I am glad that she is willing to share her with us.


     

    

55 comments:

  1. So nice post David!Beautiful little tits and very well taken!What camera and lenses do you use?You see so much different birds I can only dream of..Very cue all of them
    nice to see Lily in winther clothing she is a darling!And her mother too!Be happy of all your heart to have met her..and credit to her mam that raised her

    Hope all is well with your eyes now David!Have a super nice sunday!

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    1. My eye is doing really well, Anita. The surgery on the right eye will happen 17 November but I am sure that after both have been rectified I will have laser vision!

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  2. Such a great post about the birds and humans. Lily is growing up so quickly, changing every week. How fortunate you are to see Heather mature into a wonderful young mother.

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    1. It is a wonderful experience to see the constant changes in Lily, almost easier for us that her mom even, since we only see her once a week, so the changes seem more apparent.

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  3. De belles photos d'oiseaux mais aussi beaucoup de jolis paysages d'automne, les couleurs sont magnifiques en ce moment.
    Lily gardera sans doute ses jolis cheveux longtemps :D
    Bonne soirée

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  4. Yet another delightful post. I am so grateful to have found your blog and to be able to wander with you and admire (from afar) the wonders you share. Wonders and beauties, human and otherwise. Many thanks.

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    1. It is equally great for me to share your wonders too, Sue, and don't forget I found a source for the crest feather of a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - and it doesn't get much more special than that!

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  5. The carpets of fallen leaves never cease to delight me with their colors and beauty.
    Of course, they also remind me of famous, wonderful songs and lyrics on the topic of falling/fallen leaves.

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  6. A post full of joy, wonder and beautiful photographs.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

    PS Hope your recovery from eye surgery continues to go well.

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  7. Hi David, sounds like you had another wonderful walk through nature with many beautiful birds, plants and views to please the eye and make your heart glad. But the loveliest of all is, of course, the beautiful Lily of the wild black hair and captivating looks. Heather is a beauty, too. Here we had a cold and windy day, and <i enjoyed staying home and playing! Enjoy your Sunday, hugs, Valerie

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  8. Hello David,

    It's nice to know that the surgery went well, and you are all right. The colorful leaves are very beautiful. The fall is not so bad after all.
    Lily is always so sweet. Have a nice new week ahead!

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  9. Mushrooms are a delicious meal for birds and animals.

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  10. You always get great bird photos. It looks like you have some nice places to walk, to enjoy the Fall foliage. I'm not a fan of Starlings, but for the reason that they seem to bully the other birds. I did get a nice photo of one the other day, which I think you saw. :-)

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  11. Buenas noches amigo David, encantadora entrada como siempre, leyendo, leyendo, siempre parecen cortas. El atractivo de bellas fotos acompañadas de tu buena pluma siempre se hace corto.
    La pequeña Lily está cada día más encantadora, los años pasan rápidos querido amigo, cuando menos lo esperes tendrás una gran colaboradora principiante con muchas ganas de aprender y tendrá dos grandes profesionales, su mama y sus amados y queridos "abuelos David y Miriam". Felicidades a todos y a su mama por esa entrañable y adorable pequeñina.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu siempre amigo y compadre Juan.

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    1. Hola querido amigo Juan: Nos sentimos honrados de ser conocidos como abuelos de Lily.

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  12. I'm delighted, and even surprised, that you are out and about so soon after your eye operation, David. I have much enjoyed this account of your two walks, but the one image that really grabbed me was the fabulous one of the leaves. I shall be investigating the possibility of taking up the challlenge and turning that image into a jigsaw puzzle. I will let you know if I manage to progress the idea.

    Take good care. Best wishes to you both - - Richard

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    1. A 324-piece jigsaw now created, and I think that I'm already regretting it! Will email you with a shot of it shortly.

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  13. The white-crowned sparrow is a beauty David. And Lily is such a sweet looking girl.

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  14. It is wonderful to be able to walk with you and see the birds and how nature is already taking on the colors of autumn and collecting mushrooms. I don't think I will see many mushrooms this year, it has not rained and there is no prediction of abundant rains, we will see.
    Lily is very pretty and happy.
    Many kisses.

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  15. Another fine outing with Lily and Heather. Enjoying nature and seeing all the beautifukl birds makes for an exciting day. Fantastic photos, David. Have a nice evening.

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  16. That's a beautiful little slice of the world you have there.
    It was a gloomy day here. This post just made my heart sing. : )

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  17. It was pretty gloomy here too. I am glad we cheered you up,

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  18. Glad to read that the cataract surgery went well, David, and sure the same will be true for the November procedure. Nice to see the mushrooms, which we do enjoy in some of our meals, and the birds. Best photo opp was young Lily and her mom Heather.

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  19. You surely have recruited a grand team. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Lovely is Lily.
    The birds are pleasing to see as is the scenery which is beautiful.
    Seems you are seeing ok to be doing your blog, that is good.

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  21. Hi David.

    Great birds show you and beautiful nature.
    Very nice how you saw Heather grow in her inspiration of nature.
    It's great that Lily can now also be a part of that.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  22. As well as all the birds I really enjoyed your trails and Fall leaves.

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  23. Hello,
    Wonderful series of nature scenes. The birds are beautiful. It is great you are out so soon after your eye surgery, I am so glad it went well. Adorable photos of Lily. Have a great day and a happy new week!

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  24. Hello David, a most wonderful blog with the fungie and the great amounth of birds. Your Friday walk with Lily and here mum is great joy for you as I can tell by your writing.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  25. I am glad to know a little more about Lily and Heather. I had assumed Lily was your grandchild.

    Lots of nice pics with the starling one really catching my eye.

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  26. You always have lovely birds, but the baby is a delight. Heather is a peach, as well!

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  27. That photo of the carpet of fall leaves is stunning!
    Always delightful to see Lily.
    Hope you are recovering well from your cataract operation David.

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    1. It was a piece of cake, Sami. Can't wait for the second eye to be done!

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  28. Oh, what lovely blue skies. I can see that you have a wonderful spot and close to home. Beautiful sightings, one and all. And love seeing Lily and getting to know a bit more about Heather, too. All lovely, David.

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  29. Those leaves David! I am so amazed by the views I see from you my North American friends on how beautiful fall is making your surroundings! That is the one season I haven't seen yet ever! Also, Lily is always a very sight that makes me happy :)

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  30. Hi David!!!. truly is a great place to walk away and birdwatching... Nice pictures...😊

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  31. From your other posts...I spied the first 2 juncos just last Friday and chased them with my camera...no luck. Interesting about the shrews...I found one in the pool this summer, a first for here. I've read they can get into the oven of a stove with the door closed but perhaps that's folklore.
    How sweet to see Lily and to hear more about Heather. They are quite the fortunate pair to have each other.
    My Phoebes have moved on and I haven't seen a robin for a couple of weeks. The leaves have been spectacular but a rain with hard wind took a lot just recently. Like your paths, underfoot here is golden too.

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  32. Lily's hair is a thing of beauty and joy. Nothing like a sweet babe.

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  33. Hi David well done on a wonderful post. I was fascinated in the different type of mushrooms,I have never tried anything but the normal field mushrooms,it's amazing to see different types . What a lovely writeup you did about Heather what a wonderful young lady she is and I think Lily is definitely one of the cutest babies I have ever seen,Thankyou David for sharing this with us,take care,cheers Sheryl

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  34. I really enjoyed this delightful post. David. Loving your photos as always, especially that carpet of fallen leaves - it would certainly make a very challenging jigsaw puzzle!

    Glad to know the surgery went well.

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  35. a wonderful post so full of life. Mushrooms are tricky. A long time ago I told my father that when I get retired I will learn and photograph a lot of mushrooms. So, did I? Nope! When I got retired I bought a book. 700 pages and with 2 or 3 species on every page. Makes for several thousands of different mushrooms, underground ones in counted. The first autumn I tried my best but it felt quite impossible. Now I know a few but don´t dare taste any new.
    Great nature shots as always. And I love Lilys hairdo :)

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  36. Hola David, buenos días.

    Sin lugar a dudas la primera mitad del otoño es espectacular para nuestros sentidos, es difícil poder observar algo tan diverso, vivo, intenso y de tanto contraste como en esta época; tu entrada mostrando la biodiversidad de tu zona a través del agua, plantas y animales son la mejor confirmación de ello (y además con la bella Lily).

    Ya te lo he dicho más de una vez pero no deja de sorprenderme la facilidad e indiferencia que muestran los pájaros carpinteros al otro lado del "charco", aquí son huraños y muy desconfiados jajaja.

    Un abrazo desde Galicia,

    Rafa.

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  37. Wonderful fall photos, David.
    Have lovely days!

    Ida

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  38. Hi David, beautiful photos. We have much common starlings too at the moment. I like the american robin and the other litle birds. Precious photos of your granddaughter. I have 2 grandsons. Thank you for visiting my blog. Greetings Caroline

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  39. Hi David,
    The autumn is full of changes. Mushrooms are appearing, leaves are colouring, migrating birds are leaving and making place for our winter visitors. For me always an interesting period of the years, and as far as I can judge it for you too. After enjoying this period of the year we can look forward to a darker period with its own attractiveness.
    Greetings, Kees

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  40. A lovely post David, i've added the book to my wish list, I like to read personal accounts of people's birding!

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  41. Meandering, migrants and mushrooms! Oh, my!

    Your autumn images are absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing as it brought back wonderful memories of fall in upstate New York.

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  42. Hello David
    nice to hear of the success of the operation, now in one eye already Full HD because the beautiful autumn colors look particularly nice (of course just kidding) nice that you are fine
    Greetings Frank

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  43. Querido amigo David, cuanto me alegra que puedas ver bien. El paseo se ve genial, Lily se ve que va creciendo de día en día. Un abrazo fuerte para todos.

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  44. Muy linda salida por el parque, ya se nota que el otoño llegó por los colores. De las lindas fotos que ilustran esta publicación me gustó sobre todas las de hojas multicolores en el suelo del bosque. Ya veré nuevamente con detenimiento tu blog, ando bastante ocupado, más de una semana sin publicar he estado.
    Un gran abrazo amigo.

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  45. That carpet of fallen leaves made me think of my acquaintances who quilt.

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  46. Hi David - gorgeous photos of autumnal colours with associated bird life - and letting us know about the bird book. Heather is a star isn't she ... so pleased you were able

    PS - glad to note the eye update ... so good to know - Stay safe - all the best - Hilary

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