I decided to go for a walk Monday (Feb 6), checking out a new area (to me) that I've been wanting to do so for quite a while now. I pass this area twice daily through the work week, and have been for 17 years now (say what?!?!).
I had a sampling of the area about 2 weeks ago, finding a way in further north. It was dusk, it was snowing quite heavily, so my time was limited. About half an hour out and I had 2 Coyotes come out in front of me on the trail and accidentally flushed a Great Blue Heron even though I never left the trail. Now what would a Great Blue Heron be doing in Toronto in January? Unusual find for sure!
I did not get a photo of the Heron but no mistaking what I saw. I did capture one of the Coyotes walking ahead of me. Look at him being a good citizen and staying on the trail.
As I said, I've been wanting to explore this area for years, and Sunday I did some Google map searching to find other entries to the trail, and hopefully learn more about it. Luck have it, I did spot an entry, and it's not too far from my work. That certainly helps me with ability and time to explore before my shift.
It's always exciting to explore new areas. My senses seem to be more in tune. I have no target birds in mind, I'm happy to see/hear anything and take mental notes of the species about. It started with the most common finds anywhere I go around Toronto... Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Crow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Junco, Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, plus a pair of Red-tailed Hawks. I also found a Raccoon sleeping in a tree cavity. I seem to have a knack for finding these masked beasts wherever I go.
Oh, and then there was a pup tent set up just off the creek. It was in fairly good condition. I decided not to go anywhere near that in case someone was sleeping inside, or watching me from afar invading their "space". My imaginative side started playing horror movie scenes at this moment. Yep, keep moving along.
I was probably in the area for an hour before deciding it was getting near time to leave. I had barely touched the area really and have all intentions on returning.
No the blog is not done...
I'm making my way back to where I parked when I heard a sound. A rattling bird call of sorts. I knew the sound well but thought "no way in hell, not in February". I began looking for where the call was coming from. I knew I was right but I wanted a visual. It took some searching in this woodlot but I did spot the bird finally. Belted Kingfisher!
I don't see a lot of Kingfishers in my travels during the warm months, they aren't the most social bird out there, often fleeing at the sight of humans. But to see one in the middle of the winter? The bird (female) flew up and down the stream and I was not able to get a photo for record. That was fine.
But then I heard another Kingfisher south of where I stood. No freaking way?!?! I thought maybe I missed her flying back over me and decided to investigate this further.
I found the bird and indeed it was a second Kingfisher. A male. The creek was partially frozen but he was diving into the open spots and I watched him twice successfully pull out small fish to eat.
It was a blast to watch this bird move about the woods, staying near the shores of the creek. I stood in one spot, hoping he'd forget about my presence, and maybe land in decent range for viewing and a photo or two.
I didn't exactly get my wish of closer range or a decent photo, but the show was excellent and I managed a few shots to bring back with me to tell of this moment. Maybe Kingfishers aren't that exciting to some people but I like them, especially when they surprise the heck out of me like this. One would have been a pleasant surprise, but a pair was a great surprise.
Here are a few photos... if you click on one, it will open to full screen, not that they are National Geographic quality.
About as good as I could capture, slightly cropped, dim light, but the images in my brain are super sharp!
Nice they found some open water although really our winter hasn't been that bad; hence probably why they decided to stay. Same with the Heron the other week.
Trying to follow his flight across the landscape was a challenge!
One of the catches.
Okay, that was super awesome! Time to leave now.
I'm making my way back, quite satisfied with my outing, but I'm still looking and listening as I walk. Now something else has caught my eye and it's not wildlife. It's this...
Of course, it was not this obvious to me, as this is at the bottom of the hill, a fair distance from the path. I regret not taking the initial sighting photo. But it's an old wreck (duh!). I love old cars, especially North American models. I'm thinking Chevy Vega. Thoughts?
The only solid thing left on the car.
Straight 4 cylinder? I've never owned a 4 banger so I know very little about such engines.
Years, decades, of settling in.
How many decades will it take for the plastic to break down?
The only proof on the car that it indeed was a General Motors product.
I really hoped to find a serial number, some kind of emblem. Anything. That's just me, being curious and adventurous.
May have to research this one rainy day. The tail light could help ID this car.
Gas cap on the right side of the car. Hatch back model. All clues to what this once was.
A bit of a mystery how this car came to it's final resting place in these woods. My guess is a long time ago it was rolled down that hill, before the trees grew in, before the industrial development and fencing at the top of the hill. Tall trees surround this car, proof it's been here for a very long time.
My last unusual find was this dog house. It's been here quite some time as well, but looks like it's never been used by any creatures about the woods.
For a walk with no people, there was enough signs of them. I am happy it was just me and the birds... and some unusual finds.
I should note I did not forget to say exactly where I was. One reason is I've had in the past where someone decides they want to try and follow my foot steps, hoping for the same kind of adventure, only to be disappointed. Then they contact me about their disappointing outing. Seriously?!?! Another, I hope I've inspired someone to get out there and try a different area instead of your usual haunts or following reported birds. You never know what you may find.