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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Rouge Park in Toronto Treated to First Sighting!

A couple weekends ago, we did a hike through the Rouge Park, a city owned camp ground area and city of Toronto park lands combination, which is on the Toronto (Scarborough) and Pickering border. I've driven past this place millions of times on the 401 highway, back and forth from Ajax, but I've never stopped into it as I thought it was just a camp ground. John mentioned it and we decided to go there for a 3 hr or so walk. It was gorgeous out, late hazy afternoon light, gorgeous terrain, lots of stunning dried, decorative last season's foliage and beautiful trees. it was Spring being born indeed.

Sure signs of Spring were spotted, amazingly enough, we saw butterflies! We also saw a red tailed hawk soaring just above us, and the treat of the day, we had a first viewing of a bird we had been hoping to see at some point. John had joked about seeing it on our hike, which added to the amazing thrill of it lol! Having heard what we thought was a northern flicker, a loud piercing repetitive sound, we were soon proven wrong when he spotted a pileated woodpecker! It remained in a circular sort of vicinity for a bit and we were able to kind of follow it around, as it flew from tree to tree, knocking and looking for bugs, before finally flying a longer distance to another area. I managed to get a couple ok shots of it. It was just such an exciting thrill to actually finally see one!

Such a beautiful park and we hope to get back to it in the late Spring early Summer time that is fast approaching.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Hawks 'n Crows

Having not done a really long walk all winter, my husband and I decided that we'd do a morning one through Birkdale Ravine, and beyond, east past McCowan, and back then up Brimley. My legs were shaking when we got back lol!

A sunny day, slightly chilly, a bit of wind, but bright blue sky with Simpson's clouds. Very pretty. Definitely, a sense of Spring, especially with the already abundant amount of bird activity evident.

Treat of the day was the multiple hawk sightings! We saw cooper's hawk and red tailed hawks, 4 different times. Not to mention the ever present and raucous crows in hot pursuit of the poor hawks. Definitely, no love lost between those 2 flying creatures. They do not get along lol!

Lots of nut hatches, a huge array of woodpeckers, ducks, tons of gold finches, the males sporting the summer plumage already, a brown creeper, lots of dark eyed juncos, 2 hybrid American black duck mallard mixes, lots of red cardinals, flickers, and the red winged black birds are back :-)

There was one moment when things were a little scary. A screaming noise was coming from one of the grated viaducts that opens at the ravine's edge. It was pretty horrible. It stopped after about 5 minutes and a huge silver raccoon came to the end of the cement tunnel, peering at us through the grating. I had had a feeling it was raccoons. Or I guess I had hoped that was all it was.

Looking forward to a later in the spring walk through there as I expect there will be lots of migrant birds soon!

Drawing Background 99% Done

Well, it feels good to get the background pretty much done and well established. I may take some time to recheck values and balance of said lights and darks once I complete the last of the figure and face.

It feels good to know that 14 or 15 months of work isn't going to be a waste, that I should meet my deadline in a couple more weekends.