Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mating Season at MacKenzie Marsh

 My good friend happens to be the best "Welcome Wagon" lady you could hope to find in a small/mid sized town.  If I want to know something about Aurora I call MaryJo.  Swimming times, garbage pick ups, you name it she knows and if not she'll find out.  Well I was very surprised when she phoned yesterday to tell me I should take my camera over to MacKenzie Marsh on St. John's Sideroad on the east side of Yonge in Aurora.  She was quite excited that the geese had returned.  Seriously MJ, geese, this is Canada.  They are everywhere.  She promptly tells me to get my camera and get over to the pond, they are wandering around the ice on the pond and look like they are nesting. 

MacKenzie Marsh is part of a trail system that joins Aurora up with Newmarket and I gather it goes all the way up to Green Lane.  Definitely have to take a bike ride up in the summer - if only I had a bike. The trail system throughout York Region is called the Nokiidaa Trail   Here is a link to the  Town of Aurora Trail information. 

I wake up this morning and it's grey and cold, nope not going to the pond.  Well around 1:30 the sun is out and I'm thinking, if you don't do this you are going to be kicking yourself.  Get going.  I park my car on the road into the retirement building.  Looking at the mud, I am cursing MJ, she will be getting a phone call if I get stuck.  

There are actually other people here.  The first thing you notice isn't the geese (no - not the poop either), it's the noise.  HONK HONK.  The 2 ladies walking in front of me are being told off quite emphatically by this very proud looking Canadian Geese.  I am thinking I might have to use my camera as a weapon :)  - kidding, kinda.  

Most of the geese on the north side of the pond are either on the grass or quite far back in the pond.  I am a little disappointed that they aren't closer.  I'm thinking maybe of crossing to the other side, but boy there is a lot of traffic and these cars are moving pretty fast.  Finally there is a break and I dart across the road.  Right away the HONKING starts again.  

Now one thing I am willing to admit is that I am not an expert on geese.  But as I watch these guys I am willing to speculate that the big one is the male and is quite bossy.  The little one which I am presuming is the female decides to leave the reeds and go for a swim.  Well what a fuss the big guy puts up.  Her whole swim he is just honking away at her.  

Myself, I think she is crazy, 

All of a sudden 2 more geese land and start approaching.  Not happening, they are still 100 feet away and Mr Goose attacks.  He is downright vicious.  No way are they getting near his little goose.  

Honking at them the whole time.  Now I know what that word "cacophony" was invented for.  

Gotta say it doesn't look like it would be much fun landing in the slush on top of the ice.  

Once they leave, he gets her back in amongst the reeds and seems to calm right down.  It is going to be quite the spring over at the marsh.  The neighbours overlooking the pond may have to keep their windows closed if they want to get any sleep.  Mating season is just starting.

On the way back home I decide to stop at the little pond on Willow Farm.  Lots of memories of my kids playing pond hockey there.  Amazingly it is still pretty frozen, being nestled in amongst some beautiful evergreens, it doesn't get quite as much sun as the MacKenzie Marsh does.  

One lonely hockey net has been left on the pond, hopefully the owners rescue it before the pond melts totally.  

This pond is so quiet compared to the big pond and I start to head back to my car, when just out of the corner of my eye I catch some movement.  The Great Blue Heron has returned.  Not sure why, but he just seems male :).  He is standing quiet as can be back amongst the reeds.  Beside him 2 quiet little ducks.  So dainty compared to their cousins the Canada Geese lol.  Every spring this heron (for sure the same one) stops for a break in his trip at our little pond.  (I am sure he is heading up to the Muskokas).  And then the same in the fall as he heads back south.  I am thinking he may have made his appearance a little early this year.  Wishful thinking on his part, spring may have arrived, but winter hasn't left yet.

Thanks MJ, it was well worth the visit.  Take a trip over to some of the beautiful ponds we have here in Aurora and let me know who has arrived.  

Warning:  Might be traumatic for small children  :)

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