Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring has arrived at MacKenzie Marsh Aurora

The sun is shining and the sky is a beautiful blue, I definitely need a little walk.  Feels lovely outside of my house but a wee bit chillier over at the marsh with the breeze blowing.  There is still a thin layer of ice on some parts of the pond, but it hasn't stopped the influx of the swans, geese and 100's of other little birds (which were being very evasive today).

A quick walk was a great way to spend my lunch hour as I took a break from work.  3000 steps with stops for pictures and chatting along the way.

 There are 5 swans so far, 2 adults and 3 yearlings.  Who were being very shy.  Last fall 24 swans stopped over for a holiday on their trip south.
 Must be lots of activity in the pond water as all the birds were diving for food.  Everyone seemed to be paired off, so mating season is in full swing.
 This young lady is protecting her nest.  She is a little close to the boardwalk, but looks like a very comfy spot.

 These 2 seem to be trying to either build their nest or were making sure that no one or thing came close to them, the noise they made would wake the dead.

 These 2 were not happy with the photographer creeping closer.  (Not me I've seen a goose get mad before and I can't run fast enough anymore to get away)

It truly is a wonderful time of year, new growth, new birth, snowbirds returning.  6 weeks from now the marsh will be budding and there will be chirps and cheeps and lots of babies coming into this world.  I wonder if they are as glad to live in Aurora as I am :).

btw if you are looking for an interesting story about the naming of the Canada Goose, check out this blog.

"The Canada goose was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century workSystema Naturae.[3] It belongs to the Branta genus of geese, which contains species with largely black plumage, distinguishing them from the grey species of the Anser genus. The specific epithet canadensis is a New Latin word meaning "from Canada". "

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Walk to Willow Farm Pond

There are times when as a Canadian I am thankful for the harsh winters we have.  I know you are thinking I am crazy (my kids would agree with that assessment).  The weather this week to anyone who lives south of New York would just be OK.  But to me the only word that can apply to this week is GLORIOUS.  I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.  You truthfully want to stretch your arms out and twirl and say WOW.

It's not just me who feels like this, everyone I met on my walk was chatty and smiling and just all around "happier" than they were in March :).  

My goal this summer is to walk 5,000 steps every day and 10,000 steps - 3 times a week.  I am up to 78,000+ steps in 19 days, not quite up to my goal, but getting there.  Thank goodness the golf courses have opened, Jim and I will be starting our 7 to 9 hole after dinner jaunt over to the course.  As the days get longer and warmer it is a beautiful time to walk the course.

One of my favourite Aurora walks is down to the Willow Farm Pond.  It's down hill all the way there, which means I am doing a ton of huffing and puffing on the way back, so a great workout overall.  My other challenge this year is to leave my earphones at home and just enjoy the walk without all the clutter.  I realized the other day when I walked for 30 minutes and my song was stuck on repeat and I didn't even notice that maybe I wasn't listening very well.  

Spring is the true season of rebirth, the number of birds chirping and swooping through the woods was amazing.  Down at the ponds the ducks and geese were starting to nest.  Won't be long until we have baby birds swimming in the pond.  

On my way back I noticed this beautiful tree full of pine cones and not a needle on it.  Hopefully it will come back to it's glory days.

 I have bird pictures all through my house, bright red cardinals, the lovely blue jay, swans flying and I realized I had never taken a picture of a robin.  The harbinger of spring, is there anything better than seeing the red red robin back on our streets as the snow starts to melt.  It is always a part of our conversation as a Canadaian "I saw a Robin today".  Old man winter is on his last breath.  LOL

I feel blessed every day to live in this wonderful country and this wonderful town of Aurora with their marvelous trails.  Hopefully it will make attaining my goal easier :).  Time to put words into action, walk time.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring is in the air and the Farmer's Market in Aurora is hopping

What a great start to the Mother's Day Weekend. Yes I said weekend.  One day isn't enough to celebrate all the beautiful mom's in the world.  After all everyday is Father's Day, so surely we can steal a weekend :)))).  

A little Nine and Dine golf on Friday night with good friends.  A beautiful night for walking the course and the meal at Kings Riding was excellent.  Lindsey and I did a splitsy.  My favourite way to eat.  This way you get to try two meals.  A little cobb salad and a butternut squash ravioli.  A perfect combination.  Then much to my surprise Rachel decided to come home Friday night.  David is in London, England so we connected via social media and the telephone.  Andrew was off fishing for the weekend and Jim had a golf date so Rachel and I had Saturday all to ourselves.  

The day started sunny and warm, a quick cuppa "water and lemon" and off we went to the Aurora Farmers Market.  We headed straight over to Cookery Catering for an egg, brisket and hash brown breakfast.  Absolutely delish, it was a hard decision between that and the banana bread french toast. Picked up some of Andrew Evans and Matt Orr's wonderful beetroot and a bonus of ginger molasses cookies which Rachel and I wolfed down, we weren't sharing with the boys.   

There were lots of families out checking everything out.  Lots of choices for food - pea meal on a bun, Mexican tortillas - etc, baking, and fresh veges just starting to come in.

Rachel picked up a couple jars of jerk chicken sauce.  She made it for Jay last night and said it was amazing, looks like I will have to make a trip over to get some.  

Coffee freshly roasted up in Georgina at the Green River Coffee Company.  I picked Jim up a pound, can't wait to try it.  

Hurst Bakery had a stand, needless to say it was very busy and smelled wonderful.

It was a little blustery, not sure how he was able to walk never mind juggle.  The kids followed him around like the Pied Piper :))

The stalls were so colourful, candy, knick knacks, fresh soup and how could we resist the Girl Guide Cookies.  2 boxes please.  

Picked up a few more things and then headed over to the garden centre to pick up some flowers to take over to my parents and brothers gravesite in Mississauga.  The day just kept getting more beautiful, somehow we ended up on the deck having a glass of wine before our trip to the Bluberi Beauty Lounge to pamper our fingers and toes.

Just a wonderful relaxing day.  Thank you Rachel for sharing it with me.  xo

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  :)