Total Pageviews

Apr 29, 2007

King Township footbridges

Humber Trails Forest & Wildlife Conservation Area

Jackman's Suspension Bridge over the Humber

Marsh Marigolds at Cold Creek Forest & Wildlife Area
Have you walked over a footbridge today? Go ahead. Get out there and listen to the birds. Breathe some fresh air. Listen to a stream trickling. I hope you have a great time. BtheB

Apr 27, 2007

A haiku or two

Parts of me are dead
Yet I am walking about
Amazing no one
I grew a gray beard
To conceal a weary heart
And unhappy face
Dark leaves of night fall
Quietly covering me
Head and heart debrief
Snide cuts of loathing
Seek their intended victim
Bathed in my tears
Forget the stockings
your bare legs should entwine mine
yes the panties too

Apr 21, 2007

King City's 'Great Blue' Heronry

Wikipedia Photo
King City has been home to a Great Blue Heron heronry for decades. It is located in the southern part of King City, in a hardwood swamp at the back of the old Rumble farm. Bruce Rumble told me a couple of weeks ago that 30 or more years ago there were 30 to 40 nests occupied in the heronry. As King City has grown and people have encroached on the site, which is now owned by land developers, the herons have made themselves continuously scarce. Two years ago I found only one nest being used and last year, none.
Good new, though, as there are at least 10 nests in use this spring and there may be a few more, but I wanted to keep my distance and disturb the nesting birds as little as possible. Who knows why the resurgence in interest at this location? It's great to see the return of the Great Blue Herons and the site is protected by the Township of King through designations as an Environmental Protection Area and as an Area of Natural Scientific Interest, as well by the the Oak Ridges Moraine Act. Now that sewers are being installed in King City and the village will double in size over the next 10 to 15 years, one has to wonder about the future of King City's heronry. In the meantime, we'll enjoy it while we can. I hope you enjoying the spring migration.
Please comment if you wish. BtheB

Apr 15, 2007

Episcopalian boys and Catholic girls

I was doing some research, a few days ago, for the family history book I'm writing and ran across an interesting item about my wife's Glass family ancestors in the 1851 Canada Census data, which has recently become available to genealogists on the internet. I was looking for Hugh Glass who was an immigrant to Canada in the early 1800s from Ireland. He and his family had been enumerated on their farm in Vaughan Township. Hugh was described as a 45-year-old farmer who had been born in Ireland in 1806. His wife, Nancy, 43, was also born in Ireland in 1808. Hugh's religion was listed as Episcopalian, while Nancy was a Roman Catholic. They had seven children, ranging in age from 22 down to 7. All of the boys were listed as Episcopalians and all the girls were listed as Roman Catholics. Well, that's one way of dealing with the thorny issue of how to raise the children in a mixed marriage; seemingly arbitrary, but pragmatic.

Apr 10, 2007

Tasmanian penile colony

I had some fun this week with the folks at Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestlye Magazine. I gladly receive this magazine every month or so as an insert to my Globe & Mail newspaper. The April, 2007, issue had an interesting article for travellers to Tasmania. Readers were directed to historic Sarah Island where adventure-seekers could visit a penile colony!
I couldn't resist emailing Dreamscapes Editor, Donna Vieira, to ask her for an exact definition of a 'penile colony'. I anticipated Donna's informed reply, by offering her my own suggestions. Perhaps a penile colony was: (A) a Viagra testing ground, (B) a gay male commune, or (C) a prison for male sex offenders. I praised her good work and told her to "keep it up".
I received Ms. Vieira's reply a mere 15 minutes later. She had received my email in the spirit with which I had intended. She commented on the unfortunate error regarding the misspelling of 'penal', the magazine's high standards in striving for excellence, and how four pairs of eye's proof every issue of Dreamscapes. She also thanked me for my light-hearted approach and encouragement.
Apparently, a correction has been made to the website versions of the article, thanks to my alertness in spotting the spelling mistake. Too bad, as I feel guilty now for denying other readers the chance to discover this delightful typo.
Here's hoping you have a bright spot in your day also. Please comment if you wish.

Apr 9, 2007

Canada's real job in Afghanistan

"We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Yankees seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
That damned, Osama Pimpernel."
-- with apologies to Baroness Emmuska Orczy and her character Sir Percy Blakeney

Canada's real reason for being in Afghanistan is to find Osama Bin Laden and hand his sorry ass over to George Bush and his buddies Cheney and Rove. Never mind that the U.S.'s rapacious imperialism brought on 9-11, or that it inexplicably didn't happen much earlier than it did. Canada is paying a price now, with its soldiers' blood, because of those unwitting Canadians who were blind-sided in the twin-towers tragedy. The U.S. was doing the job, of chasing Osama around the mountains of Afghanistan, pretty well I thought, until George diverted himself onto the Iraq side-track. Forget the rhetoric about our improving the lot of Afghans. We're way ahead of ourselves - and the Afghans. They are not ready to be 'saved' yet.
Our major contribution to Afghanistan, so far, has been to improve the country's infrastructure which in turn vastly improves and protects the growing of poppies and the production of heroin. This part of the Afghan economy is booming and helping the Taliban cause greatly. And the reward for Canada? There is none. And George Bush will forget us the day he walks out of the White House for the last time.
How long will we be there? Not when my one-year-old grandson turns 19, I hope, and preferably not long enough for one more 20-year-old, innocent Canadian to get blown to smithereens.
Please comment if you wish.

Apr 6, 2007

Osprey back at Lake Jonda

It was -5C today with a wind chill of -13C. There were windy flurries over Lake Jonda on the King Campus of Seneca College. After an early thaw in March, which left the lake free of ice, it is now freezing up again around the edges. But today, April 6, 2007, there is an Osprey hovering over the lake and occassionally making a talons-first plunge into the the freezing water. I have not seen it rise with a fish yet, but I'm sure it is just a matter of time. In the interim, it withdraws to a broken treetop to rest-up for the next foray. I'm left to ponder whether the biological urge (eating, mating) is the most powerful of all nature's forces. (Internet photo by Bill Schmoker)
Please comment if you wish. BarrytheBirder

Apr 3, 2007

Bluebirds have arrived in King

Long-time King Township acquaintance, David Love, told me last Friday (Mar. 30) that Eastern Bluebirds had returned to his meadow on the King Ridge last week. It prompted me to check Cold Creek Forest and Wildlife Centre yesterday to see if they had returned there also. I didn't see any bluebirds but they should be back soon. Let's hope they hold off until the last bit of snow, forecasted for this week, has passed.
While I was there, I took the opportunity to put numbers on 12 new birdboxes and re-erect one birdhouse that had fallen to the ground last fall, when an old fence post toppled over. There are now 45 birdboxes at Cold Creek awaiting the spring migration. Last year every box was occupied, mostly by Tree Swallows and House Wrens, but also by a pair of bluebirds. Hopefully the bluebird count will increase this year.
The beauty of bluebirds is exceeded only by their instinctive intrepidity to get to nest sites on the breeding grounds early. Their delicate blue appearance seems to belie their ability to withstand cold, wet, early spring weather. The truth is that their first brood of babies often succumb to the elements, but later broods succeed. Nature often demands fearlessness from all of its creatures and doesn't make exceptions, not even for its prettiest jewels, such as the Eastern Bluebird.
Anyone attending Cold Creek Day on Sat., June 9th, may get to see one of these feathered treasures...details at