Friday, May 11, 2012

Morning honeysuckle:


Ants enjoying an abandoned squirrel snack:


Another bit of fence that needs work. What goes on around here??


A non-Beechwood area, showing what happens when garlic mustard is left to its own devices:


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Can anyone identify this plant for me? (Ignore the garlic mustard lurking in the corner.)



It's Paddle the Don day! There were several vehicles, including one from the Marine Unit, driving up and down the path today. I thought at first the people with canoes on the other side of the river were taking part in some kind of training drill. They didn't really look the part, though, so I went with my second guess: Paddle the Don participants. This is an annual event that allows people to enjoy the Don River from a canoe or kayak. You can read more about it and see some video here.

Anyone recognize this great Canadian crimefighter?


Relaunching below the weir with the help of a crew in orange hats:


Safely on their way again:



This confirms my guess:

Friday, May 04, 2012


It's not every day you see a penguin at Beechwood! Can I add this to my bird list?


 Snail art:


Turns out, beer bottles can become habitat:


 Berries past their sell-by date:


There are butterflies everywhere these days, even on the garlic mustard:


A fascinating cocoon:


Water droplet on tamarack:


Coltsfoot:


The worst picture ever of a turtle. Just take my word for it:


There were frogs too, but I didn't get any pictures of them. In fact, I didn't even see them, but a few jumped into the pond as I walked by.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012




Just another quiet day at the wetland until I found a stash of empties hidden away under some trees.


It took some crawling around and working my way through tangled branches, but the karmic reward was great, because right after I'd gathered these ...



... I found a Very Cool Thing:


Can you figure it out? Here's another clue:



Got it now? It's a snapping turtle skeleton, upside down, and the papery brown stuff (which was under the bones) is a piece of what's left of the shell covering. I couldn't find the skull at first, but oh, there it is over there, posing demurely with another bone.


The garbage came in handy to indicate scale. Bottlecap:


Beer bottle:


These fit together to form the shell:


And this is the, uh ... well, I'll have to explore turtle anatomy a bit more. I'll post some more pictures at a later date.


Monday, April 30, 2012


I feel quite boring, but there's nothing exciting happening around Beechwood lately. I arrive, I grub up a bucket or two of garlic mustard, I take a few pictures, I go home. This morning I saw a rabbit, some goldfinches, and a pair of mallard ducks on the pond, but no great photos of any of that. I did snap a purple grackle. Talk about angry birds! (Feel free to click on any photos for a better look.)


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I'm back! There were no wood ducks on the river as I walked to Beechwood, so I was expecting them at the pond. Sure enough, there they were:


What really captured my attention, though, was this:



Uh, what? Someone removed a bunch of logs from the fence and threw them into the pond??? Sigh. I tried to think of an explanation -- beaver Olympics? Rob Ford's latest environmental policy? -- but I'm baffled.

After pulling a few buckets of garlic mustard I wandered around and took some pictures. Even these guys looked pretty:



I found a little cache of bones at the base of a tree. Squirrel, I think.



Is this the new thing? Instead of shoes thrown over the wires?


I kinda like it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I haven't forgotten about Beechwood but a nasty cold has benched me for a while. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, April 16, 2012

On my way to Beechwood this morning I encountered this perfectly charming garter snake:



Not only has it got ants and snails crawling over it, it's got an ant ON ITS EYE. Talk about nerves of steel.




Less charming is the fact that some of the garlic mustard is starting to flower already. Oh dear.



Still there on my way home: