Friday, June 9, 2017

Trip Down Pinecrest Creek

Manordale and Huntclub Road is at the southern edge of the Pinecrest Creek Watershed, so a drop of rain that falls here has a fair chance of eventually getting into the creek. It is a highly urbanized creek and it only emerges from the storm sewers north of Baseline road. Last weekend I went for a bike ride down the creek to the Ottawa River and snapped the above picture. My real agenda for writing this blog post however are the white flowers in the foreground. I can never remember what they are called, they superficially look like Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot but on closer inspection turn out to be Cow Parsley, also called Wild Chervil. A couple of closeup pictures with my new camera below:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Flower Time

The trees and bushes are in flower and I went out with a new (to me) camera to try it out.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)

In Flower

  • Redbud
  • Pin Cherry
  • Trilliums
  • Creeping charlie
  • Violets
  • Daffodils
  • Lilac
  • Honeysuckle
  • Dandelions
  • Forget-me-not
  • Elderberry
  • Common speedwell
  • Yellow archangel
  • Self-heal
  • Crabapple
  • Apple

The trilliums that were planted back in 2009 haven't expanded very much, this year there were 10 blooms.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Turkeys and Turkey Vultures

This past weekend I saw both a turkey and a turkey vulture flying along the berm. I startled the turkey in the field north of the berm; it lumbered into the sky and flew off getting no higher than the rooftops of the bungalows along Kelvin. A couple of days later I saw the turkey vulture in the same spot (well 100 feet higher up) soaring effortlessly. Both turkeys and turkey vultures are relatively recent arrivals to Ottawa. I remember around 2000 hearing reports of turkeys just to the south in Leeds-Grenville and being excited as I hadn't seen one yet in Eastern Ontario. As it happens, this weekend I also got my first taste of wild Eastern Ontario turkey and I'm happy to see them on my plate as well as in the field.

I took advantage of the heavy rain this weekend to transplant a couple of seedlings into the berm area to fill in some gaps. One of them was a seedling of the white spruce I had to take out of my back yard a couple of years ago. The other was a small Manitoba maple that wasn't welcome in the flower bed. I also tried sticking a few willow twigs in the ground to see if they would take. I've heard that is supposed to work but I have my doubts.

It snowed a bit on Sunday but hopefully that is the last of winter for us. I figure the last of the chill left the ground a little over three weeks ago. I snapped this picture of a garter snake three weeks ago as I was picking up garbage in Ben Franklin Wood. I was surprised to see him as it wasn't exactly warm yet, but I guess it was warm enough for him in the strong spring sun.

Monday, March 27, 2017

winter skiing

It has been quite a good year for cross-country skiing with one final hurrah of fresh powder in the middle of March. Now of course we are in the middle of the great melt with the rest of the week predicted to be above freezing. I feel very lucky to have this nice long stretch of open space for skiing any time I please. It isn't exactly quiet as the rumble from Hunt Club is ever present but it feels quite private as there is rarely anyone else about.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A peculiar fence

The old tumble-down fence at the end of Newhaven St. is, I believe, quite unique in Ottawa. It is the only dead-end in all of Ottawa where access is blocked to city owned open green space. I asked Keith Egli, the city councilor, about opening an access point there, so that people might have a convenient place to walk. He in turn asked the city staff and they said no-can-do. Why you might ask, well according to the accessibility rules they can't just remove a fence to allow people to access the green space without making it wheelchair accessible. To make it wheelchair accessible would require they create a paved path, and there isn't the money for that.

I wouldn't really want a paved path there either because, in order to connect it to the multi-user path on the other side of the berm, you would have plow a hole through the berm. If this was a new subdivision, I'm sure a fence would never have been installed there in the first place, the fence however was errected back in the 60s when Manordale bordered the experimental farm so we are stuck with it I guess. As you can see, the snowplows damaged the fence a few years ago and nobody has bothered to repair it. That doesn't really speak very highly of the civic pride in Manordale, but it is a bit of an orphaned fence that nobody really has a use for anymore.

There is something ironic about the accessibility rules preventing accessibility. There is another head-scratcher at the end of Cheryl road. There they have relatively recently put in a paved path along the hydro easement but failed to make it conveniently wheelchair accessible from Cheryl by leaving a rough patch of gravel between the paved surface of the road and the paved surface of the multi-user path. I'm sure there is some sort of rule there where they need a curb to divide the road from the path and as the end of the road is unfinished they couldn't pave up to a curb. Nothing is ever simple in government.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birdhouse

This fall I built a birdhouse for the north-side of the berm. It is close to a duplicate of a successful birdhouse in the backyard where many generations of house sparrows have been raised. I placed it about 7 feet up on top of one of the posts I had planted earlier in the year to protect the young trees from the mower. The long grass mower had run over about 5-10 trees in the early summer but some of them were coming back from the inadvertent coppicing. The posts did the trick of convincing the mower to not follow the path taken in the summer when remowing the area in the fall.

I took the above picture on the 7th and it has stayed cold and snowy all December. In the poplar trees on top of the berm were a bunch of crows making a racket as I was taking this picture. They were a small part of the large flock that heads East each evening back to their roost on the Rideau.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Roadside Test Plots

Someone is conducting an experiment on a patch of ground adjacent to the road in front of the crabapples. Early in the summer (when I took the above photo) they sprayed herbicide to kill all the vegetation and spread clover seeds. Unfortunately for their experiment a heavy rain storm wash their seeds into puddles and what mostly grew up was ragweed except in the patches where the clover germinated. They then in the late summer repeated the experiment further along the road with much more success. It will be interesting to see how the clover handles the salt over winter.

This evening on my walk it felt like winter was coming at last. There was a strong wind out of the west and hundreds of crows were racing east overhead back to their roost on the Rideau.