Birds and a Beaver

…more photos from my daily walks

Now that the weather is warming up I’m seeing more and more birds. Living next to the lake has always given me lots of opportunities to photograph the waterfowl, even in the winter but now that the weather is finally warming up (for a day or so and then it gets cold again) the number of birds is definitely increasing and their activity level is on the rise as they get ready to mate and build nests. Here are a few more birds that I’ve witnessed on my walks.IMG-2002
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Another critter that I discovered this evening was a beaver that resides in the pond over at Col. Sam Smith Park. I knew that there were beavers there but I’d never seen one before today. At first is just looked like a rock sticking out of the water but I knew it had to be more than that based on the excitement of two other onlookers.IMG-2005
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Sunny but Cold

…..six days into spring and it still feels like winter

Despite the cold, the sun makes me want to walk around my neighbourhood. When the wind isn’t blowing it isn’t too bad. Unfortunately the areas that I like walking the best are always near the lake and even the tiniest breeze can be bone chilling cold. For some reason the geese, ducks and swans don’t seem bothered by the cold. It must be all that lovely down next to their bodies.IMG-1700
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Birds at the Toronto Zoo

….cold, grey and windy outside but warm and calm indoors

On Sunday, despite the forecast of high winds and rain, the Turners and I ventured to the Toronto Zoo. We had a lovely day and the rain never materialized to more than a mist and the high winds held off until we left.

One of my favourite places at the zoo is the Rain Forest Pavilion. For one thing it’s very dry and quite warm in there. It houses some beautiful greenery and some very interesting birds. One of the most interesting for me was the Hamerkop. This is a medium sized bird that lives in the wetlands of Madagascar, Africa and Arabia. It is famous for the large nests it likes to build and the one at the Toronto Zoo is no exception.

Homer is free to fly around the pavilion and the staff leave nesting materials lying around for him to build his dome shaped nest. These nests can be as big as 2 metres deep and 2 metres wide. Not only has Homer used the building materials that are left for him but he’s clearly found other objects, like mittens and pieces of paper to add to his structure.P1070411
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Most of the other birds were kept in more enclosed areas to protect them from flying into the cold outside. They seemed pretty content with their surroundings where there were numerous trees, perches and resting areas.P1070428
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Some birds were very happy to share a space with the resident rhinoceros .P1070501
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Art From Another Corner of the House

….even though I haven’t found time to make art in the last 6 weeks my husband has

For about a year now my husband has been making cartoon drawings every day for our granddaughter. Certain days have themes like Monster Monday and Fishy Fridays. For this past Christmas Winnie gave her Papa a set of markers so that he could add more colour to his drawings.

When I first met Kevin, back at University, he had just finished a graphic design program at his local college and he worked as a graphic designer for the Ministry of Agriculture. When he switched careers in his mid 30s I was a little sad that he gave up his art but his job was changing with the times and computers were the way to go in the graphic design business. Unfortunately the first computers were very expensive and with a young family to think about he switched careers and his artistic side was put on the back burner.

Over the year I’ve seen his confidence grow and his drawings are developing a unique style of their own. This past week he’s gotten a bit of a head start on his drawings and he’s created six birds and a rabbit. Winnie loves to name them or she asks her Papa to give them names, which she often declares are silly. Here are his latest creations.

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I’d love to create a children’s book around some of these characters.

London – Day 4 (Harrods, Hyde Park)

….day four was another busy day with lots of walking

Today my Andrea, Josie and I headed to Harrods and Hyde Park. We left Kevin at home to rest and agreed to meet up later in the afternoon.

Harrods is probably one of the most famous stores in London. It is not centrally located and is about a mile from Kensington in the area known as Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is a very exclusive area, one of the wealthiest parts of London where some of London’s most expensive hotels are situated. Needless to say that we didn’t go there to shop but merely to look around. The food hall was most interesting and beautifully set up with gorgeous display cases of chocolates and pastries and the seafood was displayed on mounds of ice in the most  attractive way.

While we were there we were told about the Egyptian escalators that were built in 1998 to reflect the Edwardian style of the building. Harrods built the first ever escalator in the UK in 1898. Nervous customers using the contraption were offered brandy when they reached the top to help them recover from their “ordeal”.

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From Harrods we walked over to Hyde Park and walked along the Serpentine Lake. People actually swim in this lake along with the local ducks, geese and swans.IMG-8686
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The installation art that you see in the lake is from the world famous artist, Christo, who unveiled his work The London Mastaba (2018) earlier in June. It is a 20-metre-high floating sculpture on London’s Serpentine Lake, constructed from 7,506 oil drums.

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Stay tuned for part 2…….