The Leslie Spit is one of my favorite places to bike: I can watch birds, see what is growing, and sometimes, when its foggy, feel like I’m nowhere near Toronto, just out on a country road somewhere.
Sunday was clear and warm. There was a fairly strong wind from the southwest, which meant working on the way out to the lighthouse and almost (not quite) coasting home.
Here are some photos I took on Sunday. It was definitely the earliest in the year that I’ve gone out there.
Nice view from about half-way out: the red osier dogwood provides some foreground colour. There have really been huge changes to the Toronto skyline since I moved here in ’87:
I liked this view of the cormorant nests. After a few years of them nesting in the trees, the trees die because of the bird lime. They look ghostly and out of place in the summer. In winter, before trees have started leafing out, they don’t seem quite as unusual. They almost look like stalks of broom, except the scale is four to six times greater.
One of my favourite winter-time ducks in Toronto is the long-tailed duck. Soon they’ll be leaving, heading north and east. Unlike mallards, they’re relatively fearful of people and keep their distance. Very cute little diving ducks — they’ll suddenly disappear, and reappear on the surface 10 or 15 feet away after a minute.
I was really surprised to see a few woolly bear caterpillars on the move, but I guess the soil has warmed up enough that it woke them up. Hope they survived the onslaught of cyclists and joggers! If they make it, they’ll grow up to be Isabella tiger moths, and they’re not considered pests in either form, so don’t kill them, please.
But some wildlife seems more of a pest than other types. Some of the gulls are back, and setting up house on the spit, preparatory to mating and laying eggs and rearing their young. There are three or four different types that nest out here (and some terns, too). It’s why UNESCO has declared it a significant bird sanctuary.
There was one fellow off to the left of my picture with a big wooly microphone, recording the raucous keening of them.
Continuing my meander out to the lighthouse, I came across a woman feeding a pair of mute swans:
Within sight of the lighthouse, I heard an early spring territorial call. A male red wing blackbird had set himself a guard tower in a tree. This is definitely the earliest I can recall hearing one.
Out at the end, I saw a para-surfer (para-sailor?) wrestling with his sail in the strong wind.
For the bike ride home, I rode along the eastern path. Although rougher and more pot-holed, it doesn’t have all the speedbumps they’ve felt necessary to install on the harbour-side path. Oh, I’m sure they’ll get there.
I stopped to look at the beaver dam to see if there was any action. I didn’t see any beavers, but I did watch three robins flitting about.
I also saw some canvasback ducks in another of the internal ponds, but they were too far away to photograph.
Sure, I’ll get myself a 500mm prime to do that. I’ll get right on it.
Well, maybe I’ll rent one for a bit. My 120-400mm zoom is a bit of a soft focus.