Friday, June 1, 2018

From about 10 days ago

I seem to be getting farther and farther behind on posting to my blog. But I guess each year has its own rhythm.

Egret Watching

A favourite spot of mine is Parc-des-Rapides which juts out into the St. Lawrence River beside the Lachine Rapids. This is also a favourite spot for a variety of birds. Even on a hot day there are usually cool breezes. Though once I made the mistake of going there on a cold winter day and my camera battery and my fingers did not last long!

This egret was patiently fishing, oblivious to the many gawkers who watched, some behind long lenses.

Heron

This heron was well camouflaged. It took me a while to spot it across the water from me.

Redwing Blackbird Singing

Despite the raucous cries of the red winged blackbirds, there is something very peaceful about walking amidst nature, listening not just to the birds but also the rush of the water of the rapids. The city disappears and there is a sense of really being in the moment.

Egret in the Water

Was fishing any better here? I'm not sure - but I couldn't resist one more photo.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Week Later in Spring

A Carpet of Trilliums

What a difference a week makes. I went back to Bois de Liesse (May 13) and was greeted by a carpet of trilliums. The dog toothed violets have mainly vanished. The red trilliums looked tired. But it was glorious in the woods with white trilliums popping up everywhere.

Stream in Spring

They, too, will not last long as the leafy canopy spreads and will soon cast shadows on the forest floor. For now all is the bright green of spring.

Fern

The ferns, which last week were slowly uncurling, are now upright and plentiful.

A Fern Among the Trilliums

Some poke their fronds above the riot of trilliums.

White Trillium

Each year I feel I need to go on this pilgrimage to pay hommage to these flowers. Their time here is short yet their presence seems to announce spring for me. Each year I aim my lens looking for the perfect shot.

Always Searching for the Perfect Trillium Shot

of the perfect trillium.

I'm Watching You

This park is home to wildlife from birds to squirrels and this raccoon who eyed me warily as I stopped to admire him. There are signs, too, warning of coyotes in the area. They are a fairly recent addition to our urban landscape.

Stopping for a Drink

He stopped for a drink after checking us out and then warily moved on. We continued our walk refreshed by just being in the forest.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Comes to Gardens

Blossoms

The air says spring. The gardens say spring. Each day Mother Nature adds dabs of paint to her canvas, filling out the spaces. Blossoms appear where days before there were just bare branches.

Tulips with a Point

Gardens become lush with flowers. It is all so transient as spring flowers make their short appearances.

Magnolias

Each year the magnolias take my breath away. Stop and admire. They too, display their splendour for just a short time before the leaves take over.  Everything in its own time...

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spring Takes Hold

Spring in Summit Park

Spring is a parade of delights as each day brings new changes. Each flower takes its turn, some lasting only days while others linger. I walked up in Summit Woods on May 5. The woods were full of dog-toothed violets (aka trout lily or erythronium americanum). Their splotchy leaves and bright yellow flowers were easy to spot.

Bloodroot

We also spotted some sanguinaria canadensis. The trilliums were still reluctant - some leaves but no sign of flowers.

First Open Trillium

On May 6 a friend and I went to Bois-de-Liesse where the trilliums were starting to open. In most spots, it was still only and occasional flower that revealed itself.

Ferns Unfurl

Ferns were starting to unfurl.

In the Sunlight

And Sanguinaria reached for the sunlight.

Fungus

Some interesting fungus was growing near a dead log. Anyone know what it is?

By the Foot of the Tree

A cluster of dogtoothed violets grew near a tree trunk.

Red Trillium

I always search out the red trilliums which open before the white ones. They are far less plentiful than their white cousins and so each one seems precious. Did you know that trilliums take 7 - 10 years to go from seed to flower?

Wildflowers Mingle

Here is a variety of flowers together. Enjoy as they won't last long.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring Comes and Goes and Comes and Goes...

Spring Slowly Creeps In

I started to see a few flowers on March 30. I always love to catch the first blooms - such a sign of rebirth. But spring in Montreal takes time to take hold.

Birch

There are microclimates. Just a slight rise in elevation and there were no flowers to be seen. Mont-Royal still had quite a bit of snow in the woods (April 2).

First Flowers

On April 6 I spotted these flowers growing in a fairly protected spot. These hardy snow drops and scylla are always among the first to appear. April has been quite grey and rainy. Any colour I see is a feast for the eyes.

Winter Doesn't End

This year spring has been particularly reluctant to appear with below average temperatures and some downright nasty weather. On April 16 we had ice pellets, freezing rain and eventually rain.

Stump

Each day I would think it was the last time I would wear my heavy winter coat and each day I would realize it was the best for the weather.

Snowy Remnants

Finally winter is receding. Seasonable temperatures (above 10°C / 50°F) have finally arrived. While snow is still spotted, most of the ground is free of it.

First Growth among the Dry Leaves

In the forest in Bois de Liesse, where I was walking with a friend, there is new growth beginning. This is a favourite spot for seeing trilliums, but there was no sign of even the sprouts.

Early Spring

Even without spring green, it was peaceful to be in the woods. We could hear birds, glimpsed a couple of woodpeckers and saw both grey and little red squirrels scampering in the dried leaves.

Hanging On

Soon these tenacious dry leaves will be pushed off to make way for this year's leaves.

Spring Flowers

With a few days of sun and warmer weather, spring will jump into action. Flowers seem to grow before your eyes. Each day the changes bring new delights.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Dreaming of Tulips

Dreaming of Tulips

Outdoors spring-like temperatures have come early with day time highs over freezing. The landscape is dirty. As snow melts the residue of winter filth is concentrated leaving a black coating over what is left of the snow. Sidewalks still have the gravel and sand that was spread to prevent falls on ice. I dream of tulips.

Tulip

On my last trip to the market, I picked up a bunch. Indoors, at least, I enjoy hints of spring. I do like winter - when there is actual winter weather - cold, fresh snow, and a blazing blue sky. But grey is just that - grey skies, grey on the snow, a leaching of brightness from everything around.

Dive into the Tulip

These flowers make me slow down, to stop and take in each detail, to enjoy their transience. This year, I have vowed, there will be a succession of tulips to chase away the greys and enjoy the coming of spring.

Friday, February 9, 2018

New Fallen Snow

Winter Stillness

There is nothing quite like walking on a winter evening with a gentle snow falling.
Lamplight makes everything sparkle.
The snow dampens sound.
Everything is pristine.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Crows

Trees Full of Crows

I was walking through the park when I heard the loud cawing of crows. Just outside the park hundreds of crows were gathering in the trees. I've seen swarms of crows like this before. Why do they do this? I know they return to an area to roost each evening but this is not their usual roosting spot.

Crows

Whatever the reason, it is quite a site to behold. I was just sorry I only had my phone camera with me. My walk was not a planned photo walk.

Crows in the Tree

Friday, January 12, 2018

Winter in Many Guises

Hanging on to the Dead Leaves

Some days are absolutely glorious. The sun shines. The temperature is at the perfect spot of being cold enough to feel crisp but not so cold that you huddle into your coat. It invigorates and puts a smile on my face.


Icicles

The sun sparkles on icy surfaces.  When I was a child we used to like to break off icicles and suck on the. Now, armed with more knowledge, I shudder at the idea - the pollutants we ingested, the dirt...

Above Freezing in the Morning

And then overnight the mood changes as the temperature rose above the freezing point. Rain fell and a mist rose. A temporary winter reprieve.

In the Mist

I like the mystery of mist - the silence that seems to descend and the feeling of the unknown as vistas shrink.

Wearing a Raincoat

Even the dogs in the dog park seemed more subdued - sitting as if adjusting to this silent landscape.

Winter will be back in full force tonight. Here is the forecast (temperatures are in Celsius) :


Mother Nature plans a lot of activity for Montreal to transform, yet again, our city.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Frost

Frost 1

We have hit a spate of frigid weather. Each morning I get a new delightful piece of art painted on my windows.

Frost 2

I have to stop and admire each detail - lines and textures, painstakingly created.

Frost 3

The sun, despite the outdoor temperature of -23°C (-10°F) is washing it all away, cleaning the canvas leaving space for a new creation tomorrow.

Frost 4

Some days it is like an icy garden, others like fairies dancing.

Frost 5

A fleeting moment of beauty.