Some ice was still in the ponds when Spirit and I went for a walk in Nawautin a week or so ago. It was obviously chilly, but when we came to this pond, the largest of them, there were some geese scattered around, some in the water and two or three plodding around on the soft ice.
We came across another visitor, who is new to bird watching, and she pointed out a hooded merganser. I saw several pairs last year but this is the first one this year. Didn't try to capture a photo, because my wee camera doesn't seem to do well on tiny things at a distance.
Don't you love the one-legged stance of sleeping geese? Always amazes me.
It seems as if many of the birds we saw were already pairing off. Great sign there might be some nests and goslings this year. Fun.
In a smaller pond, across a pathway from the large one, and more of a slough than a pond being almost completely dry last year due to the drought, two geese were looking around contentedly. Spirit bothered them not at all, and I clearly remember a large nest at the far end last year... these two might be the same pair I suppose. I think geese return to favourite nesting places but maybe someone who knows more about these big birds could advise me?
Spirit waits obligingly near the junction of two pathways. You can see here, how the paths are maintained in as near a natural state as possible. Some are like tunnels with cedars and other trees looming along the sides and meeting overhead and others are wide open allowing sunlight and easy passage for walkers and their families, friends or dogs.
This is one of my favourite kinds of nest box in this reserve, and there are several different kinds. You can see the nest makings already in there, plus the skeleton of a butterfly - from this year? no probably last....
Spirit checks out messages from other doggy visitors near one of the bridges that connects the pathways in various places and allows for crossing from one section of the reserve to another without having to wade through streams. The water in this stream is flowing fast and is about a foot deep - in summer only a few inches.
And finally another view of the first pond one comes to off one of the entrances. We have seen huge carp, painted turtles, all kinds of ducks and song birds here as well as woodpeckers and herons. There was a great blue heron flying around that day, but refused to have his portrait taken.
We, in this neighbourhood and others nearby, are so lucky that the various townships in Northumberland County where I now live have encouraged development of conservation areas for public enjoyment as well as to preserve our wild lands, waters, birds and other wildlife.