musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

hawk in the 'hood

This handsome red-tailed hawk spent an entire morning hanging out on the fence behind my building. The neighbourhood robins were absolutely frantic but aside from an occasional imperious glance, the hawk ignored their scolding and even the occasional daring dive-bomber.


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stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

babes in zooland...

A few weeks ago a friend and I spent a happy morning getting to know the two and four-footed residents of the High Park Zoo. A Toronto institution since 1893, the little zoo made news world-wide last year when its resident Capybaras escaped and went walkabout for most of the summer. The whole city seemed obsessed with finding the missing rodents. News reports regularly showed camo-clad people hunting through the bushes around Grenadier Pond brandishing cameras and nets... but the wily Capybaras eluded every sleuth and would-be captor. Eventually, one of the pair was spotted and lured into a trap by zoo staff. The other ran wild and free for a while longer but finally the duo, appropriately named Bonnie and Clyde, were safely returned to their newly-reinforced pen inside the zoo compound. 

Plans are afoot to move the Capybaras to upgraded quarters with a much larger swimming area and other rodent spa amenities. Meanwhile, Bonnie and Clyde seem content to bask in the sunshine and show off their three little "Capy-babies" – aren't they sweet?

There's a contest going on to name the Capybara babies.
What would you suggest?

This little dude looks as if he's plotting his own escape!

Soaking up the sun.

There are plenty of other critters keeping the Capybara family company in hillside paddocks. Here are a few of my favourites.

Bison, looking a bit itchy as he sheds his winter coat.

The Highland cattle were more interested in breakfast than visitors.

A sign on the Llama enclosure read, "Watch out, we spit!"
Apparently that's how you know when they're tired of your company.

Wallaby, enjoying his breakfast.

This Yak seemed quite interested in my camera.
I love how alert and intelligent he looks.

We waited, hoping for a tail display, but
this gorgeous peacock turned his back on us. 

As soon as we walked away, we heard him shouting and
feather-rattling, so hurried back to see. Turn around, turn around!

Finally. Isn't he glorious? Oh, that vivid blue!

So ended our day in High Park. It was my first visit in many (many!) years. Now that I know what I've been missing, I will definitely return more often. In case you missed it, while in the park we also visited the Cherry Blossom festival on Grenadier Hill. My photos are here

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

cherry blossom time...

In the spring of 1959, the citizens of Tokyo, Japan made a gift of two thousand Sakura cherry trees to the people of Toronto as thanks for Canadian support of Japanese refugees after WWII. The little trees found a new home in High Park, thus beginning a springtime tradition in our city: cherry blossom time. 

I'm a couple or few years older than those cherry trees, born and raised in Toronto, but until this week I've never had the chance to see the trees in bloom. What a magical sight it is! 

My friend and I set our alarms for oh-gosh-thirty on Monday morning and made our way through rush-hour traffic to arrive at High Park a few minutes past eight. The parking lots were already busy, the grassy slopes full of people with cameras, people walking, people gazing up at the masses of pale pink petals in mute admiration. (There was even a bride with her photographer – lovely dress but no competition for the absolute perfection overhead.) 

Cherry blossoms on the hill, High Park, Toronto

Click on any photo to see larger version. (Images will open in new window.)

The vista over Grenadier Pond seemed stark as we emerged from the tunnel of blossoms but we soon discovered more signs of spring along the pathways... a gorgeous pair of Merganser ducks on the pond, daffodils blooming in pretty clumps, early flowers in sheltered suntraps, and  my favourite  riots of brilliant yellow forsythia.

Our rambles eventually lead us to the famous High Park Zoo, a Toronto institution since 1893. The zoo made news world-wide last year when the resident Capybaras escaped and went walkabout for most of the summer. Bonnie and Clyde are safely home now with three sweet babies as a reminder of their "summer of love". ;-) I've got lots of zoo pictures (including some of the Capybabies) to share next time, so be sure to check back. Meanwhile, happy spring!

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

a wee tree update...

The Easter Bunny stopped by our house a bit early this year and dropped off a special treat... for the Christmas tree. So, as promised, here's our wee Grinchy tree, sporting a cheerful new outfit for spring. [If you missed the fashion show, follow this link to see wee tree's post-Christmas costume changes.]

Our little tree is incredibly patient and continues to thrive, but his humans are running out of decorating ideas. (Suggestions welcome. All I've got is a vague idea about a giant strawberry for June!) On the other hand, maybe it's time for a new pot with some fresh soil and a shot of fertilizer. Wee tree would likely appreciate a few months of rest and relaxation before Christmas rolls around again. 

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

birds of spring...

I went walking at one of Toronto's finest waterfront parks this afternoon. Colonel Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke is a favourite with bird watchers and for the past few years I've enjoyed trying to spot new (to me) birds whenever I visit. Luck was with me today! I found a large group of long-tailed ducks in a sheltered bay. Most of them were too far away for a decent photo but this guy came close enough for a quick snap. Isn't he lovely? One for my life list.

Long-tailed Duck

A bit farther west, out in the yacht basin, the red-necked grebes were squabbling, pairing off, and joyfully singing the love songs of their people. 

Red-necked Grebes

Red-necked Grebes

The marsh area was comparatively quiet except for the trill of red-winged blackbirds and the quacks and dabbling of mallard ducks.

Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck

This gorgeous young robin didn't seem to mind at all when I stopped to watch him hunt. He even obliged by posing prettily for me on a rock.

American Robin

Over all, a very fine walk indeed! I don't know about you, but I am very glad it's spring.

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stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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