Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Walk in the Park

We met friends at Kensington Park today and spent about 3 hours traipsing around with the chilluns. I'm not sure I can do justice to the park. Driving in, you get a few miles of this:

and this:

About 10 minutes in, we arrived at the Nature Centre. Outside, we are always greeted by turtles

and froggies - fat ones - the kind that make a noise like a rubberband twanging:

This "cheeky" little blighter was vacuuming under the birdfeeders:

as was his friend who posed very nicely for me:

Today we headed up the "Deerrun" trail. The bridges and everything around them are always a source of fascination.

I think these are some of the skunk cabbages we saw back in March. (somewhere near the middle of all that)

There are lots of little ruvulets and streams crisscrossing the hiking trails.

We also went "offroading" a bit

and spotted a pair of Sandhill Cranes. A man who was also taking pics said they had 2 chicks, but the grass was too tall for us to spot them.

When everyone was sufficiently starved, we headed back past the Nature building to get lunch from our cars, startling a group of baby squirrels who all ran up a tree:

and stared suspiciously at us:

We found we weren't the only hungry ones:

At this point, Mollusc became obsessed with chipmunks and the feeding thereof. :-)

We finally grabbed our lunches and took them to the boardwalk so we could watch the great blue herons in the rookery while we ate, and were tickled pink to see babies poking their little herony heads up from the nests:
We spotted a muskrat here as well, but I didn't get a picture of him.

At this point, Gogo and my friend's son were very nearly absorbed into a passing group of schoolchildren. ACK!!!! Stay with the mamas!!!

The lakes were full of carp thrashing themselves around and against each other - spawning time, I guess. We saw some pretty strange stuff, but none of the pics really show it well. :-P As I walked to the edge of the water to get a better view of the sea monster show (really, the fish looked rather strange and sea-monstery) I looked down and saw a largish snake at my feet.

(I know - not the greatest pic, LOL!)
We also saw the largest wild turtle I've ever seen. A snapper. Oooooh! His shell alone was a little over a foot long.

Finally, it was time to go home:

where we were reminded that the great outdoors begins just outside the back door:

Thanks for coming along on our walk. Hope to see you there next time! :-)

Oh yeah - today was apparently "Nun's Day Out" at the park. We saw a lot of pairs of nuns walking all over the place while driving in. I haven't seen real nuns in the wild in a long time. Or fake nuns, for that matter. I tried to get some action photos, but they are not easily photographed while driving.

Tomorrow is
Towel Day. Hope you know where your towel is!!


jackt said...

Isn't it WEDNESDAY today?!

Logophile said...

I like your park, I wanna come next time!
Looks like a great day, next though, good When Nuns Go Wild pics are a must.

Seeleah said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Made my morning, Can...what a peaceful virtual walk.

Candace said...

Jack - you meanwe should have been debauching? Probably true. But this was so lovely it counted. :-)

Logo - LOL! My frined and I were discussing what sort of nun holidy it might be and decided that it was possibly "nothing counts day" - the one day a year where they can drink, smoke, curse like sailors and do generaly degenerate things. :-) I will definitely try to get pics of the next Wild Nuns.

Seeleah - if you would visit us for more than 28 hours, we would take you there, LOL!

Egan said...

People sitting on towels is considered a special event? I thought the pictures would be more risqué. Thanks for the nature pictures. Being the pyro you are, did you contemplate burning anything?

Karen Little said...

gosh - beautiful pictures - that looks like such an amazing park!

Faltenin said...

Wow. You'll have to invite me next time you go there!!!

My camera's all impatient!

Toby said...

Beautiful. I wouldn't ever have thought the animals to be so friendly so close to Detriot (haha). I think the snake is a Bull Snake.

GuTTer MuNKi said...

Just so no one is unnecessarily retroactively worried, rest assured that Candace's snake charming skills are second to none.

Candace said...

Egan - I did set fire to 1/4 acre of the park, but I didn't take pics because I didn't want any photographic evidence on my computer to incriminate me. ;-) Actually, I think they had done a controlled burn near the nature centre shortly before our last visit to help cut down on the possibility of wildfire damage and encourage healthy new growth. At least that's the reason I gave them for the matches in my back pocket and the lingering smell of smoke clinging to me.

Thanks Karen. It is a gorgeous park!

Fal, you have a standing invite. :-) You'd love it, and I'd love to see the pictures you'd take!

Toby - Thanks. :-) You know, I think the critters are more friendly than the people downtown, LOL! Actually, this is just from what I hear. I haven't met any unfriendlies yet, but I guess downtown they can be very East Coasterly - not look at you when you walk past, etc. Weird, huh? Thanks for the snakey info. I was wondering what he was and hadn't gotten 'round to looking him up yet.

Lucky Dog - I see that Gutter Monkey is BACK IN THE GAME!!!

Egan said...

Aw, the good old prescribed burning trick. I've heard that one from other pyros. In all seriousness, that place does look really cool. That sort of field trip at the age of your kids, is precisely what got me hooked on studying trees.

Candace said...

That's cool! :-) Yeah, it's an awesome place. We have a club thinggy that you can do from home kinda like girl/boy scouts. The kids are going to do a trees badge this year. :-)

Holy Cow!! Speakina trees - the whole woods behind the house is suddenly whipping around in a frenzy. Either the Ents have awakened the trees, or we're fixin' to get a BIG STORM!! If I don't come back on after class and sparring tonight it's cuz the house blew away!

Toby said...

Auntie Em!

Remember when investigating the snake, Bull Snakes come in a variety of colors. Your pic though is one of the more common patterns and even though it's a bit dark, the colors too. Also, unless they're a baby, they all get rather large, up to maybe 8 feet.

Toby said...

I almost forgot, some even imitate rattlers. It's amazing because they can shake their tails and it even sounds like a rattler, but they have no rattle.

And of course they are not poisonous, their bark is worse than their bite. They even have tiny teeth.

Candace said...

Cool! Thanks, Toby!! I kinda remember that fake rattle thing from a snakes of MI thing we went to, but I didn't remember which snake did it or what it looked like. It was a neat presentation. The guy brought one of every MI snake except for a Massassauga rattler. They were all in these writhing pillowcases that began falling off the bench they were on during the presentation, and then he passed them all around. My fave was the blue racer.

Toby said...

I remember reading somewhere the Massassauga rattler is extinct in Wisconsin. We have only the Timber. My brother and I were on a Bluff in LaCrosse when we were kids and we heard the rattle of a rattle snake coming from behind us. Scary. We ran. I was not aware the Blue Racer lives in these parts. I've never seen one. Very cool.

Candace said...

Oh, that would be too freaky! I don't ever want to meet a rattler in the wild. My sis met one in SD. Ack.

They have a Massassauga rattler at our big park's nature centre, but she was gone when we went this time because she's being treated for pneumonia. :-(

I'll have to do a post on that snake talk with pics. :-)