A Walk in the East Don River Valley

The other afternoon I went for a walk down in the valley.

I came across some tracks that reminded me of raccoon prints, but they looked too small, but too large for rodents.

It was a nice day - spring had finally arrived. A Mallard paddled about slowly looking for a bite to eat.

Its companion, a Bufflehead (I think), paddled about too. I've never seen two different sorts of ducks pairing up. But we're in multi-ethnic world now.

A loud shriek drew my attention to a tree at the bend of the river - a Kingfisher was calling out, and looking for its next meal of a fish.

You can see the green beginning to appear on the riverbanks.

Not all the trees are verdant - that will take another few weeks until the leaves have replaced the buds.

It was a great day for a hike. I stood on stones in the middle of the river to get this shot.

On a sandy and stony bank, a story that had already happened unfolded in the spoor of a deer. Several firm steps led up to the river's edge, where the deer had apparently tapped about for footing, and stooped down for a drink of water. These prints were still actively filling with moisture, so I assume I had missed it by minutes at most.

Deer live all over these valleys in Toronto.

About 60 years ago, this area was an orchard, and a farm. There is an upturned vehicle in the creek here, but because of the woods about, there is no way a car could have recently entered the waters. I'm guessing it is at least half a century old.

A peculiar shape in the underbrush drew my eye. I thought at first it was a tire.

But as I crept closer through the scratchy brush, I saw it was an iron cover, laid on a brick tunnel, with galvanised rebar ladder bars leading down. I was excited, thinking this might lead into an old room of some sort. Clearly unused, as there are no trails leading to it.

But alas, it was only some sort of access port to a sewage main.

At a bend in the river, a fallen tree had started off the creation of a sieve. Muck, and garbage, and branches all collected there. I stepped across the fallen tree, so I could get across the river.

And landed on this beach. There's the tree from the other side.

Later on I sat on the beach higher up the river and took a few potshots with my slingshot at the mud-covered valley walls. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a red hued Fisher (a kind of weasel) hopped along the river bank and stopped to look at me.

Then it ran on, up and now, snaking in and out of the grasses. It took off higher up the river, and vanished for a time.

It was swift, and it was all that I could do to keep my camera trained on it as it ran.

The river made a wonderful sound rushing by, on its way to merge with the West Don river, and then out into Lake Ontario.

Apple blossoms were beginning to appear from the old, gnarled apple trees that once comprised this old orchard. Most of the trees have since died off.

These are lovely woods. Mostly untouched.

A great place for a walk, and a great place to bring a dog along.

A swift movement in the trees drew my eye to a woodpecker. He was feasting on grubs and insects that decided to make a decaying tree their home.

Woodpeckers don't ever seem to relax. They tap and tap, and eat and eat and scurry up and down trees.

Maybe they go somewhere else to relax. I mean, I wolf my own food down often, and were someone to generalize my overall behaviour on the basis of lunchtime, I'd be well misunderstood.

These river walls have been a long time in the making. Muddy, clay walls.

Not sure what this little flower is. Anyone?

Those tracks again, beside those of a dog. I suspect these are Fisher tracks.

As I stood and listened to some rapids, I noticed more movement across the river.

The Fisher was back. And it appeared to be fishing.

It gazed intently into the waters.

It leaped in, submerged, and seconds later pulled a long, silvery fish onto the bank. It ate it while I watched.

When it was done, it swam across the river for some well deserved rest. I headed home, having been gone for an hour. It was rather nice.



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