Thursday, June 19, 2008

Enjoying the Ordinary Life

There are lots of rabbits in our neighbourhood

I could write several more posts on New York City and will likely do a couple more eventually. Back at home we are finding a new normal for a few weeks before our next vacation in July. I took the picture below this week in Toronto at Yonge and Chatsworth. This is the highest gas price I have seen in Southern Ontario this year and it is well over five dollars a US gallon. I have really noticed that people are changing their habits because of high gas prices.

June 16, 2008- Toronto ON- Price per litre

Last week my daughter wanted to visit our locally famous farmers' market before she returned to Mexico. We went around midday on Thursday which is usually a very busy time to arrive. I was shocked at how few people were there compared to normal. There was not one single person in the apple fritter line! The line up for this treat is usually twenty minutes even on a slower day. We have two malls close to our home and on the weekends, the local traffic is very busy as people go out to shop. Lately the weekend traffic has been sparse. People are driving less for pleasure, shopping less for extras and I am in that group as well. We will be driving to Manitoulin Island in July and there will be few unnecessary trips before that.

Song Sparrow

Many evenings after dinner I would drive to enjoy my favourite trails that may be 10 km or so from our house. Now I walk near the river at work at lunch time and walk near home with the dog in the evening. These very familiar areas are changing daily. Last year we had a drought and this year we have had plenty of rain. The rivers and streams are high, the vegetation is thick and green, and the mosquitoes are abundant! The little seed eating and mosquito eating birds are having a great season.

Savannah Sparrow

The meadow are full of sparrows and finches who balance on the stems of grass to pick off seeds. I can identify more little brown birds than I could last year. Song Sparrows are most common and the least afraid of my approach. Savannah Sparrows are also plentiful this year. (They may have been plentiful last year too when all sparrows looked the same to me.)

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are busy with their young. The female above waited patiently as I looked at the tadpoles in a pool near her nest. When I left, she took the insect in the bill to her babies.

Not your typical Mallard family

Near the hospital there are a number of odd Mallards who obviously have had some breeding history with domestic ducks. The black and white males mate with the standard Mallard females. This brood is growing quickly and there are a couple more black and white ducks in the new generation.

I enjoy new trails and finding new birds, but it is still relaxing be out and about enjoying the ordinary life.


  1. There's something to be said for the ordinary life.
    I think that is the real purpose of vacation--go away, enjoy something new or different, or both--then come home to the WONDERFUL ordinary life!

  2. Ruth,

    Your photos and descriptions of nature lure me here time after time. I'm always happy to go on a walk with you and see what you've seen.

    The mallards are beautiful. We have them in the canal and I see that you've already read my post for today. We have kingfisher, mallards, goldfinch, doves, robins and sparrows in that area. Once in a while I spot a pileated woodpecker. Yes, the ordinary life is the life for me.

    I've also noticed that people are changing their habits. The gas prices are making us think more about what is important. I have never seen gas at $1.38, but have seen it at $1.35.

    Take care and have a great day.

  3. Here's to the ordinary life! During migration, we get caught up in the unusual birds we see, but our "ordinary" birds treat us all summer long.

    Wonderful photographs.

  4. Our gas price is a cent higher 139.9. The last I heard they were paying over 140 in Vancouver. My daughter-in-law in Toronto says that she's noticed that people are driving slower, too, to conserve gas.

    Wonderful nature pictures - the little Savannah Sparrow is really sweet.

  5. Such comfort in the rhythm of ordinary life ... helps one keep their equilibrium!

  6. KGMom- Yes, home is sweet, even after a good vacation.

    Mary- Our gas prices are around $1.35 here too. I am glad I can walk!

    NCMW- I will see some different birds when we go up north next month. But for now I pretty well know what to expect when I go birding.

    April- I don't know why the people on the coasts and in Montreal are paying more for gas. I don't think it has finished climbing either.

    CS- I like a sort of routine, although I do like some flexibility too. I need that routine to be productive.

  7. Anonymous7:49 am GMT-4

    Being so green at birding I struggle with all birds, but sparrows are the most difficult. I leave those to the experts. But having you post the pictures and captions I find that it helps.

    Love the rabbit picture. I see many of them on my dog walks (summer and winter). To the dog I refer to them as Foo Foo's and she knows what I mean. She sure would like to catch one of them. Good thing they are too fast and she is on leash.

  8. I have been staying near home for my birdwalks much more than I used to due to gas prices.-I continue to carpool to work as well.-I know that your gas prices are still higher than the us prices but we are catching up.-And that is a race that I don't want to win.

  9. Cheryl- Our dog broke a collar when he was young as he lunged at a rabbit. They are everywhere in our neighbourhood, especially at night. The sparrow IDs are tricky. I am confident on about 5 of them now but there are some that still confuse me.

  10. Larry- I don't think your gas prices will ever catch ours as our taxes are much higher on fuel. But they were high enough in the US when I was there.


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