Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned night heron

Black-crowned night heron at the Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, July 2013

A week ago Sunday we went to the Brick Works which has been flooded twice this year from torrential rains.   A little over a week after the last flood and a clean-up effort, the site had recovered quite a bit. On the way over, the wildflowers by the railroad were dense leaving only the tiniest of paths to stumble through.

Black-crowned night heron

Black-crowned night heron at the Brick Works in July 2013, Toronto

Shortly after arriving at the Brick Works, we saw this black-crowned night heron in one of the ponds. He or she stood hunched and still for long periods, except when catching a meal.  It is heartening to see wildlife in Toronto in this place where nature is being restored so close to a major highway.

At the Brick Works

Brick Works in Toronto, Canada

The Brick Works in Toronto, Canada, early fall 2010.

In Toronto, Canada, there’s a green space we love to visit on the site of an old brick works quarry and factory.  This place has developed, through a national charity called Evergreen and the work of people in the community, into a life giving area that attracts many visitors.  There’s a farmer’s market every Saturday, a restaurant, gift shops, a garden centre, places for workshops and, most importantly, trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, ponds and wildlife.

Yesterday, we went for an afternoon ramble on a holiday Monday in Ontario.  We walked down the hill and onto a path by a seldom used railroad track alongside Queen Anne’s Lace, hearty yellow wildflowers whose name I forget and the husks of thistles.  At the Brick Works, we walked around the ponds, seeing a small turtle, reeds and many water lily pads with white flowers, then up onto a shady path along the edge of a wooded ravine.  Here we looked down on the ponds we’d just passed and stopped to see a goldfinch and hummingbird on nearby trees and a chipmunk on fallen logs.  Other walkers passed us.  We came to a willow tree overhanging the path and stood under its tresses in a protected cave-like enclosure.  This was a restorative humanature afternoon.

The photos I’ve posted here are from a previous year in the early autumn.  Often I take my camera and binoculars along, but I wanted to be free to be in the setting without these filters.  I do love photographing nature, but have to be careful that the process doesn’t take me away from the actual experience of being there.  I’ve taken to stopping and being still after I take a photograph and this helps me be present.

Brick Works in Toronto, Canada

Brick Works Pond, Early Fall 2010