Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wind, Waves Create New Shoreline Lake Ontario in Port Credit

At Brueckner Rhododendron Garden this afternoon (Mississauga, Ontario), I walked up the trail past the sleeping rhodos, azaleas and forsythia to the footbridge over the small creek that runs through the garden to empty into Lake Ontario.

As I stood on the bridge, I could see at once that the creek now took a dog leg to the right. Hmmm. This is new. This small creek formerly trickled straight south across the stones and emptied itself into Cranberry Cove without a lot of fuss. It's usually narrow enough to step over, if you're careful. Today, with all the rain over the past two days, I stayed on the path.

The first picture (above) shows the creek turning to the right, as seen from the footbridge. The stones along the lake front are a good size, and were piled high enough to divert the creek from its usual route. (See update at bottom.)

I walked down to the beach to where the creek runs parallel to the lakefront. Until just a few days ago, the creek entered Lake Ontario (Cranberry Cove) where you can see the tree branch (Log? Driftwood?) in the photo.

I've looked through all my archived photos of this part of Rhododendron Garden to see if I had any pictures of this area before the storm driven beach front rearrangement, and this is the best one I have. The creek is unremarkable, a thin stream entering the lake just below the tree branch on the beach. I took this picture last summer.

This entire area (south Ontario) has been pummeled by strong winds and copious amounts of rain the past few weeks; when the wind blows from the south east, as it has been doing, it forces waves directly onto the lake shore here. I took a video of the storm tossed waves on this beach a few weeks ago, and another video last week on the lake in Port Credit, about 2 km east of here.

Either one of those storms could have caused the creek diversion. Last night and today, the winds were gusting to 70+ kph (44 mph), but mostly from the north (offshore), so the lake was fairly calm, though out in the distance, I could see whitecaps.

And though it's early days until this garden is in the full flush of spring, it was nice to see these crocuses pushing through the winter leaf mulch. And along the bank above the beach, the day lilies are spiking up and promising a good summer's blooming. Can the trilliums and violets be far behind?

UPDATE April 12, 2009
Heavy rains and north winds flooded the creek a few days later. Have a look at the photo below and see how the force of the creek in flood changed the creek outlet back to the usual course.

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it. And as for the trilliums and violets, I think they will need another week or two of warmer weather. The trilliums are just shoots as of Easter weekend, and the violets are nowhere to be seen.