Tuesday, February 23, 2010

River Ice Port Credit Lets Ducks Walk on Water

A very sunny Sunday in a fairly mild winter in Port Credit, Ontario (see this post for details) meant that the ice on the Credit River was rapidly melting.

And this normal, natural occurrence offered the illusion that ducks were walking on water. [Click on image to enlarge, then click Back to return to this page]

Gulls on Ice Port Credit Ontario
Just south of the landmark Lighthouse, the west side of the Credit River forms a little bay that's a great favourite with the local avian population -- Mallard ducks, swans, gulls and occasionally a bufflehead duck or two.

Gulls, Mallard Ducks Ice Sheet Credit River in Mississauga
 The ice in this little bay had mostly melted, and what remained was a barely visible clear skim of ice, beneath which the river current flowed, causing it to undulate gently.

This thin ice sheet provided an ideal landing platform for a few dozen gulls, and a smattering of mallards.

Mallard Duck Male and Female Walking on the Credit River
As the ducks came in for a landing, or waddled towards open water, their little feet slipping on the ice gave the illusion they were walking on water. This unusual site had most passersby stopping to watch their antics.

Canada Geese Credit River at Saddington Park 
Three Canada geese swam leisurely by, ignoring the mallard antics. Likely the river ice sheet would not support the weight of these larger birds. And, for what it's worth, the ducks seemed to be enjoying themselves!

Canada Geese Credit River Port Credit Ontario
Canada geese and swans know to look for grain along the west bank of the Credit River, just south of the Lighthouse in Port Credit, where the fishing boats moor in Summer. The green  roof top right is Snug Harbour Restaurant; the highrise is the Waterside Inn.

Each year at this time, someone spreads grains near the river bank in the same spot, and the hungry migrants remember it and tell their friends.

I took a short video of the ducks walking on water (Ice) and sliding in for a landing:

A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario lNational Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Waterfowl (National Audubon Society Pocket Guides)   Waterfowl: An Identification Guide to the Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens Waterfront Trail Saddington Park ~ Great Walks in Port Credit

Bright sunshine, warm weather, no wind and a Sunday afternoon: If you could resist taking a walk along the Waterfront Trail in Mississauga yesterday, you're a better man than I am! 

Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens - Lake Ontario
And so it was that I headed to Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens on the Lakeshore and sauntered (yes, sauntered!) along the Waterfront Trail through the gardens and Ben Machree Park, along the lakeshore past the PetroCanada lands to Saddington Park and along to the lighthouse in Port Credit. It was a great walk, one that took me 3 hours to go a few kilometers.
Lake Ontario Ben Machree Park Mississauga 
I wasn't the only one who thought the day perfect for a walk, though. I met dozens of people walking their dog, or pushing babies in strollers (even one little girl pushing her doll in a doll stroller), daddies braced with a Starbucks coffee watching toddlers dig in the sand and throw rocks in the lake, several photographers, a slew of bird feeding types and a rollerblader bobbing and weaving around us all.
Lake Ontario Ben Machree Park - Port Credit / Mississauga
With little snow in this part of Mississauga this year, and the water level in Lake Ontario seeming especially low, I was able clamber over the breakwater in several places to beachcomb parts of the shoreline that are usually the domain of large waves. Like in the photo above: This part of the beach is usually underwater, and the back yard of several private homes.
Breakwater, Waterfront Trail at PetroCanada Lands Port Credit
 Even the Toronto skyline seemed especially clear: So close, yet thankfully, far, far away. I love the view of Toronto, especially from the waterfont in Port Credit. It makes a lovely backdrop and you miss all the traffic and noise. The ship in the picture sits offshore at the Port Credit Marina.

West Bank Credit River at Port Credit Ontario
The Waterfront Trail leaves the shores of Lake Ontario at the Credit River, and winds north along Front Street to Lakeshore Road. There's a pedestrian bridge over the Credit River; follow the path to Snug Harbour Restaurant, and walk towards the lake to get a closer look at the ship.

See also Ducks Walking on Water post from this walk.

I made my first attempt at a google walking map of this route:

View BRG Waterfront Trail Walking Tour in a larger map

Today the weather changed dramatically: Our first snowfall of the year! Gone the lovely sunny Sunday, and the strollers and roller bladers. Today, the weather outside looks almost exactly like it did in this video I took at Breuckner Rhododendron Gardens over a year ago. Brr-r-r-r! Glad I took yesterday afternoon off to saunter along the Lakeshore Waterfront Trail.

Walking Trails Ontario, hiking in Ontario,
Waterfront Trail & Greenway Mapbook (Compact Edition)