A Wet Morning On The Tracks
August 12th, 2017
On July 4th I headed to Huntmar Drive intending to hike the west side of South
March Conservation Forest. But I found the Carp River swollen and flooded from
our heavy rains, with tantalizing water bird calls coming from within:
Pied-Billed Grebe, Northern Waterthrush (it's certainly been The Summer of the
Waterthrush for me), Virginia Rail. It was so flooded that the lot where I
used to park for South March was under at least a foot of water. A Great Egret
flew over heading for the river, followed by a Great Blue Heron. I decided to
hike down the train tracks and bird the flood instead of the forest!
Unfortunately the water birds remained largely unseen. But I still found a few
things worth photographing. The unexpected stars of the day were the snails.
They were pretty up close, at least some of them (their shells ranged from
pale yellow to vivid amber), but a little gross in terms of numbers. I've
never seen so many snails. There were about as many snails on the railbed as
there were pieces of gravel.
I chose this beauty for a closeup:
Looking out over Carp River wetlands and beyond. The field was even more
vividly yellow than it appears here (a Canola crop?) I think Huntmar has some
of the most scenic views in Ottawa.
This bamboo-like plant is called Scouring Rush. It forms dense colonies in
moist areas. The abrasive stems were once used in both the old and new world
for scrubbing cookware.
The only actual "water bird" I managed to photograph! Common Yellowthroats are
abundant in brushy margins of wetlands, but typically remain hidden until
pished or otherwise coaxed into view by a birder.
Flooded woods along Huntmar Drive
The first thing I saw along the tracks was three Wild Turkeys still in their
nighttime roosts. Two immediately flushed into the thicket, leaving just this
one for my camera.
Taking a bath in the flooded roadside.