After a full week of being away from the forest, we finally got a chance this past Sunday to drive out to a local Environmentally Sensitive Policy Area (ESPA). The Forested Hills ESPA covers more than 130 hectares, with rolling hardwood hills to the north and trails that seem to have no order to them.
To the south is the Waterloo GeoTime Trail; the trail is an interpretive walk through the City of Waterloo’s geological past.
We spent our time in the north end, wandering aimlessly and just enjoying the first day back into the forest. Signs of spring were starting to show up, including a single robin.
The highlight of the walk was a family of deer, likely a doe with two of last years’ fawns. It made me very glad to have a good telephoto lens, or else I never would have gotten these shots.
The ESPA is mostly public land, but there are private land parcels as well, including a sizeable one that has high wire fences and signs warning of trespasser prosecution. The fence has been forcibly removed in some areas, so hopefully the deer aren’t confined to the area.
One sign warns that a future development will take place on the property. In a time when there are already so few urban forests, I hope this will never happen for this tract of old growth.
This is the first of a new series focusing on the wildlife I see in my own backyard. I’ll be documenting any new species that visit throughout the year. To kick it off, a pair of cardinals have been frequent visitors during the past few mornings.
The female cardinal blended in well with the fallen pine needles and the fence. She hung around cleaning her beak on the wood, and happened to turn my way as the camera shutter clicked.
Upon hearing the call of the male cardinal in the bushes, she quickly turned around and flew off.
The male came by the next day, following a decent dumping of snow. He spent quite a bit of time on the bird feeder, and didn’t seem to mind the sound of the camera.
The newly fallen snow and vibrant green of the pine tree provided great contrast for his bright red plumage.