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.

Canon 80D – 10-22mm – 10mm – f6.3 – 1/1250

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.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2000

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.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500
Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500

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.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500

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.

Canon 80D – 150-600mm – 600mm – f6.3 – 1/2500