This has been a truly hideous week for me and although today was another hospital day, I was determined to spend at least some of it by the water enjoying my precious peninsula before checking in. If Cam gets word of this trip I’ll definitely come-a-cropper; he cannot fathom how the park is on my way to PRHC and absolutely does not approve. Connecting the dots (Cobourg to Brighton to Peterborough), Cam sees a triangle, I see a direct route…
Unfortunately, just like my last visit, it is an H-cubed weather day. The haziness is showing up in most of my photos including the lighthouse shot, below. Sign of autumn’s approach: Migratory water fowl are congregating preparatory to their flight to México (see the Green Herons at the tip of the spit?). Seems like only yesterday we were welcoming them all back again.
Part I: Glee Club
There are way too many sights and sounds at Presqu’ile for me to document them all but some are so much more astonishing and prominent that I cannot help but comment. Today was exactly such a day:
Goose Glee Club was very obviously holding auditions and rehearsals for their migratory formation flight!
No matter where in the park I found myself I could hear their enthusiastic honking. Overhead the mad flapping of their wings could be heard, their numbers blocking the sun/casting huge shadows as they flew past and, as evidence of their strenuous workout, there was an almost constantly falling shower of feathers all of which left none of us human visitors in any doubt that the geese mean business and that they’ve no time to spare in their practice schedule. True it’s early days yet, but I’m not sure who was most frustrated, their choir master or their choreographer.
Part II: Girl Friend
As usual, I ended up by the lagoon at the site of the old hotel, a spot I usually have to myself. Today though, there was a couple already enjoying their picnic. I parked L’Oeuf, got out my camera and coffee and began scoping out possible photos. The haze was discouraging, but I shot a few passable images of the lagoon itself. I laid down my camera, sat at the other picnic table and was sipping my coffee when the lady came over and offered to share her picnic. We immediately struck up a happy conversation as she portioned out some home-made fruit salad for us. She was, she explained, thrilled to be feasting on fresh Papaya, Mango and Pineapple, all of which are ‘scarce as hen’s teeth’ (her words not mine) in her home town of New Liskeard. It was delicious, juicy/sweet, drizzled with ‘her special mixture’ of honey and lemon juice and an oh-so-special treat for me, it being completely unexpected. She was delightfully friendly, and before long we were gabbing like we’d known each other forever, not mere minutes. Eventually her husband joined us and we spent a happy time discussing the pleasures of the park and the surrounding counties. Sadly, in order to make it to dialysis on time, I had to excuse myself but I left knowing I’d made a friend for life with this lovely lady from Ontario’s northland.
Part III: Garden Spider
Do you remember my park buddy Evan? Today was “spider day” at the park and Master Evan was the facilitator. I stopped for a quick look at the ‘exhibits’ (urgh) and was just in time for the presentation of the final species, the Argiope aurantia or Black and Yellow Garden Spider. How can a name sound so exotic in Latin and so humble and ordinary in English? Argiope is Latin for “with bright face”; aurantia is Latin for “overlaid with gold”. Here is what I learned:
1. Female bodies range from 14 to 28 mm in length (today’s sample measured the full 28).
2. Habitat: Typically common in gardens, orchards, forest edges, old fields, and farms.
3. Food: Prey is insects that jump or fly and are intercepted by the web. These spiders can tackle large prey such as grasshoppers and have even been known to capture small lizards.
4. Lifecycle: An annual species, males die not too long after mating and females usually die off towards the end of the fall, or early winter. Studies have actually shown that the males’ death is triggered upon their second insertion into the female during mating. (Yikesabee! In front of wee kiddies. As you’d expect, all the dads made disgusting ‘sloppy seconds’ jokes and all the mums looked furious and embarrassed. My Evan, of course, was loving every minute of it.
Ladies and gents, presenting, Argiope aurantia:
It was a lovely interlude, and I left Presqu’ile feeling happy and at peace with the world which is, of course, why I love my peninsula so very much.