Serenity and bliss.
Always, for me, at Presqu’ile.
Today was a beautiful day to enjoy the pleasures of Presqu’ile and I practically had the park to myself. The temperature climbed to a balmy 13℃, the sun made a valiant effort to shine, a lot of birds/waterfowl were back singing their hearts out (especially the gulls)….
….I saw my first Robin today in the huge pine tree at the corner of Atkins and Paxton. In the fields and other open areas the snow has completely melted and at the the shoreline, the ice is rapidly receding and breaking into small and medium-sized floes….
….I’m emboldened to proclaim that spring has already arrived!
For some folk, spring and the month of March means one thing: March Madness. During this time the NCAA delivers prime-time excitement daily and every year more and more Canadians jump on the college basketball bandwagon. Basketball’s popularity in Canada has never been so great, helped along in no small measure by the recent All-Star weekend in Toronto. Thousands will be enjoying their annual March Madness fix in the coming weeks.
At Presqu’ile, though, we’re preparing for a very different, all-natural and organic kind of excitement: Marsh Madness. Migrating birds stop in for a visit, ducklings and goslings are born and appear suddenly to the delight of everyone who catches a glimpse of them. These pleasures are followed by the turtles who venture roadside to bury their eggs, and the frogs. The frogs! The major Marsh Madness definitely happens in the Pannes.
Almost the exact day the thaw and melt in the pannes is complete, raucous frog song begins. I love it. Every year. Can’t get enough of it. It makes me grin from ear to ear. It is that special. I will concede, however, that depending upon one’s viewpoint, the frog song pleasures or piques: Every year campers have been heard complaining that frog song kept them awake nights. Heathens!
First to be heard (mid-March/early April), and my personal favourites, are the Chorus Frogs who commence their mating rituals in the pannes that line Bayshore Drive (the road all visitors use to enter and exit the park). Their voices call out a warm welcome as you arrive and bid a fond farewell as you leave – at least that’s my interpretation. Other species that contribute to the frog choir are Spring Peepers, Leopard Frogs and Wood Frogs – none of which (again, my opinion) hold a candle to the Chorus Frogs. Thaw away, Presqu’ile Pannes, thaw away!
The mild temperature and lack of wind made for a perfect day for meandering through the park and I did just that. I am always amazed by the vast number of species (ducks and birds) that visit Presqu’ile this time of year. My favourite place in the park is the lagoon at Calf Pasture Point, the site of the old hotel. Yesterday there were geese, swans and ducks galore just beyond the lagoon where the edge of the ice meets the open water. It’s quite an amazing sight.
On my way out of the park I stopped at the marsh lookout and there found two adult swans foraging for food. They were gorgeous and quite unfazed by the clicking and whirring of my camera. I almost didn’t stop, but am I ever glad I did – such close encounters don’t happen all that often! I also stopped at the office and bought my 2016 park pass, so I’m all-set for another “Summer At The Shores”.
When I left the park I felt as if I’d had an afternoon’s escape; quite, I imagine, how spa clients feel leaving the spa after a day’s treatments. Mind you, I’d never trade the one for the other. Ever!
Serenity and bliss.
Always, for me, at Presqu’ile!
[First published 8th March 2016]