I met Robert Sundell today for the first time as I was walking my dogs along my favorite stretch of the canal. Of course, Barkley rushed to welcome him, tail wagging and acting like the small child he sometimes can be.
We chatted for a while about the great state of this new trail, and I was delighted that he’d noticed all the flowers we planted last year. (It’s going to be a lot more spectacular this spring. Watch this space!
Robert told me he was an amateur photographer and he had thousands of photos of the Oxbow. I was quick to ask him to share them, and he sent me four to start. I think they are spectacular, and hopefully, we’ll see lots more.
Spotted yesterday by the stream. It seems this fellow has its favorite perch in this area. I was able to get up fairly close and he displayed his orange tail as he landed.
A few minutes later he swooped down and caught a vole. I was directly under him and he couldn’t have cared less about me. I think he likes The Oxbow now all the ragweed has gone, he can see his prey easier.
It doesn’t look like we are getting a new bridge any time soon, so I’ve tried to make our work around a little more practical. The two railroad ties were uneven and wobbly, so that has been fixed and the hand rail extended a few feet.
It’s all a little rustic, but it’s all mostly scrap materials so not hurts anyone’s wallet.
I’d like to add some more rails coming down from the playing fields as those slopes are rather slippery in wet or icy conditions.
Today, I had a visitor! An older lady knocked on my door and asked if she could look out the back of my house, over the canal. Her name was Pauline Schlesing, (nee Rinebold) and she was brought up in a little house on The Bow.
I took her out the back and she gazed over the area between my house (#28) and the VanStrydonk’s (#30) where her tiny cottage once stood.
Apparently, the house burned down and her father, Richard Rinehold, was killed in the fire on Aug 27 1977. He purchased the house in 1948.
I showed her the photos of the houses and she knew most of the owners by name.
Pauline told me several stories regarding lots of kids coming to play at her house, because The Oxbow was so much fun. Swimming and fishing was a big deal in the summer, and ice skating went on, as it does now, in the winter.
Behind our house, was a bean field and the kids were allowed to pick beans (yellow) for a penny a punnet. Pauline liked the fact we had cleaned up the Bow.
The Old pub and bar also had a small store, and the kids would go there to get their candy. Of course, the new owners will be delighted in this news.
I’m hoping she will return shortly, because she has a number of photos to share with me. Its days like this that make it such a pleasure to live here.
I thought this bird was a cormorant. Its a regular these days around The Oxbow, and its evaded any close up photos so far.
The best I’ve done are these, on my zoomed Iphone.
Then I spotted a photo on the BBC’s web page and realised I was probably wrong. The color of the plumage on the throat gave it away.
The tricoloured heron (Egretta tricolor), also known as the Louisiana heron, is a colorful medium-sized heron of the Americas with a liking for coastal swamps and marshes. In flight and at rest they hold their neck at a curve similar in shape to an ‘S’.
If it is a Tri Colored Heron, then perhaps its a little off course, as the Wikipedia web page doesn’t show its habitat being this far north.
I’ve been informed that herons spear their fish, but cormorants dive for theirs, and the two photographed above were diving and catching fish. A search in my Audubon bird book stated they are immature GREAT CORMORANTS, Phalacrocorax carbo, which accounts for their brown color, which will change to black in maturity. They winter here from NewFoundland and can be as far south as New Jersey.
On my morning walk today, as I passed the long wooden shed at the Erie Crescent end of Oxbow Road, I noticed a branch had fallen from a cottonwood tree. It was about a foot in diameter at the break, so was very heavy overall.
It was pretty windy yesterday, so I wasn’t too surprised to see a fallen Cottonwood branch. However, as I passed this tree I was astonished to see the next Cottonwood had been completely felled. It was this that broke off the branch from the other tree.
Those of you that frequent this trail will remember this tree hosted a Wisteria vine. It was spectacular when in flower. It also hosted numerous Bittersweet vines, some with six inch diameter trunks. These were holding up several very large branches that had broken off in previous storms. They were just hanging, waiting to fall on passers by. Thankfully, that never happened.
Last year the ECNA cut these vines to help reduce the overladen canopy of their growth and excess weight. But the inside of this tree was so badly rotted, it was too late to save it.
Cottonwoods of this size are at their end of life cycle and are extremely dangerous. This one didn’t fall across the trail, but the next one could, so be warned, not to venture under these weak trees in windy weather.
If you’d like to help us with a small donation (say just $5-10) please go to our GOFUNDME web page – here – We use this money to mainly pay for the mowing about 3 times a year.