It was a nice mild and sunny day yesterday - the sort of day that makes you feel glad to be alive. So I put on my hiking boots and headed to Kilally Meadows. We've had a ton of rain in the past few days so I knew that could affect my hike.
Fortunately only the land closest to the river was under water. I only had to retrace my steps to higher dry ground once. There were a lot of trees and tree limbs down as on the previous Thursday it was VERY windy.
Okay...here we go...
as I park near the baseball diamonds I always check on the osprey nest way out in centre field first.
They're here, they're here!!
Last year I didn't see the osprey couple back on their nest until April 27! I am going to take this as a sign of nothing but good weather to come...Welcome Back! They have flown a long way - from southern U.S., Mexico or Central America. As I watched the Mister flew off towards the river looking for some fresh fish!
I looked for signs of life as I walked and I wasn't disappointed.
Right across the path from this giant hole was another hole - I guess hibernation season is over and everyone is out enjoying the sunshine! Yippee!!
There is nothing so luscious as buds getting ready to blossom...
One of many trees that have fallen across the path since I was here just a few days ago. I couldn't get under it or over it so had to go around it.
Some fresh deer tracks...I am sooooo looking forward to seeing the many white-tailed deer that thrive in this environmentally remarkable area...
The flooding was more extensive than I thought! The Thames usually flows quietly but not today - it was loud and full of energy.
The path here isn't usually so close to the river!
Uh oh - I've got to get to higher ground - the trail is submerged.
This is usually a nice dry meadow - today it's a good-sized pond.
See my path? It continues on the other side of this new tributary! I'll have to turn back and find another way to get to the trail. We call this "bushwhacking!"
I have completed one loop so will check on the osprey from another angle. There's mama!
Now we're moving into another part of the forest.
Just as I realized I was in prime "deer country" I looked up from the path and encountered...
DEER! There were two females to begin with. They knew I was there, though I was in behind some branches...
Gradually they wandered from an open area into the midst of some trees. I followed behind, slowly and quietly.
After a few minutes I could hear them running and just a few feet in front of me 2 groups of 3 deer and 1 group of 2 leaped and ran out of the trees. They continued to leap 6' into the air as they ran to another wooded area. I didn't have a chance to record a video but my heart soared with them as they ran so gracefully. No babies out in the open yet.
The bridge needs a bridge to get to it!
I could hear a woodpecker close by and managed to get a couple of photos...
...of a beautiful red-bellied woodpecker.
As I headed back to the parking lot I took one last photo of Mrs. Osprey. It'll be a long time until I see the babies. They incubate for 36-42 days and the nestling period lasts from 50 - 55 days. There are 1 to 4 eggs in a clutch and they have just the one brood. They hatch over a number of days giving the first born the advantage when it comes to feeding. Taking the mid-range of those figures plus the fact that they arrived in the past few days (I checked the nest less than a week ago) so I'll put their arrival date as April 5th...that would make the nestlings "mature" around July 4th - Independence Day!!! How apt!
I hope the sub is shining on you today, wherever you are!! And here's to another 1200 posts!