My friend Dave Kemp, from the lower mainland in British Columbia, sent me these photos early this week, by way of declaring that spring has already arrived on the west coast. Dave has beautifully captured a Great Blue Heron, a Gilded Flicker, a Goldfinch and a pussy willow.
I spotted Sho Papazian, owner and founder of 'My Obedient Dog', with her three Rottweilers in the parking lot at the four corners in King City on Saturday and I just had to get a photo of these amazingly well-behaved dogs. They were unleashed and walked purposefully under control across the busy Keele St. / King Road intersection with Sho. Sho is seen often around and about King City with dogs she trains and sometimes she is riding her bicycle with the tethered trainees. This woman's dog sense seems both highly intuitive and knowledgeable.
Our first Starling of the year arrived on March 5th, followed by a Grackle on the 14th. That leaves the Red-winged Blackbird to complete the blackbird trio. Based on the warmer weather forecasts, I'm predicting one day next week for the 'Red-wing's' arrival.
The photo above appears on Page 123, of the late King Township historian, Elizabeth McClure Gillham's book, 'Early Settlements of King Township Ontario' The engine is part of the Aurora and Schomberg Railway, which operated from 1902 to 1927. The railway was a spur of the Yonge Street Radial line and operated between Schomberg and Oak Ridges. For a quarter of the century, the train marked a period of prosperity and change. Mrs Gillham states in her book that "the arrival of the 'Annie Rooney' was named for the comic strip of the same name, in which a trolley car was used which encountered some difficulties similar to those on the Aurora-Schomberg line - such as cattle on the track, and similar hazards". Transportation, business and livelihoods where transformed for more than two decades. In 1927 however, the railway ceased to operate because it too had outlived its usefulness. Cars and trucks were more convenient and cost-effective. A hundred year later, the old railway bed can be spotted in a number of places across the township.
Isaw my first Great Blue Heron of the season flying over my home in King City yesterday. Some ponds and streams have lost their ice cover, but the heron will be hard-pressed I think to find many fish in the middle of March. It was heading south however, so perhaps it was returning to open water which it had visited on its way north. It was nevertheless a most welcome sight.