Creek to Pond to Lake

17 September 2015 – Finally some good walking weather on a Tuesday! Phyllis & I celebrate, take ourselves from the northern, Bloor-Street boundary of High Park right on south to Lake Ontario, and then twist west to follow the lake along Humber Bay Shores.

First down a side path to the creek that feeds into Grenadier Pond, behind a mother playing “What can you see?” games with her very responsive toddler.

Overhanging trees branches admire themselves in the bright creek waters.

creek just north of Grenadier Pond

Mallards preen & gossip on a log in Grenadier Pond, near enough to shore that other ducks on the mini-beach can join in.

"sitting ducks" in Grenadier Pond

They may be drowsy in the morning sunshine, other creatures are very busy indeed. Winter is coming! Feed up!

Bees dive-bomb nodding flower heads; sassy little chipmunks climb stalks to pillage seed heads, then finish last morsels at ground level before scampering off again, tiny tails bolt upright as they run.

chipmunk on a Grenadier Pond path

There are great expanses of wetland grasses along much of the Pond banks — always good to see, when we hear so much about loss of wetland. This grass variety is huge, towers over our heads; fortunately some tassels flop low enough for us to admire them close up.

some wetland grass, or other...

Out the south end of Grenadier Pond, though the railway underpass that lies between us and the lake.

railway underpass south of High Park

A couple of expressways are also in the way, both to be navigated at ground level. For one of them, we take advantage of a break in traffic to dart across against the light. For the other, we patiently — and prudently — wait for a green light.

Down at the lake, there’s a whole line-up of gulls on the breakwater. Lots more than the number of mallards on that Grenadier Pond log …

gulls, as far as the eye can see

but nowhere near as cosy. Just look at them, all strung out like that. How can they possibly have a good gossip?

Westward-ho, heading for the Humber River and its glowing pedestrian bridge. From any angle, it is such a beauty.

Humber River pedestrian bridge, from the east side

Humber Bay Shores is a great example of nature slap up against urban development.

Lake-side, parkland that grows more luxuriant & gloriously tangled each year, as the species take hold and thrive. City-side, more & more condos. Also taking hold.

trail westward along Humber Bay Shores

We enter the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat (HBBH).

Suddenly Phyllis points to a bush beside the trail, her eyes widening in surprise. At first, I think she has sighted a particularly large, particularly vivid, turquoise butterfly.

the Turquoise Sneaker butterfly...


It’s a warm day, so hikers/joggers/walkers/dog-walkers are out in force. Adults, you understand, the kids are back in school.

One comfortably middle-aged couple are wading in the lake. Their laughter rings across the pebbly beach; their friend ignores them, busy checking messages on his phone.

some die-hard waders in the lake

Never mind, we admire their spirit.

After walking around Humber Bay Park East (the larger & more interesting of the two lobes into the lake), we double back through the HBBH grounds, into its Home Garden.

As always, I peer up into the metal raven sculptures; as always, each one bears a real bird’s nest in its belly.

bird with bird's nest, Home Garden

There’s a huge birdhouse in the Garden as well — but strictly ornamental. Once it stood alone against the sky. Now it is framed by the black condo tower that has just risen up behind it, part of the latest spate of residential development.

Home Garden birdhouse, with human "nests" to the north

Well, everybody has to live somewhere.

And, with that philosophical observation fresh in mind, we hop a streetcar and head for home ourselves.



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  1. Love the bird nest in the belly of the raven!

  2. Isn’t the weather wonderful! I am so glad you are out to take us on your walk. Lovely photos! I like the mallards the best. Enjoy! We have to squeeze every drop out of every day before winter!

  3. bobgeor

     /  18 September 2015

    Your captures and commentary are always great. The natural against the urban is a duality I enjoy too.

  4. thanks — like you, I find that duality one of the great magic strengths of our urban park system

  5. Hi Penny – I’m very envious of your local chipmunks. Those stripes add a certain pzazz. We have our stripy badgers, but they don’t sit still in the daytime and their stripes are more serious and earthy.

    Was thinking of you when I saw this article today: I think you’ll enjoy Oak Oak’s humour (his website has more:
    Have a lovely day

    • There’s a folk tale about the chipmunk’s stripes: always cheeky, but originally unstriped, until the day one sassed a grouchy bear so long that the bear took a great swipe at him. Chipmunk scampered to safety, but with gouges down his back. “And ever since then, boys & girls, the chipmunk has worn his stripes…”

    • And another reply: I’ve gone to those website links & loved them. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. (Someone did a very similar keyboard motif on a curb here…)

  6. And I love the street cars…always lovely walks…nice to not drive everywhere I love your urban rural connections…happy day to you Penny 😀


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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