23 May 2010

A thing like a day

I have long harboured an ambition to go see the bit of lake shore path by the Rouge Hill GO Station.  ("GO" = "Government of Ontario"; it's a regional transit system, in this case commuter trains.)  Today I finally did so, in company with a friend, and could wish I'd done so earlier.

The initial start was not entirely auspicious, though I know now I can change an bicycle inner tube expeditiously (thank you, Park Tools how-to site) and that I really need a new floor pump; that's the second time I've had a valve stem come off the tube when trying to detach the pump connection.  (Various persons may wish to point out that I needn't get all panicked at the hissing and pull so darn hard.  While they have a point, the idea is to pull in a graduated way only hard enough to get the pump connection to come off the value, after properly flipping the lever and doing the right sort of wiggling, and as far as I can tell—it was challenging to get the severed tube stem out of the pump connection—something inside the connector seems to be sticking, and I suspect it's just one of those worn-ABS problems.)

I did make it Rouge Hill, and the weather was exactly as predicted, which meant it was warm and sunny but the still-cold lake was misting vigorously and blowing a cool breeze on shore.  Fog is not good for either bicycling or looking at birds, but, well.  The first thing I saw from the (outdoor) train platform was a flock of seven swans, flying east in the mist.  One does not get that every day.

The total (to the train station at this end, home from a different one after, a very pleasant shore-and-mostly-park loop returning to the Rouge Hill Station) cycled distance was perhaps 30 km.

Especially nice birds were a faded second winter Great Black Backed Gull (I am very pleased with myself about getting the age right, at least per subsequent consultation of references, and I'd like to thank the adult male Herring Gull standing right next to it and providing a size comparison); belted kingfisher—spotting a flying kingfisher starting from the shadow on the water is especially nice—and repeated tribes of Baltimore orioles, apparently still passing through.  I could wish I'd got a better look at the presumed small gnatcatcher and the bird that looked like an immature tree swallow with a black cap, hawking from a bush, but there's a limit to what one can do from a bicycle.  (And a limit to how much random stopping even patient friends are likely to tolerate.)

All in all, a most entire success; a nice bike ride, I need to go back there with a scope (and a chair!) to spend more time looking at the gulls, and possibly bother the TOC outings committee about the possibility of a formal walk through the lower Highland Creek Park, which has an interesting combination of mature trees, water, and well-positioned path.

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