Return to Collingwood

Dear Readers, it has been over two years since I’ve been on a plane, and three years since I saw some of my very favourite people in Canada, but here I am, staring out across Lake Huron with the usual chilly wind whistling around my ears, and the sound of red-winged blackbirds bubbling up from every tree. For me, their call is the epitome of spring-time Ontario. and it makes my heart glad that I’m here to hear it, at last.


The water in the bay is very low this year, as a result of flood controls on the main lake apparently. It’s certainly much less boggy than it used to be, and the receding waters have displayed all  sorts of long-buried items.

But the mute swans are still here (though no trumpeter swans so far), and the red-winged blackbirds like this spot too.

Every year I keep my fingers crossed that I’ll see a turtle, but for every visit I’m here at the wrong time – this year the spring has been very late, and we are even promised snow later this week. Still, there’s always the giant turtle  statue to admire.

There are signs of spring, though. Some of the houses in Collingwood are elegant Victorian mansions, and some of the gardens are carpeted with naturalised squill, which are the most intense blue.

In some places there are violets too, and coltsfoot is coming out in the sunny places. Back home, the grackles are on the bird feeder as usual, and very fine they are too. They always seem to be considering their next move.

On one of the trails very close to the middle of town, there’s this sign.

How exciting! But no coyotes today, and in truth in all of my visits I have never seen so much as a hair – probably the animals come into town when the weather is bad and they have no prey in the wilder areas. Few animals are as maligned as the coyote, and yet they are normally shy and retiring animals, heard much more often than seen. Like so many creatures, they are forced into contact with humans as our range extends, and I’m sure they’d much rather keep to themselves. Still, the advice in the sign is good, and I shall practice making myself loud and aggressive just in case, though actually I suspect that I’d be much too excited to do anything other than stand slack-jawed with amazement.

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