Jackson Park

Hiya! Hi . . .   Whatcha lookin’ at? Well, come down here and I’ll show you.  Hang on; let me move out of the way.  Watch your foot there.  Okay, you can perch on that rock.  How’s that?  Good.  Soooo? Soooo what?  So, what were you looking at? Well, take a look down at the edge of the ice there.  Uh huh.  That’s it? Don’t you see the way the water has punctuated the ice along the edge?  Punctuated?  Like a period? No, actually more of a comma.  Watch the ice sculpture, along the edge.  There’s such an incredible amount of detail.  Makes you wonder what hand created such art.  Huh? See, right now the ice is mostly above the water, but the current moves in waves.  Every once in a while the top of the water will lick up at the ice as it goes by.  The patterns change constantly.  Sometimes the edge breaks off and strikes a whole different design.  So that’s what you were looking at? Partly, yes.  See those two sticks coming out of the ice?  Yeah. Well, the ice traps them but the water is struggling to break them free.  It’s kind of like being born, I guess you could say – a chick tapping its way out of the egg.  Uh huh. Hey, come on over here for a moment.  Uh, where are you taking me? Just over here.  Look!  At the birds? Yes.  They’re pretty, aren’t they?  Well, they’re brown . . . Do you see the crown at the back of their heads?  Like a Blue Jay?  Yup.  So, they’re . . . brown jays? No, they’re called Cedar Waxwings.  Cedar waxwings?  Their wings aren’t made of wax, are they? No.  Do you see the red spot about halfway down the wing?  It reminded someone of the sealing wax they used to use to seal important letters.  They live on fruits, mostly, but they’ll eat some seeds, insects, and even some flowers.  And they’re not just brown; there’s the red, yellow, white, black, all kinds of colours.  Yeah, I can see them now. Do you hear the chirruping sounds they make to each other?  Very soft.  Come on, no stop! What? Look down by your foot.  No, the other one.  What do you see?  There’s a, well, a track of some sort.  Very good.  Any idea what it’s from?  Crouch down and look.  He’s got long fingers and long toes, I’ll say that much.  Is it a raccoon? Very good again.  A she, not a he.  How do you know that? Well . . .  Because she walks like a girl? Close enough.  I’ll let you figure out the rest by yourself.  When do you think she came by?  Oh, I don’t know . . . When was the last time it rained here?  Yesterday. Does the track look like it’s been rained on?  Well, no . . .  she must have come by last night!  I wonder where she lives. Unless she has little ones, she doesn’t live anywhere in particular, just here in the park.  What’s that sound? Oh that?  That’s a Crow calling.  A crow?  I thought crows went ‘Caw, Caw’. Well they do, but they make other calls as well.  Different calls mean different things.  Hear that?  Yeah, what’s that? That’s a Song Sparrow.  See him?  Over there on that branch.  Yeah, I see.  How do you know it’s a him? Well, only males make territorial calls like that.  What he’s saying is, AThis is my area, and I got here first!  All other male Song Sparrows keep out!@  There’s another bird over there that doesn’t seem to be paying much attention. Him?  That’s a Chipping Sparrow.  The Song Sparrow won’t worry about him.  He’s getting a little self-conscious now, being out in the open like that.  Never know when a hawk might be flying about.  What does he look like to you?  Well, he’s small, smaller than those other, those waxwings.  He’s brown, with a bit of white above his eyes and he’s got stripes on his chest.  Pretty good huh? Well done!  Now look harder at his chest, right in the middle.  Hey!  There’s a spot there, a dark one! Oh, there he goes.  I guess he’s had enough inspection for one day.

Well, I have to go now, but you’re a lot of fun! Thanks, you’re a lot of fun too.  Maybe we’ll do this again sometime. I’d like that.  Bye!


Mike Pedde 31/03/2002