Today was a great day to be walking near the Grand. The river is in the frazzle ice stage of freezing and the sounds from this process mixed with waterfowl calls is amazing to hear. I walked about 1 km down the Walter Bean Grand River Trail near Old Zeller Dr in Kitchener. I noticed a really interesting ice formation that made me think of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal recently added to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. I was also very happy to see a duck I had not seen during this project fishing next to it. The northern pintail and the distinct tail it displays when diving were a welcome sight to behold. I stayed still and took several pictures before it floated off with the current looking for a new spot.
Walking through the snow squalls near the river in Kitchener, I came across this chickadee making a meal of a bagel someone hung in a tree. The chickadee flew away at my approach, but quickly darted back to the bagel and only occasionally had a look at what I was doing.
I took a hike down the Grand River Trail near Homer Watson Park. The conditions changed pretty fast. I started out on a crisp afternoon day and within 45 minutes the wind had picked up bringing with it a steady snowfall. I came to an area of the river where a small island briefly divides the Grand in to two channels. I got down low and took a picture of a fallen tree, probably claimed by the riverbank erosion that was pretty dramatic in this area.
I saw these red berries that I thought might be red currents while hiking on the Walter Bean Trail. The trail overlooks the Grand here, near the car park for the M.R. Good Family Trailway. I was happy to find some more vibrant colour on a very grey day. Hope everyone is having a happy holiday.
I drove further south to another section of the Grand that provides an overlook off a dead end of Riverbank Dr in Breslau. I walked to an area where earlier this year I took a picture of sumac berry cones in Autumn. It is always interesting to see the small, or in this case drastic changes along the river from season to season. The vibrant red berries of fall are just a memory now replaced by a light pink fruit coated with a delicate coating of hoar frost.
An interesting mix of weather and the right temperatures left a winter wonderland across the region this morning including this hill of hardwood forrest that overlooks the Grand River near Breslau. Clear frosty nights in winter helps form delicate crystals known as hoar frost. Sometimes it is so thick it resembles snow. Ice crystals become attached to trees and other vegetation leaving a beautiful coating that is one of the my favorite winter weather events. The ice in the foreground is part of an ice jam that has since broken up but still remains stacked on the riverbank.
Ice jams have been steadily developing on the Grand in several areas including the stretch below the Freeport bridge in Kitchener. I took this picture with almost all natural light gone. A strange glow cast from the street lights above lit up some of the snow and ice piled up on the water's surface and the river banks.