Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Monday 31 January 2011 – A Bimble from Gamelin, and a Bohemian Surprise

Whilst Ken and Helen went to work….

….Sue absconded from the “whilst” category of activities to join an “actual” activity!

It was cold again – almost down to minus 20C, plus some wind chill, so a fairly brief excursion was in order.  The sun was shining though.  For a change.  It hasn’t shone as much as usual on this trip, but at least it’s not as drab here as in Timperley.  That’s due to Ottawa being much further south, on the same latitude as Madrid I believe, and the snow obviously brightens things up, even on dull days.

Today was anything but dull, and Sue’s neck problem was kind enough to allow her an hour or so on her sadly under-used planks.

Sue heads up Gatineau Parkway on 31/1/11

We chose the eastern edge of the Park, P3, Gamelin, as our starting point, and headed over the motorway, up Gatineau Parkway, steadily rising above the nearby city tower blocks.  After a couple of kilometres, sliding gently up the hill, trying to keep the fingers warm, Sue spotted some little birds.  They were feasting on small black berries.  A flock of about a hundred.  Her G9 camera is better than my G10 for telephoto shots, but we didn’t have it with us, so you’ll have to make do with the best my frozen fingers could manage:

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

They are Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus), about 8” in stature, distinguished from their smaller cousins, Cedar Waxwings, by their rusty undertail coverts.  These birds are apparently rare winter visitors to the Park, so it was a treat to see a significant flock so close to the city centre.

We left the Parkway to try trail 26, which neither of us had been along before.  Quite brave of Sue.  It was easy enough, as expected, but herring-boning up a short hill was something of a test for her neck.  Joining trail 5 to head back to the Parkway introduced a gentle hill, which Sue managed fine, if extremely sedately in comparison with her former style on such gradients.  It used always to be me at the back.

Sue enjoys a gentle descent on trail 5, Gatineau Park

Then it was across the motorway, with views towards the city centre, from where an icy wind drew us quickly back to P3 and the warmth of the car after this 7km outing that took little more than an hour.

Returning to P3 car park on 31/1/11

It’s a neat little circuit, actually.  Certainly more than suitable for an office worker with a decent lunch break…

We were in plenty of time to enjoy our own lunch at a local bakery, before returning home, with plenty of time to ‘chill’ before picking Helen up from work.  (We use her car – it seems a fair deal – her car parking arrangement at the hospital is less than convenient at this time of year.)


afootinthehills said...

We sympathise with Sue. Lynne is grounded with a torn/strained intercostal muscle caused by a month-long hacking cough!

Trekking Britain said...

Lovely Waxwings! You chose a cracking time to go away, its been dull, grey, mild, sometimes a bit cold and boring weather wise here!

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Gibson. Hopefully Lynne's injury will not be as long-term as Sue's.
Jamie, we heard that the weather in Timperley was pretty normal for the time of year. That's one reason we come here, though it has been duller than usual.....
Snowing this morning (Wednesday).