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Butsituationschange.Marriagehomeownershipandchild-raisinghaveawayofrestructuringonex19spriorities.MycrazyfriendsandIhavesettleddown.Needlesstosaythex1crarityrunsx1dofyes-teryeararefewerandfartherbetweennow.AsaresultIx19vebecomemuchmoreofalocalbirder.EverySaturdaymorningbeforetherestofthehouseholdrisesmydogandIhopintothefamilyvanandheadouttoexplorethebackroadsofYorkandSimcoecounties.IntheprocessIx19velearnedmoreaboutbirdsinOntarioandhavedevelopedarelationshipwiththeeldsforestsandbackroadsoftheLakeSimcoewatershed.TherearefrozeneldsIvisiteachwin-tertolookforhawksandowlsvernalpondsthatIcheckeachspringforwater-fowllagoonsthatIvisiteachsummertolookforshorebirdsandwoodlotsthatIhikethrougheachautumntolookformi-gratingwarblers.Whenyoubirdinyourownareayoubegintounderstandthesubtletiesofbreedingrangeandhabitatpreferencesofmanyavianspecies.Inadditionx1clocalpatchesx1dbegintoresonatewithmemoriesofwhatyouhaveobservedateachone.ThereisahydrocutwestofNewmar-ketwhereIsawmyrstgreatgreyowlhuntinginthewintertwilight.AlineofcattailsintheHollandMarshvegetableeldsmarksthespotwhereasnowyowlewuptojoustwithanorthernharrieronecoldJanuaryafternoon.ThewavesonCookBaystillremindmeoftheockofrareBrantgeesethatswambyduringthedarkheartofablusteryspringafternoon.Tomynever-endingsurpriseourlocalareacontinuestoofferupnewbirdingexperiences.Iusedtobelievethatcolourfulsongsterssuchastheindigobuntingrose-breastedgrosbeakscarlettanagerandmourningwarblertonamebutafewcouldonlybeseenbytravellingtoLongPointRondeauProvincialParkorPointPelee.ByspendingmoretimebirdingclosetohomeIx19vecometorealizethatallofthesespeciesnestrightherewherewelive.MyownfavouritelocationsincludetheCawthraMulocknaturereserveinnorth-westernNewmarkettheHollandMarshareaincludingtheScanlonCreekCon-servationAreanearBradfordCookBaynearKeswicktheMinesingSwampwestofBarrieandseveraloftheregionalforesttractsinYorkregion.Theselocalpatchesareremarkablybountiful.Bluebirdsoriolesbitternsher-onshawksandowlsallcanbespottedhereonaregularbasisx14itx19sjustamatterofgettingoutdoorsandlookingforthem.OtherlocalbirdersandIhaverecordedupto150speciesduringbigdaysinbothYorkandSimcoecountiesLivingnearoneofCanadax19sbusiestur-banareasIamawarethatthelocalland-scapewillchangeassurelyastheseasons.ThehighwaycorridorbetweenBradfordandBarriehasalreadyseendramaticchangeandwillcontinuetodoso.Eachnewlypostedsignthatannouncesimminentre-zoningfordevelopmentremindsmetotakenothingforgranted.IneedtowatchthebobolinksandsmellthelilacswhileIcan.WithcoolwhispersofautumnmovinginthewindIparticularlyenjoymylastbikeridesoftheyear.ThecountryroadswestofHwy.400stillrolllikewavesthroughoceansoffarmland.Blackbirdsstillriselikesmokefromtheeldsandhawkscirclehighinthebluearcingsky.Behindbordersofgoldenrodandastersthecornhasgrowntallthebranchesofappletreesareheavywithfruit.Asautumnunfoldsthewoodlotsblazewithcolourandthelongdaysofsummerwillfadeintopleasantmemories.Iwillridemybikeuntilthedaysgettoocoldandthewindstoostrong.Tobeouthereintheheartofthisland-scapemakingmywayfromonesunlithilltoptothenexttherearemomentswheneverythingfeelslikeagift.IsavourthefeelingsavourthistimeinmylifeandsavourtheselocalplacesthatIhavecometoknowandlove.LSLRonFlemingisanelementary-schoolteacherinNewmarketandisthex8eldco-ordinatorfortheWestHumberNaturalistsinKleinburg.HealsoleadshikesfortheYorkSimcoeNatu-ralistsandOntarioFieldOrnithologists.14LakeSimcoeLivingAutumn2010photographraybarlowLakxffrxcxbtwingbeatIusedtochasebirdsallovertheprovincefromrareycatchersatPresqux19ileProvin-cialParktowanderingwarblersatPointPelee.Myzealforbirdingwasfedbylike-mindedfriendswhowantedtoseeeveryspeciespossible.Wecoveredalotofgroundandsawalotofbirds.Locallandscapesarerichwithavarietyofbirdspecies.Itx19ssimplyamatterofgettingoutsidetolookByRonFLemingBirdingclosetothenestIndigobuntingsnestnearLakeSimcoe