Gone fishing

A crow poses with its bounty

Crow eating sushi

A pair of crows with a fish on the lake

Given that they neither dive nor swim,  I don’t normally think of crows as birds that catch fish. Yet as the lake ice was breaking up last week, there were three crows eating two relatively large fish that they’d caught from somewhere. I didn’t see them actually catch any of the fish and they looked a little large to fly with, so my best guess is that they were scavenging fish that had been dropped by other birds. There’s also a possibility that they’d stolen the fish away from a flock of seagulls that were at the edge of the open water farther out in the lake.

Although this was most likely just a case of opportunism, there is actually some evidence of crows catching fish on their own. Here’s a pretty straightforward video of a crow catching a fish in water shallow enough for it to stand in:

And here’s a video (with explanation) that seems to show a crow fishing in an artificial pond by using bread as bait:

Sign-eating tree

Sign-eating tree

Sign-eating tree

These signs were being eaten by a tree until a crew came along a few months ago and chopped the tree down while clearing and marking a path above the pipeline. It looks like they couldn’t extricate the signs from the tree and chose instead to work around the obstruction, leaving a chunk of the tree still enveloping the signs.

Big storm

We had a big March Break storm last night in East Dodgeville. I decided to use the opportunity to do something I’ve never been able to do before: take pictures of lightning. I’ve tried in the past but have been wholly unsuccessful for one simple reason: by the time I see that spectacular motivational flash of lightning and then get the camera set up and positioned, the storm has already passed and I’m standing there with a remote in my hand looking like an idiot. But this was a big enough storm that I was still able to have the camera ready for the last two hours of the light show despite missing the first wave of lightning. I’m also a big wimp so I stayed inside and took pictures through the window. I’m sure there would have been many more and better pictures if I’d ventured down to the shore with an umbrella, but some of the strikes were close enough that I was quite happy to be hiding inside. Check below the fold for the obligatory gallery and some comments on the storm and taking pictures of lightning.

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Another TTC ghost stop

East face of TTC ghost stop on Gerrard at Jones

Here’s another TTC ghost sign, this one on the northeast corner of Gerrard Street at Jones Avenue. The east face, above, is hard to miss. The west face is much more faded but the “AR S” of “CAR STOP” is still barely visible. In the photo of the west face below, you can see the bright white rectangle of the original sign as well as very faint outlines of the “R” and “S” just above and below the big rust patch in the middle of the post:

West face of TTC ghost stop on Gerrard at Jones

A little farther east on Gerrard there’s also a ghost Sunday stop, but it’s only visible as an area of faded yellow paint on a utility pole with no discernible lettering.

Ball’s Mill

Ball's Mill

Ball’s Mill graces the Hamlet of Baltimore north of Cobourg. Although the exterior has been restored and is largely in good condition, the inside is crammed full of junk and looks pretty rough through the windows.

Behind the mill, a portion of the exterior has been left unrestored to show the original condition:

Rear view of Ball's Mill

Apparently, the mill was run by a 19th-century Russell Oliver:

Cash for Wheat at Ball's Mill

TTC ghost stops

TTC ghost sign on Sloane at Eglinton

Before the TTC started marking bus stops by strapping mass-produced metal* vinyl signs onto poles, they used stencils and paint. I’m not sure when they stopped doing that, but I do vaguely remember the metal signs becoming standard in maybe the early 80s. Most of those old painted signs have disappeared or faded with time, but a few of them are still kicking around on old streetcar and bus routes. The one above is painted on an old utility pole on the east side of Sloane Avenue just north of Eglinton Avenue East. The old pole has been cut down to just above the ghost stop, leaving it with no role other than displaying a bit of old paint. As you can see in this Google Street View, the metal sign was strapped over the painted one before the new pole was installed.

Another TTC ghost is on the southwest corner of Kingston Road and Glen Manor Drive:

TTC ghost sign on Kingston at Glen Manor

As you can tell by the snow on the lawns in the background, the picture wasn’t taken this winter. It looks like this stop was originally on a TTC-specific pole that carried the trolley wire for powering streetcars on this line. I’m not sure why the old pole survived; like the one on Sloane above, it seems to serve no specific function any longer.

Without a doubt, the best TTC ghost stops were in the Wychwood streetcar barns, where decommissioned poles were cut up and used as building material to shore up the floor above:

TTC ghost stops holding up the floor in the Wychwood car barns

It’s extremely unlikely that any part of these ad hoc posts and beams survived the conversion of the buildings into the Artscape Wychwood Barns, but it was an amazing surprise to see when it was there.

* Update, March 16, 2012: The newer non-painted signs are actually vinyl, not metal.