Ode to a nature commute – part 4, summer

A bee on wild bergamot plant (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC)

A bee on wild bergamot plant (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC)

August 25, 2020 | by Gayle Roodman

This is part four of a four-part series on bike commuting through nature. Read part one – fall here,  part two – winter here, and part three – spring here.

Silly me, hoping that for part four of this blog I’d be back on the bike paths on my commute, reporting on the nature I encounter along the way. But as COVID-19 would have it, my commute still involves a very short walk down my home’s hallway.

My almost-daily lunchtime nature walks have been wonderful. I love looking at the backyard gardens of the houses lining the pathway, seeing which flowers I can identify. It’s fun and interesting to notice the plants and their differing blooming times.

Barn swallow flying overhead (Photo by Dori, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

Barn swallow flying overhead (Photo by Dori, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 US)

There’s also a house that seems to be a magnet for swallows; whenever I walk by, there are at least 20 birds on the stucco (yes, the stucco), up by the roofline. I’m not sure what they’re attracted to there, as clearly I’m not in the know.

And sometimes I walk our subdivision’s streets instead of the pathway. I don’t always wander the same ones, and I find that even just walking the same road from a different direction provides a new perspective. If I walk west, the mountains serve as a backdrop, but if I walk south, then the verdant foothills, filled with cows, horses and grasses, comprise my view. I also get to chat with the people who live here, which provides for a lovely sense of community.

American robin (Photo by Michel Rathwell, Wikimedia Commons)

American robin (Photo by Michel Rathwell, Wikimedia Commons)

Part of my daily nature “commute” involves doing daily inspections of our garden’s flowers and exclaiming with glee when I see a bee buzzing around the bee balm and Russian sage. Robins fly by and land in our yard, in our trees and along the fence — oftentimes, it appears, just to torment our (indoor) cat.

   

    

Stormwater pond (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC)

Stormwater pond (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC)

Our neighbourhood stormwater pond is home to a family of Canada geese, as well as a male and female mallard. The subdivision developer’s landscaping company has agreed to let the grasses and shoreline around this pond remain in their natural state. I’m excited to see what species end up here over time. As I walk past, frogs croak from the reeds that line the pond.

   

   

Red-winged blackbird (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Red-winged blackbird (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Recently, as I ran an errand by car, a badger ran out from a small pond created in the cloverleaf of the road’s off ramp. Red-winged blackbirds balanced on the tips of the pond’s bulrushes.

So, all of this is to say that, despite our current times, nature continues to be all around us. We just have to sometimes look where we aren’t accustomed to.

This week, from August 24 to 30, join the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Big Backyard Bioblitz and enter your observations in nature (be they bugs, animals or plants) into the iNaturalist app or website.

Gayle Roodman

About the Author

Gayle Roodman is the manager, editorial services at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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