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  • Sydney Daniels

flowers and beavers and geese, oh my!

Spring in Waterloo did not disappoint

For the first time in my 20 years of life on this planet, I spent spring in a new city, and boy did I enjoy it. Waterloo has so much wildlife to offer in the busy parts of the city but it is also home to several incredible conservation areas. Please enjoy the shots I captured this past spring.

Waterloo Park

In the middle of a busy university town, there is a small safe haven of a park that supports tons of gorgeous, blossoming wildlife. For starters, Waterloo's unofficial mascot took over with their babies this spring and it was possibly the cutest and most terrifying site I've ever seen.

One day, I took my silly little mental health walk around Waterloo Park, shooting random trees and a few songbirds (shoutout to the star of the day, the red-winged blackbirds). At one point, I magically stumbled two parent Canadian Geese looking over their nearly-dozen goslings taking a little swim. The little guys were so cute, I wanted to get up close but I knew Mama Goose would have my head if I stepped foot near her babies, so I admired from a distance. It was the quietest, most excited state I've ever been in at the same time.

On that same walk, the main street was lined with these stunning crab apple trees. I had no idea these trees had so much potential, I had only ever seen them with leaves or completely bare, suddenly the whole street was pink. Even though I am not a fan of monoculture in trees planted by cities, these blooms were too stunning to pass up the photo opportunity. I loved all the variations of pink they had to offer.

The in-between moments

I had a relatively busy start to spring, with photo opportunities popping up briefly every now and then. I had a few shots from work events, where I was able to capture some natural elements in between shooting for the event. Even though I had my camera with me for these events, I still felt out of my element because I wasn't shooting birds and trees, so to keep myself entertained I managed to snap a few nature shots here and there. Any flower vase or rainy buds would do.

One of the other brief instances was pure luck and patience. In my backyard, I have both seen and heard red-tailed hawks circling above my house, and let me tell you, it is the coolest thing you will ever witness. I'd be working outside, minding my business, then all of a sudden it sounds like I'm in a movie being stalked by these birds of prey.

One day, on my way home from photographing a work event, I managed to see a hawk flying around, so I started shooting as fast as I could but tracking these guys from so far away was difficult. Then, I saw the hawk fly to the top of a neighbouring apartment roof and was just resting, I knew that was my shot. I panned slightly to the side and found a second hawk posing for me. I was exhausted and sweaty from a bike ride, but I spent another 15-20 minutes outside before coming in to cool off because I needed these shots.

Elora Gorge

This was by far the highlight of the spring season. During the May two-four long weekend, my partner and I packed some lunch, sunscreen, and my camera and spent the day pretending we were camping. The gorge is gorgeous from above and from within. There were tons of cool rock formations, water features, and some cool critters, so this location was a win in my books.

My first walk through the gorge was in the conservation area, where I spotted plenty of like-minded people wading through the water. As eager as I was to swim here, the water was very cold, but it was still fun sticking our feet in the open pockets the running water had carved through the rock. Down there, we ran into several Northern rough-winged swallows that were dive-bombing flies in the air. This was a new addition to the life list, so that was a highlight for sure!

After venturing around the conservation area's part of the gorge, we traveled to downtown Elora to scope out their section of the gorge, and this area did not disappoint. First lookout point, saw a beaver just coming in from a little swim. I had never seen a beaver for this amount of time, it was calmly munching on some plants while I was having a field day with these shots. Further down, we stumbled upon the David Street Bridge. This lookout point was so picturesque, but also quiet compared to other parts of the gorge, so it was a nice place to finish our day. The Gorge was on my summer bucket list, so it was a real treat to check this one off the list.

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