Monday, July 19, 2010

First Resident of the Don

Groundhog spotted at Lakeshore Blvd. East and Don Roadway

I was going by the mouth of the river last week just where Lakeshore Blvd. East crosses the river at the Don Roadway. Immediately south of the bridge the Don River enters the Keating Channel. Just at the southwest corner of the intersection I spotted a groundhog (Marmota monax) coming out of a hole from underneath the bridge abutment.

There is a bit of debate whether the Don River ends here or whether the mouth is actually where the Keating Channel enters the harbour west of Cherry Street. The effects of the harbour and the lake water actually extends further up the channel to around Eastern Avenue. To my mind the Keating Channel right turn elbow demarcates the end of the river. Therefore this groundhog would be living in the place closest to the mouth of the river.

I've seen groundhogs in several places in the Don Valley. They are a pretty common species and have adapted to urban conditions. Groundhogs are herbivores so I guess the grassy roadside next to the Don Roadway makes for some pretty easy living. This one was pretty nonchalant and sat by his hole watching me for 10 minutes as I snapped several pictures. As I fiddled with my camera looking for the video setting, it scurried into its den so I only have a few still photos from the encounter.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I saw two groundhogs last night in ET Seton along the main bike path.

One seems to actually live underneath one of the waste bins just south of the archery field. Maybe he shares rent with some raccoons.