Extraordinary and Amazing Nature Photos and Videos from Aga Khan Park and East Don Trail That You and Your Family MUST See

By MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher-Editor, BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

I would like to begin this post by telling readers that all the flags at Aga Khan Park have been at half-mast for the last few days to honour 215 children whose remains were found buried at a former Kamploops indigenous residential school. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced the lowering of flags on federal buildings. Mayors of different cities across Ontario followed suit and ordered flags to be lowered in their respective jurisdictions. The Aga Khan Park has four flags located by Wynford Drive: The historic red and green Ismaili flag, and the flags of the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Maple Leaf of Canada. In his statement concerning the tragic discovery, the Prime Minister stated that “the tragic legacy of the residential schools is still present today, and through concrete action, our government will continue to support survivors, their families, and their communities across the country.”

New life in spring, Aga Khan Park, behind the Ismaili Centre and Jamatkhana buildings. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Life begins in spring! You can see it on the ground with lush green grass, on trees and shrubs with beautiful flowers, and in water, speaking of which I am delighted to tell you that all the 5 ponds of Aga Khan Park are flowing with water. At the inauguration ceremony of the Park, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, said:  

“…..the Garden of ancient tradition, like the Garden here today, is a place where – whatever difficult moments may come our way – we can always find, in the flow of refreshing water, a reminder of Divine blessing.” (Read speech delivered on May 25, 2015)

Aga Khan Park Ponds
A male mallard swims in the centre pond of the Aga Khan Park, with the waters reflecting a condominium building located east of the Don Valley Parkway. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

The soft sounds of the water flowing across the ponds and over their edges bring calmness to our minds. Science explains this feeling of calmness from a biological level. It says that seeing or hearing the soothing sounds of moving water triggers a response in our brains that induces a flood of neurochemicals. These chemicals increase blood flow to the brain and heart, which induces relaxation (Read article).

Most of the videos and photographs that are posted here are related to water, and I think you will be amazed with what I have seen at Aga Khan Park and the nearby East Don Trail during the past week.

The KING, addressing his subjects, East Don Trail, June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

At East Don Trail, as I looked below me from a deck onto a small area of swampy pond water infested with frogs, a mother remarked to the young children and youth she had brought along that “you are watching frog sex today.” I was quite amused. Little did she know that I had watched and photographed a mallard a couple of days ago in a very passionate encounter.

Intimate moments on a boulder at Don River with the male mallard thrust strongly on top of its female partner. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

As I looked across 50 metres onto another pond from the deck I was standing, I observed that there was intense activity going on between a pair of frogs, with other frogs “jealously” trying to break them up apart. The view was not very clear, so I decided to take a trail leading to the pond.

Groundhog, East Don Trail
Groundhog, East Don Trail. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

I encountered a groundhog just 2 metres ahead of me, and passed it once it disappeared into its burrow. I arrived at the pond and the birdhouse next to it. It was muddy from the previous days rain. I can’t imagine my state if I had slipped and fallen! Seeing my plight of negotiating through the muddy area, a visitor shouted out from the deck, “Its all worth it.” I totally agreed with her.

Later upon returning to the parking lot, which lacks washroom facilities, I cleaned my heavily soiled muddy shoes and trousers with water I was carrying in my car. It was a truly exciting and eventful morning, and I hope you enjoy the videos and photos as well as share them through this post link with your family and friends.

The Frog: Fertilization In Progress at East Don Trail, With Plenty of Interference

Male frog fertilizing eggs, Simerg Photos, Malik Merchant
A male frog is seen embracing the female in what is known as the amplexus position. The vast majority of frog species fertilize their eggs externally, and this positioning helps ensure that the eggs of the female are fertilized by the male when they are released. June 4, 2021, East Don Trail, Toronto. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Video: Frog Confrontation #1

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Video: Frog Confrontation #2

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Video: Frog Confrontation #3

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Photo: A Failed Pursuit to Overpower!

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Canadian Geese at Aga Khan Park

Video #1: Arrival and Feeding Outside the Jamatkhana Building

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Video #2: Bathing in Aga Khan Park Pond

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Video #3: Skybound from Aga Khan Park Pond

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The Beautiful Male Mallard

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Mating between mallards Simergphotos
Intimacy and mating on a boulder at Don River, with the male mallard firmly thrust into its female partner. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

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Video: The Tiny Mighty Turtle!

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More Wildlife Photos and Videos

Groundhog, East Don Trail.
Groundhog, East Don Trail. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Video: Bunny Chase 1

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A beautiful robin at East Don Trail.
A beautiful robin at East Don Trail. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
A hanging tent caterpillar
A hanging tent caterpillar at East Don Trail. May 25-31, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
mangy squirrel east don trail
A mangy squirrel walks on an iron railing at a look out point at East Don Trail. May 25-31, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
A female mallard leads her 12 little ducklings through a swamp in the East Don Trail
A female mallard leads her 12 little ducklings through a swamp in the East Don Trail. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
A beautiful Grackle is perched on a bird house in East Don Trail. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

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Video: Bunny Chase 2

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Earth, Sky and People

waning crescent moon over East Don Trail
A plane flies over the East Don Trail after having crossed the path of the moon, a waning crescent with an illumination of approximately 48%. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Colourful shrubs at Aga Khan Park, with Ismaili Jamatkhana in background. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Plenty of benches like this one situated throughout the Aga Khan Park to relax, read a book or contemplate. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Aga Khan Park visitors, June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Aga Khan Park visitors, a grandmother pushing a stroller. June 4, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Aga Khan Park
Children play a racquet game at Aga Khan Park, a few metres from the main entrance of the Ismaili Centre. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Aga Khan Park pond, Canadian geese
Visitors take selfies as Canadian geese enjoy a swim in one of 5 ponds at Aga Khan Park, with the Aga Khan Museum building in the background. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.
Daylight moon, a waning crescent with an illumination of 48%, seen above trees at the East Don Trail
Daylight moon, a waning crescent with an illumination of 48%, seen above trees at the East Don Trail. June 2, 2021. Photo: © Malik Merchant/Simergphotos.

Video: Birdhouse – a Shared Space

Date posted: June 5, 2021.
Last updated: June 5, 2021, 10:00PM (second bunny video added)

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