20171104 Snow and sights on Parry Sound trip

On a visit to Parry Sound we stopped to see the statue of Francis Pegahmagabow at the Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts.  He is one of the “soldier chiefs” who returned from service in WWI to exercise political leadership back in Canada.

These unknown berries were seen on a 2m high shrub/tree at the mail turnaround at Burnside Bridge Road and Hwy 124.

Storm clouds over Twin Rivers.

Highway 529 …

Snow flurry over Twin Rivers …

Snow is sticking at the north end of Hwy 529 …

Cow  Parsley umbels are catching and holding some melted snow …

… and finally … some melted snow on a milkweed pod …

Winter is on its way.

20171029-30 Cattle Egret and end of October storms

We saw our first Cattle Egret at Dave and Irene’s farm on October 29th.  It seems that it was moving South as it was seen at Rich and Judy’s place in B.I. later in the day.

Audubon says that these birds were unknown to North Americans prior to 1952, indication a remarkable expansion of their range.

The next day we had typical fall stormy weather giving us presentations of billowing clouds dappling the light on our landscapes:

You might have noticed a pause in my posting to this blog.   My cellular phone modem failed and  it took a while to get it replaced properly.

On a completely different note you might find this short video illuminating:


The ending is ironically hilarious!


20171025 Hwy 69 and Burwash skies and milkweed pods

October  is going out with some good storms and a bit of snowflurrying. Here are some interesting skies and the end of the milkweed pods fluffing out.

Looking West, from Hwy 69 just north of Woods Road…

Flukey birch pointers!

Entrance to Burwash …

Neilly Lake, Burwash …

Approaching rain from the Northwest as seen from the lookout…

Lone white spruce …

Oft-photographed pond looking East from Burwash Road (old Hwy 69)

Milkweed pods … I find the dainty plumes and the orderly rows of packed seeds to be interesting and worth photographing …

Hmmm …. yet another set of interesting critters feeding on milkweeds …


More chitchat about making pictures is offered by GeorgianBay39 here.

Although I haven’t seen any Trailing Arbutus this fall, Mary Holland has.   I will keep my eyes open for them.

20171022-23 Late October Skies, Cattails, Red Oaks, Beech, Cotton Grass, Tamaracks

As the autumnal abscission processes (leaf drop) continue into late fall we are treated to some interesting scenery.  Some examples:

You may have to  click on the image above and on the one below to notice that the back-lit inflorescences are very different.  Native cattails fill the swamp above while the invasive Phragmites wave in the breeze along Hwy 529.

For a short period of time some of the Red Oaks are quite showy with brilliant red or orange leaves instead of their more common brownish colour.

Early morning sky from Hwy 526, looking over the Still River.

Looking east from Legion Lane…

Hamlet of Byng Inlet from Riverside Drive in Britt…

Vines (Boston Ivy ??) casting their shadows on a window of the former Little Britt Inn…

Mill Lake, Parry Sound …

Beech leaves usually turn yellow and stay attached over the winter.  These turned orange and are dropping.

Beech trees are usually found in deep protected forests with good soils as we are near their northern range limit.

Nice bit of sun brightening the corner …

Larix laricina needles are turning yellow before dropping.

Our Tamaracks are usually found in bogs in association with black spruce,  cotton grass

… and red winterberries

Our Tamaracks like wet feet, unlike the Alpine Larch in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are some magnificent photos of the Alpine Larch in the North Cascades of Washington State.

GeorgianBay1939 contributed some pictures to that thread.  One will be very familiar, while the one labelled Breakfast in Oregon Fog was made about a decade ago.

I just tried a little experiment.  I “googled” the Images for  “brtthome’s blog fall colours”  to get this.   Amazing!

20171018-21 Colours and Tinsley

We continue to enjoy this year’s very variable fall colours.   Some examples:

Sugar Maple catching some rays …

Sugar Maple in Ann and Lon’s lawn …

Vine surrounding a window at the former Little Britt Inn…

Staghorn Sumac in full colour …

Nice place along Riverside Drive ….

White-faced (or ???-faced) Meadowhawks are still flying at Portage Lake …

Tinsley checking out the photographer at Portage Lake …

Check out this VERY nice news about Tinsley,  (aka TinTin).

Further correspondence:

Thank you Tom, I am thrilled that you replied and I’m thrilled that she has the space to stretch her legs and has someone who loves her as much as she deserves.

Yes she would be 9 now. I first met Tinsley in January 2011 and was with her till October 2015 and I to made sure I had biscuits in my pocket when I met her the first time. I had her in my pocket “pun intended” from that day on.
She is a Shepherd and so she is weary and cautious by nature but once she is comfortable with someone she is gentle.
I don’t think she was socialized with other dogs and people before I came along hence some of her quirks. I know my ex got her as a pup and for most of her early life it was primarily the two of them.

Sit and shake were always rewarded with a treat at our home also. She is very intelligent, again that’s a Shepherd trait.

It’s funny that she returned to the last place we all went as a family. We camped at Grundy P.P. and actually drove around and through Britt.

Nice, eh?

20171017 Great Blue Heron Fishing Shebeshekong Pond — Insect Info

We were attracted by the colours reflected by the pond across the Shebeshekong Road from the Shawanaga gas station.   After a careful look we saw this bonus….

The GBH was slowly walking amongst the rushes and lilies looking for minnows …

Then it checked out the photographer ….

Aha! Lunch!

Gulp! …

Swallowing another one …

Going deep for more morsels …

Vertical study….

Insect Info

I have recently had some discussions about human population growth and the changes in population of other fauna.   This estimate was a surprise to me:

Recent figures indicate that there are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet.  An article in The New York Times claimed that the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every pound of humans. Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. Their population is estimated as 107–108 billion.

This Smithsonian article adds some flesh to the estimates of insect population.

It has long been recognized and documented that insects are the most diverse group of organisms, meaning that the numbers of species of insects are more than any other group. In the world, some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known. This representation approximates 80 percent of the world’s species. The true figure of living species of insects can only be estimated from present and past studies. Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million. In the last decade, much attention has been given to the entomofauna that exists in the canopies of tropical forests of the world. From studies conducted by Terry Erwin of the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Entomology in Latin American forest canopies, the number of living species of insects has been estimated to be 30 million. Insects also probably have the largest biomass of the terrestrial animals. At any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.



What’s Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters

 Lots to learn, eh?


20171017 Fall colours along Skerryvore Community Road and area

We took a detour to Skerryvore Community Road (off of Shebeshekong Road, down to the shoreline community of Skerryvore) on our way back from Parry Sound in late afternoon.  It was a good time to see various lighting (top, front, back, side) effects on the fall colours…..

This is the CPR crossing at Woods Road looking south, showing the effects of classical side lighting on leaves, the subject point at the end of the curve, and the cumuliform clouds.

Looking west, into the sun (which is hidden by that dark cloud) from Shebeshekong Road.  Always a challenge to preserve colour in such backlit scenes as an optimal exposure is difficult.

Looking southerly into a dappled driveway as the sugar maple burst of colour ends.  This is the first of several photos looking southerly as we headed westerly on Skerryvore Rd at around 4:00 PM.

Sunlight on a distant “haymeadow” as our sun side-lights the golden leaves remaining on a poplar tree.

Sun is poking out from the trunk of the tree on the right.  It is a useful trick to position the camera lens in a bit of shadow to shield it from excessive lens flare.  Another challenging picture to capture the colours — along with the brightly lit clouds and the shadows in the evergreens.

Oft-photographed tree trunks, this time enhanced by a brilliant red maple in a very high contrast (High Dynamic Range) situation…

Sun is high to the left,  side-lighting the distant colours:

The colour is very different as we head back easterly on Skerryvore Rd.  Here we are looking northerly, down sun:

Looking northerly, into downsun-dappled leaves …

Sun is high behind my left shoulder as I tried to highlight the red oak against the leafless birch on the side of this little creek:

A patch of sunlight highlighting the red winterberries against the shadow of the pines and spruce in the left mid-ground.  I often use some cover in the foreground to act as an architectural “negligee effect” —- in this case the tag alder branches in front of the little pond.  I often don’t know if it helps or not.  In this case it might be too heavy, tending to block rather than to entice.

As we head north on Shebeshekong road we try an experiment:  To capture the golden tamarack needles against the bright sunshine.

It’s a lot of fun playing with photons (aka light)!