20180520-21 Ephemerals are well on their way

The leaves of the poplars, willows, alders, maples, are starting to unfurl now, leaving little more time for the spring ephemerals to get energy from Sun. Although the forest floor is coming alive with trilliums, trout lilies, carolina spring beauties etc, I am not seeing many pollinators.  Maybe, hopefully, they are just delayed.

Calm water at Big Lake…

Provincial emblem near Twin Rivers…

Yellow Warbler at Big Lake…

Two Interrupted Ferns having a tête-à-tête.

Uh-oh!  A full meeting of them…

One of these has a visitor….

In a few weeks we’ll be snacking on wild strawberries.  Yummy!

This songbird sang and sang and sang from high up on a dead tree.    I had never seen nor heard a Brown Thrasher doing that before.  The link has a very good example of their songs.

I recently subscribed to https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/  mainly because of the great photography and information at this post:   https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/bud-break-and-other-forest-secrets/



20180518-19, Yellow Warblers, Catbirds, Cooper’s Hawk and ephemerals in the rain

We enjoyed some sunshine and May showers while seeing some spring sights…

A pair of catbirds were feeding on the staghorn sumac fruit at Big Lake:

They also did some mating dances in the Tag Alders:

European Starling posing in the grass.   They seem to like being around humans….

Cooper’s Hawk checking the road ditch along Hwy 529:

As usual, this little Yellow Warbler gave its location away by singing.  Click on the photo to see it closer …

A little closer, click for close-ups …

These unfurling ferns are NOT FIDDLEHEADS (hairy stems, lack of brown papery covering) …

This Trillium is also unfurling …

The next day rain showers gave some interesting textures to the Trilliums …

… and to the first Canada Columbine of the season …

Mary Holland describes Dwarf Ginseng flowering in New England.  I have yet to see this plant or its relatives up here.


20180511-17 Spring ephemerals and Common Yellowthroat Warblers arrive

The high noonday sun and longer days are combining to accelerate the advances of flora and fauna this late spring.  Many phenomena that usually occur over a week or so are happening much more rapidly this year — often over a period of a few days.  So it is an exciting time to be out and about.

The placement of dockage, and a few boats at St Amants Marina is a sure sign that summer is on its way:

This ruffed grouse is scurrying, perhaps to develop a nest in a  more private place…

Marsh Marigolds are emerging from the reeds and cattail marshes to display their golden blossoms.

This American Red Squirrel is starting to scamper away from the nosy photographer…

First Painted Turtle of the season basking in afternoon sun …

This year’s crop of Beaked Hazelnuts appears to be light.

This Common Grackle is enjoying the sunshine, generating some iridescence with its feathers.

This Mallard drake is using the same phenomenon to generate that iridescent green on its neck.

Some White Trilliums have unfurled almost at the same time as T. erectum.

A (nice?) abstraction ….

More Marsh Marigolds:

First Pale Corydalis of the year …

This illustrates that the microclimate in the region of the leaves influences the rate of advance…

I was lucky to hear, then to see and quickly photograph this Common Yellowthroat Warbler at Big Lake.

Early Saxifrage are in full  bloom now …. but the normal buzzing of pollinators seems to be missing this spring …. something to pay attention to as spring progresses.

Stinking Benjamin alright!

Carolina Spring Beauty is abundant this year (beautiful and tasty?)

Trout lily bulbs are also said to be edible —- in small quantities.

In a few days the floors of our deciduous woods will be dotted with Ontario’s flower, T. grandiflorum.

20180509-11 Spring is coming quickly. Geese nesting, savannah & chipping sparrows & wood ducks are pairing, broad-wing hawks hunting, trilliums & bloodroot unfurling, trout lilies, spring beauties, saxifrage & dutchman’s breeches are blooming

Clear skies gave us frosty mornings but warming days, encouraging both flora and fauna to start the new season quickly.  The smelt, suckers and pickerel are spawning simultaneously, the migrant birds are moving northward.  Friends have reported the arrival of Ruby-throated hummingbirds during the last few days.

Activities are delayed compared to the early spring we had last year, when we saw Canada goslings during the first week of May.

This Canada Goose was keeping a wary eye out on her nest seen from Hwy 529:

This Early Saxifrage was trying to attract pollinators in the rocks just north of Twin Rivers…

The willow catkins are quickly maturing.  This link gives a good  summary of how willows propagate.   And this link has some good photos of catkins for American Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Ostrich ferns (aka Fiddleheads) are starting to unfurl…

This is the only evidence of T. grandiflorum that I’ve seen so far, at its usual spot on the north side of Hwy 522 between Grundy Lake PP and Pakesley.

This Savannah sparrow was occasionally serenading, perhaps to attract a mate.

So was this Chipping Sparrow.

Up along the Jamot Lumber road we saw Carolina Spring Beauties in profusion.

And trout lilies

Bloodroot was found about 13 Km in on the Jamot Lumber Road in very rich soil in association with ramp, trout lilies, wake robin, dutchman’s breeches.

Wake-robin, (T. erectum) starting to unfurl.

And Dutchman’s breeches in full bloom …

This pair of wood ducks left a small vernal pool to scamper off into thick bush.  I was lucky to get this photo of them as they paused to glance backwards…

Here is a broadwinged Hawk, eyeing the guy sticking a camera out of a car, before flying off …

Unfortunately we saw no pollinators.  Many of these plants are dependent on bumblebees for pollination but the temperature was still to cold for them to forage.  Fortunately many of the above wildflowers also propagate asexually using rhizomes, tubers, bulbs, corms etc.

The Times, They Are A-Changing ….. quickly!

20180501-05 Buffleheads, fog, Kestrel, Moose, Coltsfoot

Spring arrived in a rush.  The moisture in warm air coming in from the southwest condensed as it ran over the colder land, snow and water.  Birds were migrating and the first of our wildflowers were seen

The dock poles at St Amants Marina are freed of ice….

Fog forms over this swamp on Burwash Road…

Japanese-like scene on Murdock River Road …

Interesting patterns of water, ice and snow at the Highway 522 pond between Grundy Lake PP and Pakesley.

Morning radiation fog at St Amants…

Coltsfoot blooming in a gravel quarry off of Avro Arrow Road.   The sun had warmed up the well-drained gravel, signalling the it was time for the plant to flower, attracting some pollinators…

An American Kestrel pauses for the photographer on her annual migration north.

Mother goose eyes the photographer (from a nesting place?)

A pair of Buffleheads pause in their diving behaviour.

A molting “swamp donkey” is munching on red maple shoots as it hides from the photographer at the Hwy 637 / Hwy 400 intersection.

We are expecting an explosive spring as the noon sun is high in the sky and the days are long, giving lots of solar radiation over about 14:40 hours of our 24-hour day.  In about 6 weeks we’ll peak with another hour of daylight.  So lots of flora and fauna will be changing.

20180331-0429 April – a cold wet spring

March went out with some more snow at Twin Rivers:

Skerryvore Community Road:

Still River:

and Byng Inlet ….


Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

Harbingers of spring started to swell giving us some hope …

Then the Hooded Mergansers started to arrive, finding any spot of open water, confirming that spring was on its way ….

And the Common Mergansers ….

This Ring-billed Gull found its usual spots along Riverside Rd, in this case the roof of Rusty’s truck …..

This male Red Winged Blackbird is displaying his wings when calling …

Hooded Merganser relaxing in the snow….

Lone Bufflehead Duck patrols the Still River for protein …

Ice is out of the mouth of the Still River on April 24th …

Ice is leaving the dock piles at St Amants on April 29th …

Benoit Mandlebrot would suggest that this is an example of Fractals in Nature.

This Mourning Dove is thinking about it….

AHA!  First one of the season on April 23.  In the sunshine on the darkish bark of a poplar tree.   As I drove towards it, this Mourning Cloak took off and flitted around very energetically for a minute or so before disappearing into the bush.  The Mourning Cloak  is one of the very few butterflies that overwinters here as an adult butterfly.

“The adult butterflies will occasionally come to flowers for nectar, but it’s thought that most of their sustenance comes from sap or decaying fruit. Using tree sap as food would explain why Mourning Cloaks can gain some advantage from arising so early from hibernation. When the sap starts to rise in spring it often seeps out of the bark in places where the tree has been damaged over the winter. In summer you’ll often find them at fresh holes in trees left by drilling sapsuckers (a kind of woodpecker). Also, like many other butterflies, they will extract salts or other nutrients from mud puddles or even from animal droppings (poops).”

Mallards are paired up …

This Pied-billed Grebe is able to change its buoyancy, as demonstrated here…

A pair of Buffleheads cruising the Still River …

A Broad-winged hawk (I think) looking for prey from a telephone line along Hwy 526:

Some green grass in a local ditch.  I couldn’t resist capturing some spring warmth!

Ruffed grouse blending in with the brown foliage of springtime….

Pair of Ringneck Duck males paying attention to a female.

A couple of Pied-bill Grebes …

Not common at all ….   I had seen only one of these Horned Larks before.   This one was alone, scrabbling on the surface of the Britt Helipad.

Male and female Ringneck Ducks….

My guess is that we are a couple of weeks behind in seeing the usual signs of spring.  If we get normal temperature the woods will come alive with the sights and sounds of spring very quickly.  The sun will be at solstice in only 7 weeks.

A good time to get out and about.

20180326 Pictures for Sideroads & Shorelines

Here are some pictures for Parry Sound Sideroads & Shorelines, published 6 times a year, showing some of the beauty of the Parry Sound area.   These pictures may be published in the May/June issue of the brochure.

This first photo is of a wild Beaked Hazelnut blossom on a wet day in April.  The red/purple filaments are the blossom’s stigma.  Pollen from the catkins of  neighbouring shrubs stick to the stigma and form pollen tubes to fertilize the ovules deep in the ovaries of the bud.

Below is a picture of a green frog contemplating the colour yellow.  Actually if you observe a frog in this position you’ll see what it is doing.

Yes, it is waiting.  Waiting for a meal to land on that blossom.

This picture was made at the Killarney East Lighthouse at Red Rock Point.  We were experiencing a gale blowing from the Southeast throwing a spume tens of metres up over the rocks.  The flow of water-laden air over the rocks first caught my eye … then I saw the two rainbows:

Every spring these singing insectivores return to glean our plants of newly hatched larvae and sometimes to raise a family.  This American Redstart is showing his rictal hairs, which might help him catch his meals in flight.   Every year a pair of Redstarts raise a family in my neighbourhood.

This might be a Columbine Duskywing stopping by for some nectar or perhaps laying eggs on its common host, our Canadian Columbine.

This pancake of ice is “floating” over the water at Meshaw Falls, French River.

These British Soldiers usually begin their fruiting in early April. Maybe later this year, as they need warm moisture.

Mama bear showing her cub how to feast on some black cherries…..

“Up, up and away,” say these Sandhill Cranes

Teetering building seen from Orange Valley Road between Broadbent and Nipissing Road.

Most pictures depend on interesting lighting, as these two show …

Here is a picture of the picture-maker:

Watch for the May/June issue of Parry Sound Sideroads & Shorelines  to see which of the above pictures make it into the magazine.