20150617 Butterflies, Dragonflies, Damselflies and Blossoms

We went for a drive along Hwy 522 to Smith Bay Road and saw a variety of beasties and blossoms a few days before Sun-Stop.

The white spots on the tips of the wings identifies this Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly as a female.   This one is worth clicking on to see its fine structure.


Interesting name for this butterfly … Little Wood Satyr ??!!


Sedges have edges, grass has joints.  Grass inflorescence.


Unknown dragonfly  …


Common weed  … the very delicate and pretty Daisy Fleabane seen up close.


Canadian or Eastern Tiger SwallowTail.


Bladder campion, a delicacy in southern Europe, considered a weed in North America.  In any event it is very nice to look at up close.


This patch of Sheep Laurel bloomed about 3 weeks later than the patch on the Shawanaga Reserve.


Widow Skimmer, I think.


Bright male housefinch.


The little beetle on the uppermost mushroom is a good indicator of Oyster mushroom, a delicacy to mushroom eaters.  I must say, though that the folks in California have quite a different mushroom than the one we harvest in Ontario.  I have never seen a “grey” one and I have never seen any in the fall.  In Ontario P. ostreatus fruits during the first rains of late spring / early summer, usually on standing Aspens that have died a few years earlier.




This painted turtle was photographed just before it plopped into the water.


Viceroy or Monarch?


White Admiral


Some folks will remember this wild nut that is common around Georgian Bay



A few months ago the nuts started out in buds like the one above.  They will be ripe in August when the trick will be to harvest them before the borers, jays, squirrels etc harvest them.

Nice picture of Solomon’s Plume (aka False Solomon’s Seal).


On Sunday the noon sun   ( apparent solar time ) stops, pauses and starts its southbound journey until Winter Sun Stop in December 2015.

Next week the Pickerel River First Nations will be celebrating the occasion with a few days of fasting, rituals and then feasting.   I hope to visit their festivities and to take a few pix.


20150616 Some more spring blossoms

We wandered around a bit yesterday to see the progress of spring flowers.

Hackmatack  cones are progressing …



This showes why these geraniums are called cranesbills.



Nice goatsbeard before it goes into seed mode…. like a big dandelion.



Good example of the sterile attractor blossoms surrounding the fertile blooms on this V. trilobum




Moose Maple, Mountain Maple, Acer spicatum an uncommon maple around here.


Pin Cherry, Prunus pensylvanica



Black Cherry (P. serotina) or a Choke Cherry (P. virginiana) .  One of these days I’ll get a side by side comparison.



There is a huge variety of these bee/wasp look-alikes out there, pollinating wildflowers.   I wonder if they are affected by neonic0tinoids.

I suspect, but don’t know, that the arachnids are unaffected.


On of the beautiful Iris in front of D and A’s place.



One of the Lupins at my former place.  There are some that have turned into this gangly variety.



B and L’s  fragrant walkway of thyme.


Very curious painteds, stretching out in the warm sun.



Canada anemone, crowfoot has more sharply cut leaves compared to the smaller Wood anemone.


Saw a big black bear moving off of the roadway at the Mag Reserve, probably going between the Mag townsite and the Britt/Byng Inlet Landfill site.  And, again, a single Sandhill was walking between Big Lake and the pond across the Highway.  I suspect a nest nearby.  Still lots of nesting turtles.  Pickerel are starting to disperse but still some nice fish being caught in “The River”.  M.D. got a 9 lb – 3 oz pickerel last weekend up by the railway bridge.





20150614-15 Solstice is approaching …

… and the flora and fauna around Britt are growing quickly.




These Blanding’s turtles are busy laying eggs wherever they can find some sandy gravel, usually on roadside shoulders.




Soon Mama Red Fox will be taking the kits, cubs, pups on foraging expeditions


to find protein-rich turtle eggs in nests like this ravaged Snapping Turtle Nest:


New wildflowers are blooming … every few days we see something new


… like these wild blackberries.



Wild Geranium (Cranesbill).  This is a true geranium and shouldn’t be confused with the garden variety “geranium” which is actually a Pelargonium.



Cinquefoil one of the Potentillas.



Nannyberry, I think.   V. lentago?


Nice grass:


Great Blue Heron alongside Riverside Rd at Capt Keith’s place.


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Some warblers (again)….

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A nice calm day ..


Great celebrations in Chicago tonight!

PS  We’ve concluded that the unknown birdie at the end of  the last post is a Red Eyed Vireo.  Thanks for everyone’s expert help!




20150613 Ducks and other sights

As usual, a click on an image brings up the large version, enabling close inspection.  A “right click” brings it up in a new tab in your browser, usually.

This Mallard couple is cruising through the Canada Rushes nibbling on….





This proud momma takes her little brood out for a Saturday excursion.


While this proud mom has a rest break with her brood.


A song sparrow in the tag alders watches and sings.


A Yellow Goatsbeard shows it delicate structures.


This Eastern Phoebe is reducing the shoreline insect population.


I need help identifying this birdie.  “Little Dickie Birdie”??


Spring is moving along quickly.  Next weekend brings the first day of summer!

20150612 Rainy day, trip to Parry Sound and Loop to Orange Valley and Magnetawan

The rain provided some different views of the countryside and up close scenes so we stopped quite often to try to capture the sights of the day.  Click on the images to see the close-up effects of the rain.



A new flower for me… at the edge of a swamp…non-invasive Tufted Loosestrife:

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Has M. Monet been here?

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I am now convinced that Reddy Fox trails along the shoulders of roadways and feasts on both Snapping and Blanding’s Turtle eggs.

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I had an interesting chat with a neighbour here and learned that the  gentleman left that house in 1982/3 after being born there.  He now lives nearby but no longer farms  the land.  The last remaining farmer in the area cuts wild hay from that property for his cow/calf operation but all of the farms are growing over.

Although the storm clouds remained menacing, we got some nice calm weather from time to time.


This snowshoe (judging by the size of its hind feet) stopped to lick a bit of salty mud from the roadway.


On the A. E. Hitchcock movie set?


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Twin Rivers is looking quite summery now.


So is Big Lake!


Monet again??


More rain is forecast for Sunday.  Wind also giving yet another opportunity for photographers.


20150611 Some local blossoms and butterflies

A nice warm day so we checked out some nice blossoms in the  neighbourhood … (all of these are quite nice when you click on them to enlarge.)

Wild Rose on Old Still River Road


Irises in B’s and G’s garden on Old Still River road.



Highbush cranberry with well developed attractor blossoms


A Comma butterfly, I think on a fern.


Possibly a skipper.


While I am putting together these posts tonight, the little MacBookPro is doing a back-up of my imagery in the background onto a new 3TB Seagate drive that I got at Walmarts in Parry Sound yesterday for $129.99 plus taxes.  Amazing!

20150610 Trip to Sudbury birdies and flowers

We had a noon app’t in Sudbury so we ambled a bit on our way north, stopping on the Old Still River Road to see this Wood Duck…. a little closer with better light than the previous one …


On our way home, late afternoon we detoured into Burwash Industrial Farm to see this wonderful Bobolink  chattering on a pagewire fence.

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And then on a post:


I suspect that these are about a good as I can get with a Bobolink so now is the time to click on the bottom one (above) to see the birdie close up.

K.W. sent a new ID feature from The Cornell Lab called “Merlin” which uses your photo to ID the birdie..

Here is the link to MERLIN

Merlin will use the beak, the eye and the tip of the tail as part of the ID process.  You can download any of the above images by right clicking (Control click on a Mac) on the image and selecting Save Image As …

Use that image in Merlin to see how it works.  (read below first)

Not too good, eh?   Although Bobolink is on the List for Merlin., it didn’t come up in my trials … until I went through several hundred attempts.  When it did show, it only showed juveniles and females.  The ID page for Bobolink shows breeding males but NOT in Merlin.  Reminds me of eHealth and other gross screw-ups.

Merlin worked for lots of other birds and is a useful tool.  Now I feel obligated to find a feedback form with Cornell, send in a couple of the breeding male shots, and advise them of the screw-up.   Always something to occupy our valuable time, eh?

The fading rays of the sun highlighted the bud and unfurling bloom of this wild rose.


I drove around for a bit trying to mentally reconstruct what this place must’ve been like.  Unfortunately there is little documentation.  This “Abandonment Issues: Burwash Industrial Farm’s Camp Bison” is an interesting Photo Essay.  The old roadway to Camp Bison has been blocked at the CNR tracks.  Look through this blog to see the end of the road.

On the road back to Hwy 69, we stopped to enjoy the Iris versacolor  … along with other guests.


And tried to capture a RW Blackbird hidden in the tulles.


Here is that Bog Arum (Calla Lily) again, a week later.


There are some Sudburians who do a lot of photography at Burwash.  I think that I’ll make contact.

Tomorrow is truck-brake-replacement day.  Not much room for photography.  Maybe do some house/yard work!?


20150608-09 Local birdies and turtles are active

On Monday we trekked in on the Forest Access Road and saw a flitting Yellow Warbler.


The Highbush Cranberries are starting to bloom with the typical (Viburnum) sterile attractor blossoms surrounding the smallish fertile blossoms.


The goslings are growing very quickly.


All turtles,( Spotted, Blanding’s, Painted and Snappers) are nesting nowadays, often on the shoulders of roads.  Lady Snapper :



Tuesday was a  calm clear day, very nice for getting out in the blackflies!

I saw and photographed my very first Blackburnian Warbler.  It was very elusive, flitting from branch to branch



A skipper(?) on a blue flag:


Blanding’s turtle



.. shares a pond with a Painted…




Culvert is  getting clogged.  Roadway will flood in a couple of days unless the backhoe comes along to unplug it.  Beavers doing their thing!



Long shot of very very wary Great Blue Heron.



These guys are also singing.  Proper little divas!



Wood Duck on the Old Still River Road creek.


I think I saw about two dozen turtles the last few days.  A MNR biologist stopped and queried me about what I was seeing.  Apparently the Species at Risk group have blown my cover!    He also noted the intense nesting season this year.



Experiment:   Extremely bright reflection of direct sun off of lily pads.  At the limits of the lens/camera:  f/8 (f/22 equivalent for full frame cameras in terms of DoF and Diffraction) and 1/16,000 second (shortest shutter interval for this camera.)   Worth clicking on to see the specular reflections.  Converted to B&W.


Nice back-lit sprig of Wild Rose.



Jonathan Livingston patrolling Marlene’s Chip Stand.


“PLEASE, give me a french fry!”


Up to Sudbury tomorrow for a change of scenery.  I might detour to Burwash on the way home, if time and weather permits.





20150607 Local sights as we approach Summer Solstice

After breakfast we checked out the bush road across Hwy 69 from my driveway.  These two birdies were a long way away from me but about 50′ from each other, singing alternately.



The Chestnut-sided Warbler is quite common, but Indigo Buntings are rare around here.  For some strange reason the Bunting always appears on the same branch of the same tree.  The only one that I photographed last year was on that branch.  I also photographed one there earlier this year.  One of these days I hope to get a lot closer to one, to do it justice in a photo.

Along Riverside Drive we saw some of the usual start of summer blossoms…

The wind was up, causing this nice rippling backdrop to this cultivar Iris.


Canada Anemone are now out in full bloom.


And the Wild Roses are almost over.




Delicate starflowers are at their prime here now.


As are False Lily-of-the-Valley or another “Mayflower”.


Another “Silvery Blue” I think.


The “Blue Bead Lilies” are also at their prime right now.


As are the bunch berries:


Alas, this Massasauga Rattlesnake had been killed on Riverside Drive.  I think that it coiled with its last energy.  I moved it to the side of the road, where the local broadwinged hawk will probably eat it.

Why conserve a venomous snake?



In two weeks
, on the afternoon (EDT) of June 21st the sun will stop in its noontime rise above  the southern horizon and start going down again.

Solstice:  “The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.”

At Solstice our noon sun is (our Latitude + 23.4º ) about 69º above the southern horizon.  (46th parallel of North Latitude is just north of the HWY 69  bridge over the Pickerel River.  The 23.4º is the axial tilt of Earth.)

So the sun lingers near this high point for a few weeks having two effects:

1   Beaming solar energy more straight down onto the earth’s surface here resulting in a higher intensity of sunlight/energy.


2   Being visible in the sky for long days (~16 hours of daylight)

These two effects mean that a HUGE portion of the annual energy received at this location comes in during the 30 days centered on June 21st.  (The calculation of that amount of energy is left to Astronomers, Architects, Sundial Designers and other keeners who read this.   There are two integrals involved, one in each of the effects, both Cosine functions integrated over angle and/or time.)

Hence the HUGE change in  life activity during solstice,  since all life activity is energy dependent.

Although solar insolation is greatest at solstice, our average temperature is greater a month or so later due to thermal lag.  This was well studied by a guy named Joseph Fourier.


*These days when it is politically fashionable to trash fundamental science I thought I’d remind us of the legacy that we all enjoy from non-mission oriented science.

Besides when I saw the subtitle I realized that I hadn’t  included much PRATTLE in earlier posts.


20150606 Highway 522 and environs

We took the truck for a short drive this morning and noticed that the warm weather had significantly advanced blossoms and bugs.  Some examples:

This looks like either Wild Sarsaparilla or Bristly Sarsaparilla.  I can’t see a  bristly stem so I think it is the former. An interesting member of the Ginseng family.


“Footsteps of Our Lord”:


Trail behind Camp Dore.  Trilliums, Blue Cohosh, Jack in the pulpit have given way to Ostrich Fern on this unused Snowmobile trail.


Here is the pond near Grundy Lake PP again.  One beaver seen.  No Bitterns.

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Yet to be Identified moth/butterfly:


The Red Osier Dogwoods are starting to bloom.  They are great insect attractors.


Some sort of Hymenoptera or Diptera is pollinating.   That really IS its shadow below it.   Interesting reflection!


Fresh Nectar!


Another Skipper?


Tamarack cones are forming quickly


They are worth another view, eh?


Fleur-de-lis a member of the Iris Order, not Lillium.


The Swallowtail on the right is coming for a landing to join the couple on the ground.

Ménage à trois?   I have a lot of pix of these folks and will report my findings later.


You  can never tell where to find Clearwing Hummingbirds, eh?

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Yes, this is the pretty, much maligned, Orange Hawkweed along the shoulder of Hwy 522.

Lots of stuff to see out there!