20150621 Summer is here!

Diana’s garden is resplendent with lilies bursting forth ….

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I saw a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth doing a recce for half a minute but it didn’t land.

Mom, Dad and Uncle shepherding their little flock on the Still River:

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Cow Parsnips (Not to be confused with the very dangerous GIANT HOGWEED) seem to attract large numbers of a variety of pollinators.

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This wild pea grows in association with Tufted Loosestrife and Blue Flags in wet areas along Hwy 529.

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These  Harris’s Checkspots spent many minutes doing what came naturally.   I didn’t see any flat topped white asters around but will look for them now.

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The white water lilies are rising!

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On the way home I saw this Heron sneaking out of a swamp.  Amazing camera, to get that bird in autofocus with a telephoto lens set at 400 mm Effective Focal Length.  I was lucky to get it.

Then, a little further on, as I turned the corner ….

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… it JUMPED OUT OF THE WATER, just as I got the camera on it.

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WOW!

 

20150619 Venus, Jupiter & Moon

We were lucky to have a clear sky on Friday night so I went to Big (Gereaux) Lake to view the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Moon after sunset.  Here is a record of the apparition:

Actually, before the apparition.  As I was parking the truck this flock few by:

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A while later I could just see Jupiter, 10 O’clock to Venus which is 12 O’clock to the sliver of the moon.  You can see the reflection of Venus right at the bottom of the frame the bottom of the frame, below Venus:

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Here are the three and reflections of two:

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I was shooting hand held as the mosquitos were fierce!  This is at the limits of what I can do, propped against the windowframe of the truck. 1/6 sec, f/3.3,  ISO 400

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Click on the bottom  two images to see reflected sunlight from Earth reflected back to us from Moon. Tricky exposure.

Earthshine in a conjunction is a beautiful sight, eh?

Although the conjunction will be even more impressive  tonight, the forecast is for cloud to cover our neck of the woods this evening.   Too bad.

20150617 Great Blue Heron Aerodynamics

Last Wednesday, on the Old Still River Road, I saw a GBH coming in for a landing.  So I stopped the truck, grabbed the camera and let the Autofocus on the FZ1000 work its magic to get this sequence …

Flaring just before landing.  Feathers on top of wing are (F)luffing indicating a full aerodynamic stall

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The high drag of the stall and loss of lift enables a good landing for the big birdie.

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Landing gear fully extended for a gentle landing.

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Down on terra firma.

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After take-off:

Wings are starting down stroke.   Not nice smooth surface of upper wind indicating nice laminar flow giving lots of lift and low drag.

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Middle of the downstroke:

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End of downstroke, beginning of lifting of “elbows”:

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Amazing bird!

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.

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

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Sedges have edges, grass has joints.  Grass inflorescence.

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Unknown dragonfly  …

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

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Canadian or Eastern Tiger SwallowTail.

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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.

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

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Widow Skimmer, I think.

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Bright male housefinch.

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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.

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“Nevermore”?

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

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Viceroy or Monarch?

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White Admiral

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

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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).

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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.

t

20150616 Some more spring blossoms

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

Hackmatack  cones are progressing …

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This showes why these geraniums are called cranesbills.

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

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

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

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Pin Cherry, Prunus pensylvanica

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

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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.

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

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

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B and L’s  fragrant walkway of thyme.

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Very curious painteds, stretching out in the warm sun.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

 

… like these wild blackberries.

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

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Cinquefoil one of the Potentillas.

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Nannyberry, I think.   V. lentago?

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Nice grass:

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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 ..

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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!

 

t

 

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….

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grasshoppers!

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

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

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A song sparrow in the tag alders watches and sings.

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A Yellow Goatsbeard shows it delicate structures.

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This Eastern Phoebe is reducing the shoreline insect population.

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

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