20150813 Teddy Bear’s Picnic

The severe late frost this spring destroyed the crops of low bush cranberries, huckleberries and blueberries in this part of Ontario.  Blueberries are an important food for black bears.  So they are not in good shape and are visiting us, sometimes causing problems.  In addition to the usual raids on garbage and bird/pet foods we’ve had two attacks on dogs recently.  And we have an eyewitness account of a bear killing and eating a mature Canada Goose a week ago.

Fortunately the choke cherries and black cherries are ripening, taking the edge off of their hunger.

Yesterday I came across a momma bear and her two cubs enjoying a morning snack along Riverside Road near Marcotte’s.  I stayed in the truck and managed to keep the doggies lying down on their seats.

First, one of the cubs checking out the photog from a patch of juniper (shintangle) bushes:


Mama peeking out from a choke cherry bush.


My only shot (ever) with a shaft of light illuminating a bear’s iris.


yum yum!


Time to move on….


15 minutes later, on my return trip, Momma bear surveyed the old Lachance Mill …


Then snuck off into the junipers with her family.


We hope that she’ll find enough food to keep away from humans.

2015085-7 Trip to Loring, Monarch cats,

Stopped along the way on our visit to Roxy’s in Port Loring:

Pond, just East of Grundy Lake Provincial Park:


Hallie B. viewing his fields from his classic MF tractor while mowing the boundary of his parents farm.  He stopped the tractor and visited with us in the truck.  We have mutual friends, it turns out.  Eddie (the fisherman) and he used to work for BOT Construction.


A little detour up the North Road yielded these views of an threatening sky:



Meanwhile,  back in Britt, a morning view of Byng Inlet.



A new bunch of Monarch “Cats” are devouring the milkweeds.  I have been searching for the chrysalises to no avail.

Now I have a plan and hope to find some over the next week or so as I think that this is the generation that will make the southern migration.



20150803 Monarch factory?

We checked out the milkweed patch and found a big crop of Monarch Caterpillars reaching maturity:


P1650809-1 P1650819-1 P1650822-1

A couple of km away this Monarch was collecting nectar from this plant named after Joe Pie:

It was very close to the big patch of milkweed across the road from W’s Marina so we might see some larvae there this year.  Good!!


I included this photo because it gets the variation in maturity of the flower head of this  spirea.:


Over the last week I have noticed that the warblers are no longer singing.  And I haven’t seen any.  I suspect that the  yellow warbler families have fledged and have started their southbound journey.

20150802 Bear on a stormy day

This afternoon we saw this lil cub in the field across the road.  It was eating the unripe choke/black cherries and took off right after this photo…


… bears are having a hard time with NO blueberries, few cranberries, NO huckleberries, and a light crop of cherries.

This is the field where the lil guy was foraging…. under an angry sky:



Meadow Rue (Thalictrum) seeds caught some raindrops.



And here are unripe black cherries after a shower:


Click on the above to see the image in the water droplet.


20150729-31 Greater Prairie Chickens at Burwash and local bugs

On the way back from Sudbury we checked out Burwash and visited with folks who lived in the town of Burwash before the Industrial Farm was closed in 1974. Many of them make a practice of camping near Cemetery Lake (the old townsite) over the August 1st Weekend.  They were very eager to point out the extraordinary self-sufficiency of the institution and its supporting facilities.  Whilst chatting we saw the deep grass moving, resulting in this photo: P1650603-1 … a group of female Greater Prairie Chickens were sneaking by.  These are probably remnants of birds that were earlier brought in from Canadian prairies where they are now extirpated due to habitat loss. “In May 2000, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the greater prairie chicken as extirpated in its Canadian range (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario).[3] It was again confirmed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in November 2009.[4]” It surprises me that, with the remnants of Bison (introduced to Burwash in 1940), Elk (Replenished at Burwash in 1940 and 1998-2001),  Chukar Partridge and Greater Prairie Chickens, the Burwash site isn’t  an area protected from hunters. Later we saw diptera and hymenoptera loading up on nectar  on thistles and milkweeds: P1650695-1 P1650719-1 All while we had some interesting skies due to  unstable convective conditions: P1650743-1-2 I haven’t been taking a lot of photos lately.  Working on some other projects and trying to get my boat into the water!