20160606 Parry Sound Trip blossoms, bugs, Blanding’s, Geese, Highway safety.

We detoured via Hwy 529 and Shebeshekong Rd on the way to and from Parry Sound on Monday to see the sights.


The Cranesbills are just starting to blossom out now.  As the link indicates, the flowers that gardeners call “Geraniums”  aren’t.

(And if you look carefully you’ll see why real geraniums are called cranesbills!)


Turtles are moving now,  often crossing roads to find suitable nesting spots.  This  Snapping Turtle walked about 20 metres along the shoulder of this road before heading off into the grass when I stopped for a look.


Distant Fritillary Butterfly on Labrador Tea blossoms.

If you Google “Fritillary” you will see some beautiful plants and learn the origin of the name “Fritillary”.

Harvest the fresh leaves of Labrador Tea in the fall, the leaf with a fuzzy orange underside, for tea in a pinch. 3 or 4 leaves in a litre of boiling water is sufficient.  It has toxins so I do not recommend it.

I prefer Earl Grey flavoured Monarda (Bee Balm, Bergamot) but don’t drink it any more as I don’t have ailments (that I talk about, publicly).  Although commercial Earl Grey tea is made from Bergamot orange the leaves of Monarda taste and smell the same.  Monarda fistulosa grows wild around here and will start blooming in July.


Another pollinator, Orange belted Bumblebee.    Those are last year’s leaves on the stem and are NOT what you use for tea this fall.  Use the fresh leaves emerging in the above photo.


The Fragrant White Water Lilies are starting to blossom now:


The warmer ponds are producing nice fields of Fleurs, like this one blooming in a roadside ditch:


Escaped Day Lilies will bloom in profusion over the next month or so:

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Cornus canadensis (Canadian dwarf cornel, Canadian bunchberry, quatre-temps, crackerberry, creeping dogwood) has a neat trick, a challenge for high speed photographers.


Here is the Species At Risk (S.A.R)  Blanding’s Turtle, used as a political football by folks who substitute politics for science.  It certainly is at risk, but not because of windmills.  Many (along with Spotted Turtles) are removed from Northern Ontario for sale as pets in other jurisdictions.

This female is prepping a nest South of the Twin Rivers Bridge, just outside the S.A.R. Study Area that the Magnetawan IR is sponsoring with the “Snake and Turtle Lady”  (Cory K.) leading it this year.   If you see a Blanding’s or a Spotted in the area, I’m sure that the Mag Band Office (705-383-2477) would like to hear about it .   Eastern Hog-nosed snakes too!

Magnetawan  protects species at risk.

Youth helps species at risk.



In an earlier post I showed the nesting area of this family, then a picture of them scrambling over a rock face.

When I stopped to watch them the adults started their neck actions indicating alarm.


They swam to the rock face were a parent led the goslings up the hill.


The lead parent used its wings to hop up the big (.5 m) step, leaving the goslings stranded.  Meanwhile a turkey buzzard took a couple of extra turns on its orbit overhead.  Then it left.

So did I, as I finally realized that I was not helping the situation at all, but was a source of stress.


Mandatory artsy photograph:   I quite like the view along the bog with cotton grass adding bits of depth, under an interesting sky.


Northbound on Hwy 529 I came upon this strange marker while approaching a slight vertical and horizontal curve.


No other warnings (pylons, construction boards, etc)  around, just this.  Maybe these hazard warnings are used by DBIservices in other jurisdictions.  (Alabama? Ozarks? Southern Ontario?)


Interesting world that we share with other fauna.

I just came across this wonderful document.  It is downloadable for easy reference and study.