20160728,29 Brandy and Sunrise

We went for a boat ride with son Paul and doggie Brandy.  Here is Brandy relaxing in her favorite spot on Floatboat II:


This morning we went for a scenic drive before sunrise.   This is a view of the Still River about 30 minutes before sunup.


This is a view of the East end of Byng Inlet, looking towards the CPR trestle a little later:


Back to the Still River a few minutes before sunup:


Looking South West a few  minutes after sunup.


Fiery skies at that time of the morning!

20160725 Local fruits, nuts, blooms, scenes

The high winds we’ve been having have slowed down picture-making.  But we did get out for a bit of sight-seeing.

Hard to resist these beautiful water lilies:



Tansy is blooming along the roadsides now …


And lots of Fireweed with lots of visitors, in this case a hover fly:


Either Prunus serotina or Prunus virginiana.    I think the latter, judging by the finely serrated leaves.


This Corylus cornuta is almost ready to harvest.   But it looks like some sort of borer got to one of these hazelnuts already.


Virgin’s bower, wild clematis is becoming quite common along the roadsides …


Early morning along the Still River:


We have been noticing a lot of grasshoppers flying around lately.  Here is the explanation:




20160722 Riverside Dr and Forest Access Rd

We inspected Riverside Drive to find these scenes:

A male Monarch, a bee  and Fritillary sharing milkweed nectar:


Flock of juvenile Canada Geese dabbling for wild rice seed before it surfaces.   This is not a good sign as it indicates a shortage of goose feed before the seed heads of the wild rice emerge above the water surface.


Male Twelve Spotted Skimmer at rest between meals…


Clouded Sulphur and Paper(?) Wasp share Goldenrod nectar.


Nice Cumulus clouds are building from daytime heating over the rocks.


In the previous post I identified that Hawk as a Broad-winged Hawk.  It might be a Merlin.  Any advice?  Many thanks for help.

If you like close-ups of insects and blooms, try this set of images.


20160717-21 Some birdies, bugs and blooms around Britt

Here are some close-up (and one far-away) sights seen over the last few days.

First a very special and uncommon Indigo Bunting in a leafless tree, next to the one that it(?) was in last year.  It stayed there a few minutes, sang a brief song and disappeared.  It is a real challenge to photograph against a bright sky because of its structural coloration.  One of these years I hope to see one when it is downsun from me.


This bouquet of Clematis virginiana (devil’s darning needles, devil’s hair, love vine, traveller’s joy, virgin’s bower, Virginia virgin’s bower, wild hops, and woodbine) reflects sunlight a little more simply, showing the structure in the petals.


And this Ringbill Gull stopped close enough to the car to let us photograph the structure of its iris.  [You may have to click on the image to see the iris up close.]


This  orange belted bumblebee, Bombus tenarius, is seen with increasing frequency, possibly because I am learning to pay more attention to roadside blooms, a thistle in this case.


This is the first male Widow Skimmer I’ve seen this year …. very fleetingly as it lit for only a few seconds.


Which was very different from this Lancet Clubtail, who hung onto that purplish stem for almost a minute, perhaps chewing up the flies that it caught out of the air.


The Black Eyed Susans at Wrights is a delicatessen for lots of bees, bumblebees and hoverflies:



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I came across this juvenile Broadwinged Hawk on the gravel road across from my place a couple of days ago.  Instead of flying off, it eyed me in the car and then approached quickly…

(Sorry, no iris with this one when you click on the image for a close-up.)


I carefully drove away, turned around and found it again, this time in the grass at the side of the road.   I didn’t notice the bug  near its mouth until I saw this image on the computer:


And it wasn’t until I saw the following image on the computer that I realized why this bird displayed such strange behaviour.   It had suffered an injury to its tail and couldn’t fly properly.   So it stayed on the side of the road and captured insects for its protein needs, until it heals and can go after its normal prey: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Broad-winged_Hawk/lifehistory

Broad-winged Hawks eat mostly small mammals, amphibians, and insects. They watch for food from perches on tree limbs (often below the canopy and in the forest interior) as well as places such as utility poles near forest edges. When they spot prey, they swoop down to snatch it from the forest floor. They only occasionally hunt on the wing. Their most frequent prey items are frogs, toads, and small rodents, but they have a broad diet that includes invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds (mostly nestlings and juveniles). Their invertebrate prey includes mantises, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, junebugs, click beetles, ground beetles, flies, spiders, earthworms, and crabs.


When I pulled into the driveway I saw this grey grasshopper, as yet unidentified:


A distant sparrow on pagewire fencing at Burwash, but which one?  Song?   Savannah?   Vesper?   (I think Vesper.)



Distant Belted Kingfisher, a very elusive birdie…


Murdoch River, again, this time in heavy rain…


Recently I was on a photography website conversing with a California photographer who is also a “content” photographer.   This is what he said:

I don’t control the subjects in my photos and conditions often limit my choice of my position relative to the subject.  When I see a subject I like, I do the best I can in the circumstances to get a good picture.  When I’ve captured the image, I try to appreciate the result for what’s worthwhile about it.  I don’t worry much about how it falls short of perfection.

Have a look at his and his partner’s photography:



Nice, eh?





20160715,16 Foggy morning, lots of bugs on milkweeds

We awoke to a chilly foggy day last Friday so we got out to see the last of the mist rising off of the Still River and to see some dewy blossoms. On a sunny Saturday we went down Hwy 529 to see a variety of insects feeding at the bunches of milkweeds.   Some samples:

Still River near Jane Steet:


Wrights Marina:


Wrights Black Eyed Susan:


Amy’s flock:


These juveniles have their flight feathers now:


Monarch caterpillar and tachinid(?) fly, one eating leaves the other getting nectar:


Great Golden Digger Wasp is a beneficial wasp, known to gardeners:


Hummingbird clearwing moth never lands to collect nectar but hovers, like a hummingbird.


Great spangled fritillary, mentioned in the butterfly section of Setting up a Wildlife Garden, a useful resource, especially for Ontarians.

It is sharing its space with an orange belted bumblebee:


Bee and hoverfly sharing:


This rattlesnake was purposely killed by an ignoramus who misinterpreted the roadside signs that say, “Brake for snakes.”



Ok, which fritillary is this one?

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Bees, foraging:


Grasshopper pauses before launch:


European Paper Wasp (?):


Judging by its nice new wings this might be a first local generation Monarch.  I hope so as I have seen very few migrants this year.


Bombus getting nectar while the sun shines ….




Hairstreak.   You chose which one:  Edwards or  Banded  or Hickory



Ontario has recently lost three butterflies to the influences of habitat destruction; the Karner Blue (last seen in Ontario in 1991), Frosted Elfin and the Persius Duskywing. All three of these butterflies are closely connected to lupines which are virtually non existent in Ontario now due primarily to habitat destruction. Interestingly enough a contributing factor to the habitat destruction, aside from the obvious urbanization, is man’s ability to control and arrest wildfires……an accomplishment in which we take great pride and rightfully so. Wildfires, however menacing to humans, are an essential element to the continuance of lupine ecology. Wildfires are responsible for suppressing competing growths which take over and choke the lupines out of their preferred environment. Since southern Ontario is one of Canada’s most rapidly developing areas it is probably only a matter of time before other butterflies such as the Wild Indigo Duskywing, Sleepy Duskywing, Mottled Duskywing, Scalloped Sootywing, Duke’s Skipper, Dusted Skipper and the Garita Skipper (all of which are on the endangered list) succumb to the pressure unless dramatic steps are taken.Blinking Butterfly

Duskywing having lunch with milkweed bug and wasp:


and now with an ant …


Ornate checkered Beetle with a Skipper in the background:


beetle with tachinid(?) fly:


A break from all of these bugs….


Great Black Wasp in the shade …


White Admiral, head-on:


Whoever did the trimming here seems to be a lot smarter than the person who trimmed the roads in the Britt area!


A big patch of pickerel weed at Big Lake:


Another species of wild rose is blooming now, a nice way to end this lonnnng post.


Uh, oh!

20160712-13 Manitoulin

We visited with kith and kin on July 12/13 and enjoyed some wonderful hospitality and conversations.  Made some pix also.   A sampling:

Gaily decorated pine tree on the road to Willisville.  The little rectangle, bottom right, is a solar collector so this must be quite interesting at night.


White quartzite of the La Cloche Mountains ….

“With an estimated age of 3.5 billion years, the La Cloche Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. The hills comprising the La Cloche Mountains are believed to have once been higher than today’s Rocky Mountains. They remain among the highest altitudes in Ontario.”


Frood Lake from Willisville …


Lake Manitou on a windy afternoon from Bass Creek Resort


Sunset at Bass Creek Resort …


July 13th sunrises along Bidwell Road towards Manitouwaning …



Sandhill Crane poses for photo.


High Falls picnic site on Highway 6 between Manitowaning and Sheguiandah, about 9 m high …


Morning mists off of Pike and Bass Lakes as seen from Bidwell Road …


Iconic garage at Bass Creek Resort …


Bass Creek …


Some birdies in the Irish Line roadside thickets:

Cedar Waxwing ,  quite different (white forehead, yellowish underbody, white undertail) from the Bohemian Waxwing, which we see here during the winter.


This Yellow Warbler was busy flitting from branch to branch while feeding on flying insects.


A glimpse of an American Redstart


One of the little Monet-like creeks under Irish Line.


Blue Vervain is blooming now …


We did a quick tour of Manitowaning

and saw this lighthouse built in 1886:


… and Heritage Park showing the Norisle and Burns Mill:


On our way to Wikwemikong First Nation


Holy Cross Mission, oldest Roman Catholic Church in Northern Ontario…


Ruins of the original church (immediately to the right of the current church above)


On the way back we stopped in Little Current to inspect the MV Victory I, tied up at the town docks.  It was commissioned from the St Laurent earlier this year.  Apparently she’ll be visiting Parry Sound on Aug 9th.


Looking towards Dreamer’s Rock, a good place to let the doggie have a drink and a run…


Trestle  remnants at a tributary of the Spanish River near Worthington:


A great trip!   Always something new to learn!