20170528 Burwash, Red winged blackbird, Buttercup, Painted Turtles, Crabapple blossoms, Eastern pine elfin, Wild black currant.

Burwash, Red winged blackbird, Buttercup, Painted Turtles, Crabapple blossoms, Eastern pine elfin, Wild black currant.

Before heading up to Burwash we visited Riverside Drive where we saw this Red Winged Blackbird singing on a flower stalk…

First buttercup of the season.  The waxy surface is  very reflective making it difficult to expose for a photograph.   A dull overcast day would be better for photography, but any bit of sun this spring is precious …

At Neilly Lake, the “featured image” at the top of this page, we have the usual buddies sunning on a log…

In the former residential section of the prison farm we saw a few flowering crabapples.   They were heavily beaten down by bears last fall —- just like the white one in my yard.


I think that this is an Eastern Pine ElfinRick Cavasin’s excellent site has a link to this map, indicating that they’d be around Burwash (South of Sudbury off Hwy 69/400)

Wild Black Currants  ( Ribes americanum) are spreading into the fields around the old townsite.

Here is that oft-photographed swamp off of Burwash Road, the link to Hwy 637 (Hwy to Killarney).

Sudbury Photographer, Ray Thoms has posted his very nice treatment of a Hobblebush flower that he composed on our trip to Port Loring last week (20170520).  Worth visiting to see the difference between my stuff  and his art.



20170527 Bracket fungus, Nodding Trillium, Yellow Warbler, Blue Jay, Northern Wild Raisin, Blooming Sedge, Brown Dragonfly, Wild Lily of the Valley, Blue eyed grass, Pileated Woodpecker, Family of Geese.

Various fungi are fruiting after the heavy rains we have been having.  This one sprouted on a dead elm tree and is hastening its decomposition…

Nodding Trillium …

One exposure of a Yellow Warbler at Alex’s tree … before it took off!

This Blue Jay was vigorously ruffling its feathers with its beak …

Northern Wild Raisin with visitor …

Blooming Sedge, Carex sp(?), showing pollen from upper male portion being distributed by the wind onto the female parts below…..

First Dragonfly of the season to be photographed.   We could do with  a few million more to help with the huge crop of black flies and mosquitoes this spring …

This Wild Lily of the Valley is starting to bloom early in this hot micro-climate of a south-facing rock crevice.

This small member of the Iris family, Blue Eyed Grass, is blooming along the gravelly  roadside of Hwy 529.

This Pileated Woodpecker has made at least 5 nesting cavities in brand new hydro poles.   Why so many?   Why new hydro poles?  I suspect that nests in hydro poles are easier to defend than nests in the Aspen trees that they normally use.   I have seen Woodpeckers chasing red squirrels away from nests in forests of Aspen trees.

Family on an outing.   This family is in the pond across the road from Big Lake.  I have seen it crossing the road and exploring the rocks along the shoreline.   All part of growing up, eh?

It looks  like we are going to enjoy some sunshine today.  Nice!!



20170526 Corydalis, cherries, ferns, yellow violet, Solomons Plume and Seal, Grackle

Corydalis, cherries, ferns, yellow violet, Solomons Plume and Seal, Grackle on another wet day …

Classic wet Pale Corydalis …

Choke or Black Cherry in the rain …

Compare with these Pin Cherries which have their blossoms spread out along the twig:


I am not yet certain of this fern … its beauty unfurls over a few days …

Very different from this branched Bracken Fern ….

Or from these Interrupted Ferns

This grass was blooming along a little stream.  First time I’ve noticed it. No ID yet.

The Downy Yellow Violets are blooming along Station Road…

And Solomon’s Plume (or False Solomon’s Seal) are about to break into flower.

In Diana’s garden, her Solomon’s Seal is will open its blossoms in a day or two….

Speaking of Diana’s Garden:

Meanwhile this Grackle is checking out its reflection ….

We are hoping to see some sunshine today.  It would be good for the pollinators and for the birdies who are stocking up on protein for their new broods.


20170525 Canada Columbine, White Trillium, Solomon’s Plume, Raindrops, Bird’s Nest, Hobblebush, Sheep Laurel, Cinnamon/Interrupted fern, Skerryvore Road.

Canada Columbine, White Trillium, Solomon’s Plume, Raindrops, Bird’s Nest, Hobblebush, Sheep Laurel, Cinnamon/Interrupted fern, Skerryvore Road.

These Aquilegia canadensis are approaching full bloom…


This T. grandiflorum is starting to fade, showing its pink colour before it turns purplish and drops off.

Maianthemum racemosum (treacleberry, feathery false lily of the valley, false Solomon’s seal, Solomon’s plume or false spikenard; syn. Smilacina racemosa, Vagnera racemosa)  has just formed buds for its “plume” at the end of the stalk.  This is a very common plant up here, often replacing the trilliums in sequence of blooming in open deciduous woods.

I took this photo because of the little balls of water bouncing up after the surface had been hit by a raindrop.  The reflections (of the cinqfoil?) is bonus.

I wonder if this nest will be resused?

Viburnum lantanoides (commonly known as hobble-bush, witch-hobble, alder-leaved viburnum, American wayfaring tree, and moosewood) displays its perimeter sterile flowers in the rain.  I will look for Spring Azure butterflies nectaring on the blossoms when we get some sunshine.

Here are a few difficult photos of Kalmia angustifolia, aka Sheep Laurel in the tamarack bog along Shebeshekong Road.   In this photo is is associated with Leatherleaf …

Here is it growing through a low (.3 m) branch of a tamarack.

I know the fern in the foreground but will have to go back to look more carefully at the patch of ferns in the background!


All of the ponds are full to brimming as the rain clouds threaten to deliver yet more water.

More rain is forecast for today.

20170523 Jack pine pollen, grandiflorum, erectum, cernuum, Columbine, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, American Painted Lady, Cedar Waxwing, Toothwort, Naiscoot River, Marsh Marigold.

Jack pine pollen, grandiflorum, erectum, cernuum,  Columbine, American Redstart, Chestnut-sided, American Painted Lady,  Cedar Waxwing, Toothwort, Marsh Marigold, Naiscoot River.

We had a nice day for a drive to Twin Rivers Bridge along Hwy 529.  We saw a large bear in front of the car ahead of us, but it had scrambled well into the bush by the time we arrived.    Here is a Jack Pine branch tip complete with pollen pouches at the base of the new shoot or “candle”.  In a few days a female cone will emerge from the end of the shoot to be pollinated by the great volume of pollen floating around.  Stand up wind and tap a cluster to see the amount!  Full story of the two-year process is here:  http://ohioplants.org/conifers/

Here are the three common trilliums common around here, in order of appearance:  T erectum, T  grandiflorum, and finally T  cernuum:



Canada Columbine in all of its glory…

American Redstart establishing a residence on Boucher Pit Road…


Unkown birdie …

Well known “mustard and ketchup warbler” … the Chestnut-sided Warbler… gleaning on a sugar maple…

Gleaning on a choke or black cherry shrub about to bloom…

American Painted Lady … flitting with short periods of standing …

Cedar Waxwing, possibly a local nester??

Apparently a good tart dip can be made from the roots of this Dentaria diphylla

Leaves are appearing after the blossoms of this wild plum …

Same clump of Marsh Marigold, again enjoying its reflection in some sunshine.

Looking upstream at the Naiscoot River Bridge…  The significant re-appearance of leaves spell the end of photographing those little warblers feeding on insects emerging from winter dormancy ….

…. and as the spring ephemerals become shaded by the forest canopies, their photos will be replaced by summer blossoms in this blog … along with a few  “summertime” photos, hopefully including some from “out on the Bay”!

20170521 Yellow Warbler, Lupin, Wild Raisin, Solomon’s Seal, blueberry, Lichens, Pale Corydalis, Pin Cherry, Red Maple, Juniper, Nodding Trillium, Columbine, Marsh Marigold

Yellow Warbler, Lupin, Wild Raisin, Solomon’s Seal, blueberry, Lichens, Pale Corydalis, Pin Cherry,  Red Maple, Juniper, Nodding Trillium,  Columbine, Marsh Marigold

We enjoyed a very wet, chilly day so stayed close to home grateful for having the long lens to shoot wild things from the dry warmth of the car.  And grateful for the beautiful colours and contrasts stimulated by the wetness.

This little Yellow Warbler is “Singing in the Rain” in Alex’s Driveway:

Dandelions blossoms are furled up in the rain while water droplets form on the hydrophobic Lupin leaves.


Water enhances the blossom bud of this Northern Wild Raisin…

Leaves of the Solomon’s Seal are also hydrophobic.   Notice the little “bellflowers” underneath the plant which distinguishes it from the much more common (here) Solomon’s Plume…

Blueberries are blooming but nothing is pollinating them in the rain …


The lichens are soaking up moisture …

Late blooming Pale Corydalis …

This Pale Corydalis is in mid bloom … some flowers are opening while others have matured to the seed pod, as seen on the uppermost blossom.

Pin Cherries always remind me of  that wonderful Shropshire Lad

Red Maple leaves enhanced by the wetness…

Developing seeds also …

Raindrops on Juniper …

A day ago I wrote a piece about the three common Trilliums that I see around here.  T. erectum, T. grandiflorum and T. cernuum

This photo shows why we rarely “see” this Nodding Trillium which is common in N. Ontario.

Here they are … enjoying the rain… the beautiful Aquilegia canadensis…. often called a “wild honeysuckle” instead of its more proper Canadian or Canada columbine, eastern red columbine, wild columbine.

And here is that clump of Marsh Marigold again… this time in the rain, with a few more inches of rain in the stream.  It is too troubled to see its reflection this time…

Ray Thoms did post an image of the Red Fox he saw on our trip Saturday May 20th….


20170520 Turtle, Lily Pad, Marsh Marigold, Pale Corydalis, Barren Strawberry, HobbleBush, Blueberry pollination, 3 Trilliums

Sudbury Photographer Ray Thoms and I went to the North Road of Port Loring to see what we could see.  Although it was very cold and windy we did see some interesting scenes.  Sharp-eyed Ray saw a family of foxes terrorizing some birds possibly nesting near or on the ground.   Here are some of what I saw …

Painted turtle in pond before Pakesley…

Lily pads are rising…

Marsh Marigolds are maturing …

Pale Corydalis are seeding … see the little legume, “pea” pods?

Barren strawberry  liking the sandy spots on Smith Bay Road.

First Hobblebush (another Viburnum related to Northern Wild Raisin and High Bush Cranberry) seen on Balsam Creek Road.  The link says that the Hobblebush is a nectar source for Spring Azure Butterflies which I’ve been seeing for a week or so.  There is a photo of one taken a few days ago in an earlier post here.

Click on the photo to see the very long proboscis of this bumble bee sucking nectar from these blueberry blossoms…

Another possible pollinator …


What is going on here?   Does this prove that blackflies actually DO pollinate blueberries?


(Another folktale destroyed.)


Speaking of folktales, this might clear up some folktales making the rounds about Trilliums.

There are five species of Trillium that grow in Ontario: Trillium Grandiflorum (Ontario’s Provincial Flower); T. erectum (Purple Trillium); T. cernuum (Nodding Trillium);  T. undulatum (Painted Trillium) and the endangered T. flexipes (Drooping Trillium)

The Endangered Drooping Trillium is only seen in a few places in SW Ontario…https://www.ontario.ca/page/drooping-trillium

I have never seen a Painted Trillium in Ontario, but Walter Muma has them covering the whole Province.

Here are the three that I see commonly in the spring.

The earliest bloomer is the Trillium erectum, also known as red trillium, wake-robin, purple trillium, Beth root, or stinking Benjamin:

Within a week after seeing the above,  the Trillium grandiflorum , white trillium,large-flowered trillium, great white trillium, white wake-robin will fill our woodlands…. to turn pinkish, purplish as they mature, leaving a seed casing behind.

Although very common, the latest to bloom around here is not often seen.  The Trillium cernuum (nodding trillium, nodding wakerobin, or whip-poor-will flower)  is just starting to bloom now.

Its blossom is about half the size of the grandflorum and hangs down, under the triplet of leaves at the top of the plant.  See the unfurled flower bud hanging down in the middle of this photo?  In a day or two that flower will bloom for a few days, splendidly obscured from sight from all but those who know how to find it!

Marsh Marigold looking in the mirror:

Oft photographed scene at high water ….

Field of narcissus and daffodils just west of  Loring crossroads…

I see that Ray has posted a photo of Trilliums on his website.   Maybe photos of the fox family will also appear.

20170517-19 Plum, Wild Raisin, Pale Corydalis, Marsh Marigold, Trillium, Columbine, Blueberry blossoms,Geese family, Warblers, Thrasher, Turtles

We had a spell of warm weather before the May  18 fierce Cold Front brought in the  Continental Arctic air mass (cA) dropping morning temperatures to freezing.  During the warm spell we found these scenes….

I have been keeping my eyes open for this wild plum.  They are on almost all  of the back roads around here.  Sometimes the fruit, a small purplish plum matures.  Usually a black fungus consumes them during the summer.

Brown Thrasher eluding the photographer… near the northern boundary of its range.

Chestnut sided Warbler singing and gleaning near Big Lake.  It flits quickly so I was lucky to get these good photos:

First Family of Canada Geese ….

Another close-up of Northern Wild Raisin.   Soon that bunch of buds will expand into a white flowerhead typical of Viburnums.

Nice Pale Corydalis …

Little Painted Turtle in the ditch across the road from Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park…

May 19 was very cold.  Many flowers remained closed until noon.  Few insects were flying about.  And the birdies were quiet.  Resting.  So we got some flower pix …

Marsh Marigold in the spring stream along Boucher’s Pit Road…

The texture of Ontario’s Flower illuminated by a nice backlight…

First Aquilegia canadensis in bloom along the Boucher Pit Road…

Yes, the bright yellow chin and domed shell IDs this turtle as a one of the Species at Risk in Ontario.  When I stopped to photograph this fellow, I waited until the next car came along.  Its driver stopped to take its photo.  When the turtle reached safety we both drove off.  The other drive said that she often sees these turtles on this stretch of Hwy 529.

First appearance of this Lion’s Tooth seed ball.  This article from Mother Earth News says this:

Dandelion Gastronomy

All parts of the dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses. It has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic. In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion. Dandelion roots can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to a salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters. The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking.

Do you remember this:    In Douglas’ words: “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”  ?

Enjoyment by humans seems to be a better fate for these plants than poisoning by humans, eh?

These Cattail  flowerheads are always good for the imagination:

Now, if we can just avoid another killing frost,  like a few years ago….. blueberry pie in August.

Time for a snack!


20170515-16 Sandhills, A T Sparrow, Bumblebee, Beefly, Hawk, Redstart, Nashville Magnolia Warblers, Kestrel,

It is getting busy out there …. especially on warm days.   This is what we’ve been noticing the last few days:

A pair of Sandhill Cranes on Boucher Pit Road, just before they launched…

American Tree Sparrow, with its characteristic bicolour bill:


Bumble Bee pollinating the pistils of a female willow catkin …

Another bee-fly.  This one is not as big as the Bombylius major that was nectaring on the Coltsfoot flowers a few weeks ago.  It also nectars with its wings beating while the bigger one stands on the flower while sucking nectar.

Hmmm.  ??

Willow leaves unfurling.  This seems to happen very quickly.  The leaves completely unfurl over a couple of days.


Difficult question:   Cooper’s  Hawk or a Sharp Shinned Hawk?

Coopers/sharp shinned hawk??  http://www.audubon.org/news/a-beginners-guide-iding-coopers-and-sharp-shinned-hawks

Nice pictures, though.


American Redstart in song at Big Lake…

Same place, a day later …   Maybe the same birdie establishing its territory.

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry, chuckleberry, currant-tree, Juneberry, Shadblow Serviceberry, Shadblow, Shadbush, Shadbush Serviceberry, Sugarplum, Thicket Serviceberry)  In our area I’ve  yet to see full term fruit as there seems to be some sort of blight or rust that shrivels the berry by mid summer.  Too bad as the berries are very sweet, making a nice pie.

Less artistic but more biologic photo from the same bush:

Nashville Warbler, also at Big Lake, across the road from the American Red Start.

Native bee (?) pollinating wild strawberry plant…. mmm.

Acer rubrum female flowers  are moving right along …

Pussytoes.   As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry ( 20170510-11 ):

Mary Ann Borge discusses the amazing Plantain-leaved Pussytoes here:


Our local Field Pussytoes ( Antennaria neglecta) apparently have the same methods of reproduction and similar relationships with pollinators, including the caterpillar of the beautiful American Painted Lady, which we’ll see in another month or so.   I will pay a lot more attention to the flowers (which are budding now) in a week or two.


Another Warbler seen at Big Lake, just once.  It might have been passing through as Georgian Bay is near the southern limit of its breeding range.

American Kestrel from a looooong ways away.

My sister sent me this photo of Morels from their property near Campbellville, ON.

Beautiful, eh?

If you are a wild mushroom forager you’ll know to avoid Gyromitra  as Mary Holland advised in her latest post:




20170512-13 Butterfly, Rough Legged Hawk, First Warbler, Grouse, Turtles, Blue Cohosh

We enjoyed some warm weather which brought more spring flowers out providing pollen and nectar for various pollinators, flies, bees, flying beetles, butterflies and moths.

Very small butterfly, probably one of the “morphs” of Northern Spring Azure:

First Warbler of the season, gleaning some blooming tamarack (see the little purple blossoms in front of the birdie?).   If you want to get into the intricacies of gleaning here is a study for you.

First migrating hawk of the season, a big fellow, with a wingspan  greater than a metre on top of a new power pole along Hwy 529.

After photographing the Rough Legged Hawk (on its way to its breeding area in the arctic tundra)  we went to check on the Trilliums at Twin Rivers, where the Naiscoot and Harris Rivers join.

An hour and fifteen minutes later we came back to see it on a nearby pole.   I got this one exposure before the camera died with an exhausted battery.

So I grabbed the ever-ready Panasonic FZ-1000 and focused on the bird just as it took off:


The next day I played peek-a-boo with this lady as she fluffed on a little pile of dry earth near Boucher’s Pit Road.

It was nice and warm which brought out this gang of turtles.   See the Blanding’s Turtle among the Painted Turtles?  If you go to the Blanding’s Turtle’s link you will learn that it is a Threatened Species at Risk,  matures at age 25 and can survive in the wilds for up to 75 years.

This really shows the difference between the Blanding’s in front of the two painted turtles.  Here is a wonderful article on Painted Turtles.

A first for me!  A little Nashville Warbler gleaning some willows on the Forest Access Road near the old mill.

Another first!   Seeing and recognizing Blue Cohosh as it matures.  The vestige of the blossom is on the right hand side of the photo, taken on the east side of Old Still River Road near the “Corner Fence Post”.

Blue Cohosh again, a little further advanced this time …

Some sort of wild plum on the East side of Old Still River Road, between the two main culverts.

We’ll keep and eye on these to see what they bear…

My best photo showing the two different catkins of the Paper Birch.  When I went to the very good Paper Birch Plant Watch site I came across this interesting article describing the events of spring in Simcoe County (between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay).

Citizen Science is making great progress.    I will be checking out this very powerfull app with my iPhone one of these days….


and I will check out this aggregation of nature blogs (when I can take time away from making pictures and learning a bit about nature!):