20170715 Part 2 of 2: Outing with Ray and Ivo – Burwash

Above photo:  Some of the original residents of the town of Burwash

On Sunday Sudbury photographers Ray Thoms and Ivo Lacle came down to check out butterflies etc in the Britt neighbourhood.  (Click on their links to see some excellent camera and processing work.  You also might want to check out “Making Pictures” up there in the header block.)

Part 1 shows what was seen along Hwy 529, this Part 2 shows what was seen at the former Burwash Industrial Farm.

Near the entrance these Ebony Jewelwings were seen mating in the little creek that runs though a road culvert:

Three females are depositing eggs in underwater vegetation while two males hover overhead:


At Neilly Lake, Ivo used his computer to send Loon calls from a bird app.  This Common Loon was attracted and seemed curious about the source of the calls.

It even put on its territorial display for our cameras.

After 10 minutes or so, they lost interest and paddled away to resume their fishing activities…

The European Skippers were skipping about in the abandoned Timothy hayfields (see Remarks here ) and nectaring on a variety of flowers, including this Ox Eye Daisy:

Perhaps a Shield beetle?

This dragonfly hanging onto a grass stem along the shore of Neilly Lake looks like a Black Meadowhawk ….

Honeysuckle berries are ripening.  Since these are cultivars, they may be edible, but I’m not going to try them! …

The lack of a second chestnut coloured band across it breast indicates that this is a male Belted Kingfisher posing for the camera — a very rare event with these skittish birds.

Lots of European Skippers were nectaring on Dianthus, ( AKA Pink, Sweet William)

Lots of Day Lilies remain at the former townsite …

This male Bobolink is resting (I would want to rest also after flying up from Central South America.  See Cool Facts in the link)  on a fence post in the open area …

This Savannah Sparrow doesn’t need as much rest.  It just came up from the Southern States to spend the summer with us.

I cannot ID this slender birdie.   Can you?

EDIT:   Mystery solved.  Click on the second image in the Photo Gallery at this Audubon Site.  Scroll down that page to see the effects of Climate Change on the migration of these Threatened Species.

In 2013 the Ontario Government published a Recovery Strategy for Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlarks.  It is worthwhile sifting through it for gems of information about these two Species At Risk.

This youthful American Kestrel was guarding the entrance to the site.  It might have hatched in the Kestrel box on a telephone pole near the former townsite.

This is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth … much bigger than the Snowberry Clearwing Moth.  Its forelegs are also pale coloured compared with the Snowberry’s black forelegs.

Spotted Knapweed, an attractive but nasty invasive species….

Pearly Everlasting are starting to bloom…. beauties!  And useful:

“The American Lady Butterfly uses pearly everlasting as a host plant for its young. In general, the damage is minimal and the plant fully recovers, although there are exceptions. The flowers are magnets for pollinators such as butterflies and bees, while the plant is said to repel some insects that gardeners may consider bothersome.”

A good time was had by all.   We’ll be looking forward to Ray’s and Ivo’s posts of their photos at their 500px websites:




20170715 Part 1 of 2: Outing with Ray and Ivo – Hwy 529

Above photo:  Morning Silhouettes from Old Still River Road

On Sunday Sudbury photographers Ray Thoms and Ivo Lacle came down to check out butterflies etc in the Britt neighbourhood.  (Click on their links to see some excellent camera and processing work.  You also might want to check out “Making Pictures” up there in the header block.)

Before their arrival I warmed up the camera by visiting some nice spots as the sun was rising through the morning fog.  Here is the Still River at St Amants Corner at 6:02 am:

CPR main line from Old Still River Road …

Still River from Farm Lane Road …

Much later, 9:30 the droplets of “fog” are slowly evaporating as the air warms up…

These two are worth expanding to full size, especially the upper one.

Droplets are slowly evaporating from the overnight blooms of this Evening Primrose…

Morning light is a good time to enjoy the colours reflected by  new leaves (that do not yet have fully developed red absorbing chlorophyll).


Great Spangled Fritillaries were abundant on the milkweeds.

I often use the rear underwing to get a good identification, so both of these photographs are useful for ID purposes.

This ragged but beautiful American Lady was flitting about on thistles …

The  common use of ‘American Painted Lady’ and the similarity of V. virginiensis with V. cardui makes this useful link an important aid in identifying these two species of beautiful butterflies. (That little white dot on each wing never fails.)

Enlarge this one to see a rascally American Lady sticking her tongue (proboscis) out:

I think that this (Second Generation since hibernation in Mexico) female Monarch has just deposited an egg behind her right foot.   The eggs deposited in mid-July will metamorphose into 3rd generation adults  around mid-August.  That generation will probably produce one more generation, the 4th, which will enter reproductive diapause so that their energy will be used for the long trip south.  The reproductive effort is strongest in second and third generations.  The first and last generations use substantial energy travelling.

Stocking up on nectar to mate and produce progeny.

This Orange Sulphur butterfly is probably first generation. It is nectaring to store energy for a second generation that may move somewhat south for overwintering in chrysalis form.

Part 2 of 2 will follow this Part 1 chronologically, but will appear above this on in the blog sequence.  Complicated, eh?


20170714 Hwy 529 in light rain showers

Photo above:  Raindrops are falling on Big Lake

We went for a drive along Hwy 529 during light rain showers to see the effects of rain on some scenes…

Here are a few examples of raindrops gathering on lily pads with “rebound drops” bouncing upwards after an impact with the water surface:

Next to a Fragrant White Water Lily…

Good example of surface tension …

Raindrops gathering on leaves and flowers …

Spreading Dogbane leaves always seem to avoid being “wetted”:

…  which  is quite different than the blooms of Wild Spirea

Mullein appears to be quite hydrophobic

This thistle not so hydrophobic…

Grass seed head seems to soak it up.  Not the Yellow Goatsbeard….

Inverted Coreopsis provides shelter for this tenant…

“Dropscapes” can be quite abstract at times…



Rebound drop up close…

I can remember, as a student, being amazed by Professor Harold Edgerton’s Milk Coronets in the early 1960s.

Nowadays it is a common art form with some advanced studio photographers.  Nice stuff.


20170713 Hwy 522 Highbush Cranberry, Tachinid fly, European Skipper, Red Admiral, Northern Spring Azure, Bristly Sarsaparilla, Tansy, Chicory

Above photo:  Sweat Lodge frame at Portage Lake


We stopped in at Portage Lake to see the wigwam and sweat lodge frames left from the Summer rituals celebrated at Solstice.

We also went for a short trip to see the sights along Hwy 522:

It looks like a good crop of Highbush Cranberries this year.


This looks like a Tachinid Fly which is visiting the last of the Common Yarrow for nectar…

Unknown beetle(?) up close and personal with what’s left of a Common Vetch flower.

Looks lie a European Skipper nectaring on a Common Vetch.

Tamarack cones are slowly changing colour from purple to brown …

Evening Primrose, Oenothera, are starting to bloom in earnest now …  we’ll be keeping an eye out for its pollinators since …”the bees which visit Oenothera are generally vespertine temporal specialists: bees that forage in the evening.”

And the  Great Mulleins are starting to bloom also, especially when close to a south facing rock, like this one:


Another of the many Red Admirals that we’ve seen this year, leading us to wonder if this year’s migration resembles the huge migration of 2012.


A newly seen tan, fuzzy, bee fly …. but which one???

A Northern Spring Azure  (there is some debate about this genus, Celastrina, in Ontario)

A nice simple Inuksuk:

Pale Corydalis still blooming!

Bladder Campion is starting to release  its seeds…

Bristly Sarsaparilla are starting to form their characteristic dark blue fruit..

Bombus is finishing the nectar in the florets of the Ox Eye Daisy.

Moss spore capsules are releasing spores…

Three different fern species in these two photos? …

Tansy is starting to bloom along the roadsides …  this one with a visitor…


So is Chicory ( aka blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, and wild endive.)…. related to these yummy edibles: endive, radicchio, radichetta, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf, and witloof (or witlof).


Have you noticed the new Gallery up there in the Title Block?

Try clicking on Selected Winter Photographs (in a menu under Gallery) to see a start to a new project.  Or you can just click here.




20170712 Rose, Coreopsis, White Water Lily, Heal All, Milkweed beetles, Monarch Caterpillars, Grass Pink, Elderberry, Softrush

Photo above:  Oft-photographed Big (Gereaux) Lake

The Highway 529 roadside showed some new sights….

This wild rose is in full bloom…

See the spider web attached to this Coreopsis …

Fragrant White Lily on metallic waterscape …

Heal-all in full bloom in lawns and roadsides …

A Red Milkweed Beetle is exploring the edge of this milkweed leaf….

Two more unidentified beetles on the popular Common Milkweed plant:

Two Monarch Butterfly caterpillars share a leaf with a visiting  spider …

Lunchtime in the milkweed patch….

A nice Dianthus ameria {or Grass Pink) along the roadside …

The (black-fruited) Common Elderberry is in bloom now.  Read Andy Fyon’s information about Red Elderberry (which is poisonous) and this Common Elderberry (which produces good berries for jams and jellies).  The Red Elderberry bloomed about a month ago.

This might be a young Differential grasshopper.

The grasses, sedges and rushes are blooming and “fruiting” now.  Here is a Softrush in full bloom:

And here is a  yet-to-be-identified plant, which we’ll keep an eye on:

Summer is upon us, at last.


20170709 Water Lilies, Day Lilies, Swamp Candle, Frosted Whiteface, Water Shield, American Crow

Above Photo:  Threatening weather over a barn on Hartley Bay Road.

After Sunday brunch with two fellow teletubbies and Ann, Bob and Grace at the French River Inn we went for a little excursion along Hwy 407 to the Murdock River.   First, the pond between 407A and the Murdock:

Little drop “bouncing” up after a raindrop hit the pond.

Little drop is barely visible in this one…

Always, always some critters in for a visit …


Aha!  The exception to prove the rule …  (or?)

Swamp Candles are starting to bloom, from the bottom up, like most racemes.  It is worth while to click on the photo to see the interesting structure/colour of each floret:

It took me a while to realize that Birdsfoot Trefoil will also grow with very wet feet.

A Frosted Whiteface is munching on some food while resting on a lily pad…

and while resting on a stick.  I could see its mouth parts working as it masticated:

A very nice pair of Day Lilies each with 6 anthers below a long stigma…

This diagram illustrates the structure.

On the way home we detoured to the pond on Hwy 522 and were fortunate to see:

Water shield in its very short and fascinating bloom period….

“Brasenia exhibits wind pollination. The flowers have a two-day blooming period. On the first day, the functionally female, or pistillate flower, extends above the surface of the water and exposes the receptive stigmas. The flower then recedes below the water surface and on the following day emerges as a functionally male, or staminate flower. It is elevated higher than on the previous day and the anther-bearing filaments are extended beyond the female carpels. The anthers dehisce, releasing the pollen, and the flower is then withdrawn below the water where the fruit develops.”

The next time you are in Hangzhou, try some Water Shield Soup.

Click to enlarge the image to see the delicate blossoms:

And, finally, we saw this American Crow along the Old Still River Road:

Mary Holland has some nice photography accompanying a good story about Loon chicks.


20170708 Hwy 529: Field Bindweed, Blue Bluet,Staghorn Sumac, American Redstart, Bush Honeysuckle, Ironwood


Above photo:  Tamarack swamp along Hwy 529

We took Hwy 529 to Moose Lake Trading Post for some Wild Cherry Frozen Yoghurt and stopped along the way to make a few pictures.

Field Bindweed, of the Morning Glory family is starting to bloom along the sides of the roads…

Tamarack cones are maturing and exuding sap.  I wonder if that is normal?

Some critter(s) have been harvesting these blueberries.   And Pink Edged Sulphurs have been laying eggs on the leaves of these Vaccinium.

Maybe a Boreal Blue Bluet.  Maybe not?

Coreopsis are maturing …

Some Yellow Goatbeards are still blooming, while others are finished with seeding.

Tall Meadow Rue against dappled water…

More dappled water….

Click on this grass panicle to see that it supports a  very fine web of spider filaments.


One of these days I find one of these out in the open with no wind.  I think that the breeze pushed this one away a few mm, affecting the focus.  Click on it to see the quality at mid bloom with the quality at the very top.

Female plants of Rhus typhina in flower complete with visitor which is nice to examine in close-up…

I was photographing this ripening Beaked Hazelnut ….

… when all of a sudden this birdie flew into view and then took off with my first shutter click.  I calculated that the encounter (find bird in viewfinder: 1 second +; Autofocus:  .3 second, release shutter: .3 second) took a total of <2 seconds to this  point.  within the next second the bird had braced for take-off, launched and disappeared.  I know that because I was shooting in (Medium) Burst mode.   This birdie doesn’t hang around singing like its spouse does!

Very interesting fruits of Ostrya virginiana   or Ironwood, which is rarely seen around here, as we are right on its northern limit.

Bush Honeysuckles are starting to bloom.   What is that spider doing there?

These Cinquefoils are starting to end their blooming period…