20180525 Trip to Loring, Trilliums, Blue Coshosh, Jack in Pulpit and birds


Reflections of trilliums in a vernal pool

We made a day trip to Port Loring to see the trilliums in all of their glory.

Here they are as seen through an Ultra Wide Angle 14mm EFL lens:  (Click on the images to zoom in.)

Sharp-eyed viewers will notice the pink trillium 1/3 from the left in the 14mm EFL shot above and the stinking Benjamin 1/3 from the left in the 14mm EFL image below…

Similar area, this time with a “normal” 70 mm EFL lens:

Compare the above wide angle images with this telescopic image below — made with the 800mm EFL lens.  I wanted to show the texture of the petals as a result of light rain…


All of the rest of the pictures in this post were made with my 200-800 mm EFL lens.  

I find the fractal textures in the image below to be appealing.

This group of Turkey vultures formed this classic image out of old western movies but on the Old Still River Road….


The light rain gave some texture to these Amelanchier canadensis (?).  Unfortunately they all suffer from some sort of blight and I’ve not seen any ripen to maturity in the Britt area.   Too bad as their berries make a very nice pie.

Blue Cohosh on Old Still River Road, nearing the end of its bloom.

Young Jack-in-the-pulpit behind Dore’s Camp at Key River …

Peek-a-boo on Hwy five two two!

All of the following pictures were made on Balsam Creek Road, a little loop off of Hwy 522 east of Ess Narrows. I usual make the detour as the flora in that rich forest is very interesting … and pleasant………..

First time seen this year.  First time ever seen on a trillium.  I normally start to see them in early June when the lilacs are in bloom.  Hemaris diffinis or Hemaris thysbe

Two nice photographs of stinking Ben…

The first of the viburnums are in bloom with their characteristics infertile blossoms attracting pollinators to the fertile inner blossoms.  The simple but heavily veined leaf identifies it as a Hobble bush.

Clintonia borealis is also known as blue-bead lily or Clintonia, also Clinton’s lily, corn Lily, cow tongue, yellow beadlily, yellow bluebeadlily, snakeberry, dogberry, and straw lily and will be blooming in rich hardwood forests over the next few weeks… usually signalling the start of our purple ladyslippers…

These Carolina Spring Beauties are continuing to bloom.  Illinois wildflowers describes the closely-related Claytonia virginica.

Walter Muma  compares the two species:

Carolina spring beauty.

Narrow-leaved spring beauty.

Books about photography say that real photographers should make pictures of an odd number of blossoms.  The one above breaks the rules.

So I had to include this one:

And this is an odd number of stinkin’ Bens:

This Red-eyed Vireo was busy gleaning the new maple leaves at the west end of Balsam Creek Road.

Mary Holland has some interesting comments about Male American Redstarts

Rich has published his Memorial Day weekend forecast for the Mid Atlantic States — a good indicator of things to come up here in the sticks.

20180524 Big Lake and Britt – Birdies & Blossoms


Early morning at Big (Gereaux) Lake

Warm weather is finally upon us, so there is lots of growth and movement out there.

We are starting to see these Silvery Blues flitting along our roadsides.  Whites (probably Cabbage Whites) often accompany them as they pollinate some of the ephemerals.  No photos of the Whites yet.

The brilliant blue indicates a male…

I have never seen a pollinator on a Pale Corydalis.  It must have a special apparatus to get into that long tubular blossom.  Illinoiswildflowers suggests long-tongued bumblebees.  These wildflowers bloom all summer and are easy to grow.

A Yellow Warbler on a Big Lake Ash tree…  I am starting to listen to the birdsongs at that site, as an aid to finding them.

This Red-breasted Nuthatch was also flitting around in the ashes at Big Lake.   Although I’ve never heard it in the wild it seems to have a very unique call.

This mother goose is keeping an eye on me from its nest near Raby’s Camp Road on Hwy 529.

American Redstart in my yard.   I will have to train my ears to detect the difference in its song with the Yellow Warbler.

I debated including this Trillium but decided to do so because it is one of the few times, I’ve seen a beetle in this flower.   This is the closest I could come to ID’ing it, but it is definitely not a longhorn!

The pincherries (Prunus pennsylvanica) are just starting to bloom now.   Every year they remind me of “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now ….”  Unlike A.E. Housman it took me a lot more than 20 years to fully appreciate spring cherry blossoms.  Alas, methinks I’ll not get another 50 to appreciate them as I am well past my allotted three score and ten now….

Ontario’s flower in side-light …

One of my favourite springtime flowers:

No, not a honeysuckle (Lonicera) but an Aqualegia.  In fact, Canucks should know it as Aqualegia canadensis….

This little microclimate is encouraging the early blooming of wild black currant.  That currant makes a good jelly and apparently, good wine.   I used to have some on my property but quickly removed it when I saw some white pine blister rust in the neighbourhood.  Alas, too late.  I lost a nice Pinus strobus to the disease.

I saw this beautiful cedar strip sailboat at Bayfield Inlet.  It was named Swallows  & Amazons and sported a nicely carved tiller and retractable keel in a casing.  Very nicely finished.

I often stop to marvel at this rock face about a km east of Bayfield Inlet on 529A.

Sometimes the light is right to reveal the tortured history of this spot.

This male Red-winged Blackbird is too busy trying to impress the ladies to pay any attention to local geology.  Listen to the variety of his calls…

Mama and Papa Geese are taking the quints for an outing on Byng Inlet, on Riverside Dr….

And these stigma are still there as the leaves burst forth!

Yes, one of my favorite bud-blossoms, Corylus cornuta

One has to be alert in August to beat the mammals and birds to the harvest!!!

I think that this is a moth of some sort.  HELP!

Yesterday I got another installment in a blog that I just started following.

I couldn’t have said it any better:

  • Every now and then wonder if readers of this blog think that they have to go deep into a forest or climb hills to see the things that I see, so I make a point of doing posts from places like dowtown Keene, or my own yard, or the local college. I do this to show that nature is truly everywhere, even in the heart of a city, so all you really need to do to find it is go outside. This time I’ve chosen roadsides, because just about anyone can walk along a road. It doesn’t have to be a wooded road like the one in the photo. I needed a shot of a road for this post and that one happened to be the most photogenic, but it could be any road anywhere.

20180520-21 Ephemerals are well on their way

The leaves of the poplars, willows, alders, maples, are starting to unfurl now, leaving little more time for the spring ephemerals to get energy from Sun. Although the forest floor is coming alive with trilliums, trout lilies, carolina spring beauties etc, I am not seeing many pollinators.  Maybe, hopefully, they are just delayed.

Calm water at Big Lake…

Provincial emblem near Twin Rivers…

Yellow Warbler at Big Lake…

Two Interrupted Ferns having a tête-à-tête.

Uh-oh!  A full meeting of them…

One of these has a visitor….

In a few weeks we’ll be snacking on wild strawberries.  Yummy!

This songbird sang and sang and sang from high up on a dead tree.    I had never seen nor heard a Brown Thrasher doing that before.  The link has a very good example of their songs.

I recently subscribed to https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/  mainly because of the great photography and information at this post:   https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/bud-break-and-other-forest-secrets/



20180518-19, Yellow Warblers, Catbirds, Cooper’s Hawk and ephemerals in the rain

We enjoyed some sunshine and May showers while seeing some spring sights…

A pair of catbirds were feeding on the staghorn sumac fruit at Big Lake:

They also did some mating dances in the Tag Alders:

European Starling posing in the grass.   They seem to like being around humans….

Cooper’s Hawk checking the road ditch along Hwy 529:

As usual, this little Yellow Warbler gave its location away by singing.  Click on the photo to see it closer …

A little closer, click for close-ups …

These unfurling ferns are NOT FIDDLEHEADS (hairy stems, lack of brown papery covering) …

This Trillium is also unfurling …

The next day rain showers gave some interesting textures to the Trilliums …

… and to the first Canada Columbine of the season …

Mary Holland describes Dwarf Ginseng flowering in New England.  I have yet to see this plant or its relatives up here.


20180511-17 Spring ephemerals and Common Yellowthroat Warblers arrive

The high noonday sun and longer days are combining to accelerate the advances of flora and fauna this late spring.  Many phenomena that usually occur over a week or so are happening much more rapidly this year — often over a period of a few days.  So it is an exciting time to be out and about.

The placement of dockage, and a few boats at St Amants Marina is a sure sign that summer is on its way:

This ruffed grouse is scurrying, perhaps to develop a nest in a  more private place…

Marsh Marigolds are emerging from the reeds and cattail marshes to display their golden blossoms.

This American Red Squirrel is starting to scamper away from the nosy photographer…

First Painted Turtle of the season basking in afternoon sun …

This year’s crop of Beaked Hazelnuts appears to be light.

This Common Grackle is enjoying the sunshine, generating some iridescence with its feathers.

This Mallard drake is using the same phenomenon to generate that iridescent green on its neck.

Some White Trilliums have unfurled almost at the same time as T. erectum.

A (nice?) abstraction ….

More Marsh Marigolds:

First Pale Corydalis of the year …

This illustrates that the microclimate in the region of the leaves influences the rate of advance…

I was lucky to hear, then to see and quickly photograph this Common Yellowthroat Warbler at Big Lake.

Early Saxifrage are in full  bloom now …. but the normal buzzing of pollinators seems to be missing this spring …. something to pay attention to as spring progresses.

Stinking Benjamin alright!

Carolina Spring Beauty is abundant this year (beautiful and tasty?)

Trout lily bulbs are also said to be edible —- in small quantities.

In a few days the floors of our deciduous woods will be dotted with Ontario’s flower, T. grandiflorum.

20180509-11 Spring is coming quickly. Geese nesting, savannah & chipping sparrows & wood ducks are pairing, broad-wing hawks hunting, trilliums & bloodroot unfurling, trout lilies, spring beauties, saxifrage & dutchman’s breeches are blooming

Clear skies gave us frosty mornings but warming days, encouraging both flora and fauna to start the new season quickly.  The smelt, suckers and pickerel are spawning simultaneously, the migrant birds are moving northward.  Friends have reported the arrival of Ruby-throated hummingbirds during the last few days.

Activities are delayed compared to the early spring we had last year, when we saw Canada goslings during the first week of May.

This Canada Goose was keeping a wary eye out on her nest seen from Hwy 529:

This Early Saxifrage was trying to attract pollinators in the rocks just north of Twin Rivers…

The willow catkins are quickly maturing.  This link gives a good  summary of how willows propagate.   And this link has some good photos of catkins for American Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Ostrich ferns (aka Fiddleheads) are starting to unfurl…

This is the only evidence of T. grandiflorum that I’ve seen so far, at its usual spot on the north side of Hwy 522 between Grundy Lake PP and Pakesley.

This Savannah sparrow was occasionally serenading, perhaps to attract a mate.

So was this Chipping Sparrow.

Up along the Jamot Lumber road we saw Carolina Spring Beauties in profusion.

And trout lilies

Bloodroot was found about 13 Km in on the Jamot Lumber Road in very rich soil in association with ramp, trout lilies, wake robin, dutchman’s breeches.

Wake-robin, (T. erectum) starting to unfurl.

And Dutchman’s breeches in full bloom …

This pair of wood ducks left a small vernal pool to scamper off into thick bush.  I was lucky to get this photo of them as they paused to glance backwards…

Here is a broadwinged Hawk, eyeing the guy sticking a camera out of a car, before flying off …

Unfortunately we saw no pollinators.  Many of these plants are dependent on bumblebees for pollination but the temperature was still to cold for them to forage.  Fortunately many of the above wildflowers also propagate asexually using rhizomes, tubers, bulbs, corms etc.

The Times, They Are A-Changing ….. quickly!

20180501-05 Buffleheads, fog, Kestrel, Moose, Coltsfoot

Spring arrived in a rush.  The moisture in warm air coming in from the southwest condensed as it ran over the colder land, snow and water.  Birds were migrating and the first of our wildflowers were seen

The dock poles at St Amants Marina are freed of ice….

Fog forms over this swamp on Burwash Road…

Japanese-like scene on Murdock River Road …

Interesting patterns of water, ice and snow at the Highway 522 pond between Grundy Lake PP and Pakesley.

Morning radiation fog at St Amants…

Coltsfoot blooming in a gravel quarry off of Avro Arrow Road.   The sun had warmed up the well-drained gravel, signalling the it was time for the plant to flower, attracting some pollinators…

An American Kestrel pauses for the photographer on her annual migration north.

Mother goose eyes the photographer (from a nesting place?)

A pair of Buffleheads pause in their diving behaviour.

A molting “swamp donkey” is munching on red maple shoots as it hides from the photographer at the Hwy 637 / Hwy 400 intersection.

We are expecting an explosive spring as the noon sun is high in the sky and the days are long, giving lots of solar radiation over about 14:40 hours of our 24-hour day.  In about 6 weeks we’ll peak with another hour of daylight.  So lots of flora and fauna will be changing.

20180331-0429 April – a cold wet spring

March went out with some more snow at Twin Rivers:

Skerryvore Community Road:

Still River:

and Byng Inlet ….


Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

Harbingers of spring started to swell giving us some hope …

Then the Hooded Mergansers started to arrive, finding any spot of open water, confirming that spring was on its way ….

And the Common Mergansers ….

This Ring-billed Gull found its usual spots along Riverside Rd, in this case the roof of Rusty’s truck …..

This male Red Winged Blackbird is displaying his wings when calling …

Hooded Merganser relaxing in the snow….

Lone Bufflehead Duck patrols the Still River for protein …

Ice is out of the mouth of the Still River on April 24th …

Ice is leaving the dock piles at St Amants on April 29th …

Benoit Mandlebrot would suggest that this is an example of Fractals in Nature.

This Mourning Dove is thinking about it….

AHA!  First one of the season on April 23.  In the sunshine on the darkish bark of a poplar tree.   As I drove towards it, this Mourning Cloak took off and flitted around very energetically for a minute or so before disappearing into the bush.  The Mourning Cloak  is one of the very few butterflies that overwinters here as an adult butterfly.

“The adult butterflies will occasionally come to flowers for nectar, but it’s thought that most of their sustenance comes from sap or decaying fruit. Using tree sap as food would explain why Mourning Cloaks can gain some advantage from arising so early from hibernation. When the sap starts to rise in spring it often seeps out of the bark in places where the tree has been damaged over the winter. In summer you’ll often find them at fresh holes in trees left by drilling sapsuckers (a kind of woodpecker). Also, like many other butterflies, they will extract salts or other nutrients from mud puddles or even from animal droppings (poops).”

Mallards are paired up …

This Pied-billed Grebe is able to change its buoyancy, as demonstrated here…

A pair of Buffleheads cruising the Still River …

A Broad-winged hawk (I think) looking for prey from a telephone line along Hwy 526:

Some green grass in a local ditch.  I couldn’t resist capturing some spring warmth!

Ruffed grouse blending in with the brown foliage of springtime….

Pair of Ringneck Duck males paying attention to a female.

A couple of Pied-bill Grebes …

Not common at all ….   I had seen only one of these Horned Larks before.   This one was alone, scrabbling on the surface of the Britt Helipad.

Male and female Ringneck Ducks….

My guess is that we are a couple of weeks behind in seeing the usual signs of spring.  If we get normal temperature the woods will come alive with the sights and sounds of spring very quickly.  The sun will be at solstice in only 7 weeks.

A good time to get out and about.