20170401 First April Birds and a Wasp

Canada Geese and Ring billed Gulls arrived as the ice was going out.


Ice inspectors doing their jobs …..

Uh Oh!  Cover the lens!


This is MY post …



Pileated Woodpecker inspecting its new cavity…

Up very close …

And from afar …

And the first wasp of the season …

Over the past couple of days (mid April)  I have been photographing wild hazelnut blossoms.  In my research I came across a wonderful blog:


It is very well organized and very authoritative.   Worth following!




20170326-27 British Soldiers and other lichens on Glennie’s Posts.

British Soldiers and other lichens “come alive” as the snow disappears and the sun shines on Glennie’s fence posts along Old Legion Lane.  That is a good place to photograph such spring gardens as I can get the car close to them and their height is manageable.  Here are some examples of what was seen “through the lens”:

This “forest” of British Soldiers, Cladonia cristatella grows on the top surface of the most productive post, the one closest to the road.




The Claytonia Genus of lichens has a very large number of species, many of which are in Ontario.

Some folks collect and manage lichens to form miniature gardens.   Others study them for their potential as therapeutic agents in the treatment of  cancer.

I suspect that some lichen scientists can spend their whole life studying such a complex organism.  I can only hope to study and photograph a few local species of lichens.



20170325-28 End of March Wildlife and Buds

A warm spell melted some ice which encouraged some birds to pass through on their way north.  This Hooded Merganser was with a half dozen others in the pond next to Big Lake.

Centre Island Goose??

Do you know these geese?

Note the huge differences with the solo swimming Canada goose above.

The above are part of a flock of 8 geese photographed (a long ways away) at about 9:00 am in Dave and Irene’s hayfield.  They are Greater White-fronted Geese a long ways East of their normal flyway.

I recall the Palamars talking about hunting Specklebellies in Northern Saskatchewan.

Audubon has a good photo album and a range map here:


The animated graphic on the bottom of the above page (click “learn more”)  indicates that we’ll be seeing more of the GWFG.


Deciduous buds continued to awaken from their winter dormancy…

Like this Tag Alder…  with the near male catkin (still closed) hanging below the female “cone” catkin (which is out of focus in the distance).

A more advanced Tag Alder, with the female cones starting to open along with the upper portion of a male catkin.  The male catkins contain the pollen which wind-pollinate the cones (or female catkins).

Last year’s cone from a willow…

Red Maples are starting to open …

… as are the pussy willows:

Below:  No, not a pussywillow but the emerging catkin of a poplar tree.  Populus is a Genus of the Willow family.   This poplar tree is growing along the road beside a former trailer park so it is probably a hybrid related to the Balsam Poplar, maybe the fragrant but messy Balm of Gilead.

I’ll follow a few of these buds this spring to bring you updates as they mature.  Unfortunately they will be in reverse chronological order!

There isn’t  much of a time relationship with the following “artistic photographs” so I’ll slip them in here:

Abstract Ditch Water:

Abandoned Homestead, Hartley Bay Road:

Snowflurry over Twin Rivers Bridge:


20170325-26 Itty bitty ice drops up close

We had snow, sleet and freezing rain for a couple of days giving us some opportunity to see small things in a new light.

These pieces of art are the result of freezing, melting and refreezing of snow, leaving intricate holes of trapped air …  (Click on the photos for a close-up.  Use your browser’s back button to return to the blog.)





The following are photos of freezing rain drops, forming a more clear covering over buds:







I think that we might have had some freezing sleet to give those bubbles within this structure.

Some of the ice sheathing this Hawthorne branch has broken off, leaving some of the branches exposed …

Very interesting to see the effects of frozen precipitation up close.

20170315-23 Ice art along shorelines and in the ditches

We had some mild days after nights of freezing temperatures giving some interesting ice art for the curious photographer, often seen driving along the wrong side of a roadway to peer into the ditch.   Some examples:

Hoar frost on Magnetawan River shrubs as seen from the Magnetawan FN Community Road:

Various levels of stream along Hwy 529A into Bayfield Inlet:

Rorschach Tests(?) at Twin River boat launch:

Ditch along Hwy 645 into Byng Inlet:

Culvert at Old Still River Road:

More ditch art along Hwy 529A into Bayfield Inlet:

Always something out there, even in the roadside ditches.

Click (sometimes twice) on a photo of interest to get a more intimate view of the phenomenon.  Use your browser back button to return to the post.



20170307-11 Early March cold snap

Early morning temperatures plunged to the mid -20s ºC the last few days, refreezing local open water and giving some nice frost flowers in local roadside ditches.

Curious pancakes of ice at the outflow of an elevated culvert into the Inlet:

Neat evening sky at Big Lake …  3 days after this photo was taken there were ice fishers in a portable hut on the right side of this photo:

The water dropped in this ditch as the temperature dropped … giving little flowers along the edge of the upper sheet.  Water still flowed down below giving some moisture for the flowers.


Ice floes have plugged and solidified outside of Dave and Maureen’s beach:

The Inlet is still open at the first set of buoys downstream from young George’s place.

More frost flowers in the ditches …



The liquid water froze, keeping the little waves intact.

Edges of the Inlet are frozen tight…

As are these pancakes …

The advance of pussy willows has stopped.

Although a low of -26ºC with a windchill in the low -30s is forecast for tonight, the sky is clouding over, making such a forecast low unlikely.  We are expecting another week of well below normal weather which will really slow down our earlier rapid rush into spring.   A good thing for wildflowers, crops, and critters.

20170301-04 In like a lion …

March started with a fierce wind/snowstorm which took out a powerline crossing a neighbourhood field.  Hydro One crews got everything fixed up in a couple of hours…

The lineman lifted the conductor from below the telephone cable, up to the insulator where he re-secured it.

It warmed up a bit, allowing the pixie cup lichen to emerge …

This elusive pileated woodpecker gave me a second or two to “capture” it.  Sometimes a shot like this is just as satisfying to the photographer  —– compared to a handsome specimen sitting out in the open for minutes on end.

First pussy willows of the season…

A couple of examples of “Ditch Riding” Art:

A little known source of propolis: