20171004 Powassan, End of Summer Sights

End of Summer Sights

What does the above photo have to do with this lower photo?

Corylus cornuta    aka    Beaked Hazelnut

End of Summer is the time for harvesting and for preparation for winter.

Critters harvest food to store for the winter, to build up their fat reserves for winter, for their migrations, and in some cases for reproduction. Plants prepare for the coming winter. Weather is changeable as the amount of solar radiation decreases quickly.

This presentation will focus on seasonal change of flowers, fruits, seeds, critters, and weather in an approximate chronological order.

The images are selected from 2015, 2016, 2017 September posts to my blog.


A common fruit,  Northern Wild Raisin ripens and shrivels to a “raisin” in September …

Viburnum cassinoides  is a favorite food for our ruffed grouse.  In some taxonomies it is known as Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides

In parts of the USA, V. cassinoides is also known as “wild raisin“.

Northern wild raisins is one of many fruits that provide sugars for insects:

Highbush Cranberry is not related to our lowbush cranberry but is another Viburnum (trilobum) that produces a lot of fruit for critters and for human foragers…

Have you ever made Highbush Cranberry Jelly?  Stinky, eh?

This is another bird that is often seen around Viburnum fruit … a juvenile Cedar Waxwing

Fanleaf Hawthorn is also a plentiful food source (Haws) for birdies and squirrels.  This year Manitoulin Island Haweaters celebrated their 50th Haweater Weekend..

The knee-high Great Lakes Sandcherry is the smallest of our wild cherry plants.  The others are tree-like pin cherries,   shrub-like chokecherries and the similar looking black cherry that can grow into large trees.

The stem attachment identifies this specie as a Prunus serotina   aka black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry

Warning: The seeds of all Prunus species found inside the fruits contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age weight physical condition and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. (www.wildflower.org) Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

P. serotina is one of the favorite foods of Ursus americanus after the blueberries are finished.

Mother stands ground against intruding motorcycle …


Such a loooooonnnngg stretch …

Back together in one piece again ….

I wonder what the score is?

Some wildflowers like this Bristly Sarsaparilla produce berries that are harvested by critters ….

…. such as this one:

or they provide nutrients for shield bugs such as this one, a Green Stink Bug(?),  facing to the left:

Another source of jelly:  Common Elderberries should not be eaten raw.

Wildflowers carry tons of high energy food for various visiting pollinators …

Many insects, such as this Tachinid fly (?) sustain themselves on pollen and nectar on wildflowers such as this Pearly Everlasting

… and this Hoverfly (Syrphid) nectaring on this Ox Eye Daisy….

Another hoverfly on a Goldenrod …

Northern Black Wasp nectaring on Goldenrod.

Some wildflowers, like this Pale Corydalis, rebloom in late summer to provide fresh nectar for long-tongued bees, like bumble bees:

The food web expands …

Although primarily a seed-eater, Sparrows can be very omnivorous, predating on insects and other animal life.

This female American Redstart is gleaning these drowning tag alders of bugs as she continues her way south to her winter location:

The above birdies stay in thickets to avoid American Kestrels like this one who is scanning from its perch on top of an old Jackpine tree.

A big crop of Woolly Aphids on this branch of a different Tag Alder.  Needed:  Some beneficial insects!

Some predators, like this wasp, help to maintain populations as it drops the carcass of a Hoverfly …

Some spiders, like this yellow goldenrod crab spider lie in wait to ambush their prey …

another one ….

an ambush crab spider in Pearly Everlasting …

White Fronted Meadowhawks catch their prey on the wing and often perch to chew their food.

Late summer storms often announce their approach with high cirrus clouds ….

Others often approach in a turbulent squall line …

…. like what happened in early September 2017 when the remnants of Hurricane Harvey flooded Hwy 529:

In any case rain and mist produce many scenic photo opportunities:

Flat calmness …

Or surface calmness only, following a rainshower.

Late summer rains stimulate  the fruiting of many mushrooms like this Bolete ….

….filling this forager’s basket …

—- while wisely avoiding these yellow Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria :

Autumn rains give photographers many opportunities to see their subjects in a new light …

Winterberry in the rain..   

Dew on a few parachutes from this common plant

Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify, western salsify, western goat’s-beard, wild oysterplant, yellow goat’s beard, goat’s beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, salsify)

Here is an example of a thistle flower and its seedhead together …

A seed capsule is emerging above the flower of this Spotted-Touch-Me-Not.  Touch that seed capsule to see the origin of the name.

A delicate web on a misty day …

Early morning dew makes these complex engineering structures visible ….

Autumn is also the time for the folks near Port Loring to harvest hay using their Tin Lizzy.

This Small Cabbage White butterfly will overwinter in its pupa (chysalis) stage to undergo metamorphosis next spring to produce several generations in 2018….

This Mourning Cloak will overwinter as a butterfly adult, usually deep under some bark, to be seen again very early next spring to mate and produce eggs for the first generation.  In Ontario a second generation will be produced which will end up overwintering.  This is a second generation 2017 Mourning Cloak:

This Viceroy Butterfly is the second of two 2017 generations.  It will overwinter as a caterpillar, which will metamorphose into an adult next spring.  The adult butterfly will appear in June 2018, coincident with the arrival of Monarch butterflies.  (That transverse black line on the hind wing identifies this as a Viceroy.  It is also a bit smaller than a Monarch.)

This White Admiral was photographed on 28 August 2017.  Now, a  month later, its eggs have hatched into caterpillars which will overwinter in folded leaves (a hibernaculum) to emerge as butterflies next June.

Painted Ladies were very abundant this year …  as were American Ladies.  These butterflies migrate from the south in the spring, have a few generations of offspring during the summer and return to warmth in the autumn.  Their migration is an object of study.

This Monarch caterpillar was photographed on September 11th, eating the only leaf it knows, Milkweed.  After metamorphosis it may head south in early October when it will stay in reproductive diapause until it awakens from hibernation in Mexico next winter.

In the meantime these Large Milkweed (adult) Bugs and their nymphs are feasting on the seed pods.   These will also probably migrate to the southern States to spend the winter.

Male bluets damselflies are actively mating with females during September.  The resulting eggs are deposited into water where they hatch into naiads (nymphs).  This time of the year the nymphs will accumulate and store energy for winter survival under the ice.

Calm early morning mists are always interesting:

Such as these crepuscular rays on a back road …

Revealing necklaces of pearls …

Another structure on an asparagus plant ….

The florets of Ox Eye Daisies… 

Here are three stages of Queen Anne’s Lace on a wet day, from flower to seed nest:

Raindrops bounce while the Fragrant White Water Lily stem stretches to accommodate the rising water …

Fragrant White Water Lily on a sunny day:

A beautiful water droplet at the bottom of this stem of black cherries….

Not yet eaten by foragers in early September.

This wet Hydrangea seems to have an inner glow …

These three photos were shot early Sept 11th morning on Manitoulin Island.  The first is from “Ten Mile Point” shortly after sunrise …

These two are from Bidwell Road about 20 minutes later…

And these were made in Britt a couple days later ….

Dabbling Mallards are getting greens out of the mud on their way southward…

Early morning cruise on the Still River.

Sometimes heavy rain can be a bit of challenge for normally pretty birds, like this Great Blue Heron.

Not happy?

Off into the morning mists …

Intent …

Mirror, mirror, on the wall …..

Up and away …

Late summer marks the time when many green plants (compared to some algae and fungi) prepare for winter by absorbing some of the nutrients in their leaves to produce fall colours.

Lichens are composite organisms that form symbiotic relationships amoung  algaecyanobacteria  and fungi.  Although their properties are sometimes plant-like, they are not plants. Fungi do not photosynthesize so the energy and growth of the organism depends  on the associated algae and cyanobacteria to produce sugars using sunlight as an energy source.

Reindeer Lichen and  Waxpaper or a Shield Lichen on a dead Jack Pine branch ….

One of the Shield Lichens

Plants , on the other hand, have various kinds of chlorophylls to use sunlight as an energy source to synthesize food from H2O and CO2 in the presence of nutrients.

This bundle of red maple leaves is starting to experience the loss of its green reflecting chlorophyll during the autumnal abscission.

The result of the loss of green-reflecting chlorophyll are these brilliant reds, yellow and purples….

A little dew and (side or back lighting) helps to make these colours “pop”.

These close-ups reveal the pattern of remobilization of chlorophyll in the leaves:

Raspberry leaves

Large leafed Aster:

Red Osier Dogwood:

It seems that the leaves in this grass, sedge, rush and leatherleaf bog also go through a remobilization of chlorophyll each autumn.  The green of a month ago has yellowed to this hue ….

Each season always brings something new to learn.

This is what October 2016 looked like: https://brtthome.com/2016/10/