20170621 Summer Solstice Ambush, Painted Lady, Monarch, Thalictrum, Water Lilies, Sweat bee, Crab Spider

We were out on Old Still River Road and Hwy 529 down to Big Lake on our National Aboriginal Day on the Summer Solstice.  Here are some sights seen along the way.


A well worn Painted Lady visits a naturalized Red Clover blossom for some nectar…

The Meadow Rues are bursting into bloom now…

This Sweat Bee is gathering pollen on  Common Yarrow, which have just started blooming.

Beware this crab spider poised to ambush a “customer” with its poised front claws.

Another one, poised to strike:

Up closer.   Click on the photo so see its eyes clearly.

It has retracted its front claws, perhaps to move.   Or maybe to make picture-making a little easier for the photographer.

As we passed the pond at Big Lake…

We saw more critters feeding on Yarrow nectar …

Monarch and Sweat Bee sharing a blossom …..

Alas! for this Sweat BeeAt last! says this crab spider!

If you click on the photo you can see one of the spider’s eyes as it sucks the vital juices out of the bee’s “neck”.

On the way home, the setting sun illuminated this nice triplet of Yellow Pond Lily blooms …

One of my internet acquaintances says, “the connection one gets from trying to understand the subtleties of nature is truly the best.

PS   The shelf fungus at the top of this post appears to be Dryad’s Saddle.  It is always wise to positively ID a mushroom from several sources before tasting it.



20170616 Dogwood, chestnut sided warbler, highbush cranberry, Canada anemone, blight, wild rose, painted lady, wood satyr, crab spider, salsify.

Dogwood, chestnut sided warbler, highbush cranberry, Canada anemone, blight, wild rose, painted lady, wood satyr, crab spider, salsify.

Some scenes along the Old Still River Road and Hwy 529 ..

The dogwoods are in full bloom now …

This Chestnut Sided Warbler views the photographer from its “hide”.

A nice display of the V. trilobum …

Canada anemone is in full bloom now …

Many of the Choke Cherries seem to be affected by a blight of some sort this year …

Up close:

This wild plum has a similar affliction …

All of the local serviceberries have some sort of disease also.  I have yet to see any serviceberry mature to edible fruit over the last 20 years in this area.   Too bad, as serviceberry (aka Saskatoon berry) pie is delicious. 

The Prickly Wild Roses are in mid-bloom now …

This Crab Spider seems to be transitioning to the yellow format (in anticipation for lying in wait on a Goldenrod?)

Little Wood Satyr, resting on a leaf under a grass arch …

Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify, western salsify, western goat’s-beard, wild oysterplant, yellow goat’s beard, goat’s beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, salsify) in a delicate light:

Painted lady nectaring on a V. trilobum…

Native bee collecting pollen and nectar on the flowerhead of a Common Yarrow….

Beetle on Ox Eye Daisy.   I don’t know what it is doing there.

These two (Coppers??) were hidden in the wind-moving grass.  A pair of antennae at either end.

A wind gust later … Aha!   That’s how they do it!


And interesting reference for up-to-date environmental news:


More stuff:  http://blog.feedspot.com/nature_blogs/

It is probably healthier to go outside for a walk or drive than to look at all of this computer stuff!!!



20170612 Burwash, Tree swallow, Hawk, Dragonfly, Bee-fly, Damselfly, Dragonfly, Painted Lady, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Pussytoes, American Redstart, Lupin, Viburnum, Painted turtle, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Skipper, Crab Spider

Burwash, Tree swallow, Hawk, Dragonfly, Bee-fly, Damselfly, Dragonfly, Painted Lady, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Pussytoes, American Redstart, Lupin, Viburnum, Painted turtle, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Skipper, Crab Spider

We made an afternoon trip to Burwash to see Clearwing Hummingbird Moths on the honeysuckle blossoms.  We saw a lot more than expected.

In the way into the site, a Tree Swallow welcomed us from a telephone cable…

A little further on this hawk eyed us.  I did not see it in flight or from any other angle and can’t ID it.

Dragonflies were munching on the flying insects along Neilly Lake.

This is the first Bee-fly I’ve seen since photographing one pollinating Coltsfoot blossoms on Harris Lake Road.

This might be a female Marsh Bluet

Maybe a Dot-tailed Whiteface.   I didn’t see the rest of the body.

Painted Lady on Yellow Hawkweed…

Aha!  Here it is, as predicted:

Pussytoes … showing some sort of different flower structure … worth of further research!…

Unknown bee/wasp or fly on the newly blooming Ox eye daisy …

American Redstart serenading, showing rictal bristles

Patches of multicoloured lupins are developing.

Nice shadow on the leaf of the V. trilobum

Lots of painted turtles were on the move …

A first for me!   Eastern Meadowlark singing away.  The bird kept its distance from me.  It was foraging for food, perhaps with a nest nearby?

Another birdie that I rarely see, only at Burwash ….

While the bobolink and meadowlark were singing and going after insects, this lil Savannah Sparrow stood on the fence, seemingly unimpressed by all of the activity…

  On the way out of the old prison farm this other common swallow said goodbye.  Notice the difference in undercolouring of the Tree Swallow (above)  and this Barn Swallow

This is about the size of a skipper.  Probably one of these.  EDIT:  Probably Columbine Duskywing.   It was nectaring on this roadside Birdsfoot trefoil near a rock outcrop which has a lot of blooming columbines.

It didn’t take long for this Crab Spider to find an Ox Eye Daisy to lie in ambush on.  The Daisies only opened up the previous day.

Click on the photo to see the eye structure….

While at Burwash I met a photographer who lives just north of Sudbury.  He gets great wildlife imagery at Burwash and Killarney.  He’s a very interesting man, a practitioner of some of the iceman and breathing techniques at Innerfire.

20170608 Crab spider, Iris, Canada Goose, Bracken fern, Solomon’s Plume, Labrador Tea, Purple Ladyslipper, Pitcher Plant

Crab spider, Iris, Canada Goose, Bracken fern, Solomon’s Plume, Labrador Tea, Purple Ladyslipper, Pitcher Plant

We went back to Woods Road to check on the Crab Spider that we had seen and photographed last week.  It was still there, on the same flower, which was starting to look a bit overmature.  Have a look at Misumena vatia in this very nice downloadable .pdf Brochure.

After stopping for a treat at Moose Lake Trading Post, we came back on Hwy 529 and saw our first wild irises of the season, Iris versacolor (blue flag, harlequin blue flag, larger blue flag, northern blue flag, and poison flag) …

This lone Canada Goose was surveying its domain…

Twisted Bracken fern fronds unfurling …

Just North of the turn-off to Bayfield Inlet the Labrador Tea is in full bloom in the Tamarack bog …

And, if you look closely you can see Pink Ladyslippers blooming …

Click on “Pink Ladyslippers”  on Walter Muma’s List of Ontario Orchids.  That list includes Hooded Ladies Tresses, a competitor for Canada’s National Flower. (Voting ends on June 30th.)

(Look in the top left third of the above to see the bunch of Ladyslippers)

Still in the bog, but next to a rock outcrop, this blooming Pitcher Plant cluster is visible from the road.  The traps are hidden in the sedges under the Tamarack twig below.   The Pitcher Plant is a good example of Convergent Evolution.

This Solomon’s Plume is showing itself in a ray of sunshine near the Naiscoot River bridge (where the title photo was taken).


Mark Berkery has posted some new “macro” photos at his blog.  Neat stuff!


20170603-05 Crab spider, Bleeding Hearts, Ferns, Cherries, Johnny-jump-ups

Crab spider, Bleeding Hearts, Ferns, Cherries, Johnny-jump-ups

We enjoyed another very bright day on June 3.  The combination of near-solstice sun position, a dry arctic air mass and changing forms of chlorophyll all contributed to high contrast, colourful scenes.  The above “featured image” of patches of ferns is an example of what was seen.  Here it is again, in case you want to click on it:

The rock cuts showed many examples of wild gardens, such of this collection of ferns, columbines, lichens, mosses and saxifrage here:

The insects were out and about, like this “solitary” bee inspecting a yellow pond lily blossom:

The ambush spider (or crab spider) that I’d seen the day before was still out:

Click on this close-up photo to see its eyes a bit more clearly…. and click on this link to see an interesting discussion of this spider’s eyes:

This unfurling bracken fern has two visitors, a spider and a fly…

This scene reminded me of Monet’s series

Family going for a cruise on Big Lake …

The following few days the weather returned to our cold springtime with lots of rain …

Compare the Choke Cherry above

with the Black Cherry below …

The Red Osier Dogwood is also in bloom nowadays …

The water brings out the vivid colours of the Columbine …

This nice fern growing in the rock  along Community Road can be used to test  this exercise

Ah …. Diana’s flowers are starting to display her skill and attention to her gardening!

Solomon’s Seal with its little bells hanging down along the main stem…

If you look closely you’ll see the similarity of this Bleeding Heart to the wildflowers, Pale Corydalis,  and Dutchman’s Breeches  that graced this blog a few weeks ago.  They’re all in the same plant (Fumitory) family.

Diana has a lot of Johnny-jump-ups [Viola tricolor, also known as Johnny Jump up, heartsease, heart’s ease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness ]  in her main flower garden with several bunches spreading even into her driveway.  I wonder if she knows of the quaint stories associated with this flower:

These last two photos are left as an exercise for you.   Which is Black Cherry and which is Choke Cherry?



Mary Holland has given us a heads-up that this beastie will soon be blooming along our roadsides.