August 22, 2016

Down low and personal with a soft shell turtle hatchling.

This hatchling wouldn't cover the palm of your hand.
I like the upturned snout and the water tension pulling the water up around its face.

Apalone spinifera
The spiny softshell is Ontario’s only turtle with a flexible, leathery carapace (upper shell) and the only species in the province that can attain a size comparable to that of the snapping turtle.

August 21, 2016

Red-headed woodpecker,Rondeau Provincial Park, August 21, 2016

An adult red-headed woodpecker has been showing up in the yard with four young birds in tow.
We aren't sure if they all belong to the adult if some from another bird are just tagging along.

Melanerpes erythrocephalus
The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease outbreaks of the twentieth century. Though these diseases devastated trees they provided many nest sites and foraging opportunities for the woodpeckers.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

August 20, 2016



Ruby-throated hummingbirds don't play well with others.
Not the best photo but you take what you can get with something like this.

August 18, 2016

Turtle release.

Had an interesting day out on the pontoon doing a turtle hatchling release. Osprey and turkey vultures cruising by, Caspian and common terns diving for lunch.
Waves got up and it was difficult getting off the beach and then the motor wouldn't go into forward.
Ended up going about 3km (1.8miles) in reverse back to the marina.
Turned out a line had been knocked overboard and was tangled in the prop.
Easy fix, long ride. People on the beach stared at us and probably wondered if beer was involved in out unusual cruise.

Cathartes aura
The oldest recorded Turkey Vulture was at least 16 years, 10 months old when it was found in Ohio, the same state where it had been banded.

August 17, 2016

Melanistic Great Blue Heron

Melanistic Great Blue Heron

The increased development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin and hair of an animal is called Melanism, and is the opposite of Albinism.

This great blue heron was found at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario.
We did a road trip and found it on the Grindstone Marsh Trail in Hendrie Valley.

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Herons can hunt day and night thanks to a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that improve their night vision.
source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

August 16, 2016

Butterflies and wasps at the grapes and nectar feeders.

Butterflies and wasps at the grapes and nectar feeders.

Hummers and orioles are having a tough time.
A Red Admiral.
Vanessa atalanta

August 15, 2016

My little lizard

We are fortunate to have five lined skinks around our yard.
They have been hiding and this is the first one I have photographed this year.

He was in a little burrow under a piece of wood.

The head and tail are together with a foot near the bottom.

Plestiodon fasciatus

The five-lined skink is a smooth, slender lizard that can grow to 21 centimetres in length, but most individuals are much smaller. Their coloration varies with age. Juveniles and young adult females are glossy black with five cream stripes down the back and a bright blue or blue-grey tail. Males and older females gradually fade to a more uniform bronze, although often the stripes are still visible. Males in breeding condition have a bright orange chin and jaw.

source - Ontario Nature.