December 27, 2007

What wind

What wind
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
This tufted titmouse seems to be coping with the high winds.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas.

December 21, 2007

The Neighboroughs

The Neighboroughs
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Another cottage at Rondeau. They keep thier feeders going in the winter.

I like the chalet bird house.

December 20, 2007

Village saved...

Village saved...
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Murphy the Magnificent Mouse saved the day. Calico Casey had dozed off and Catzilla struck. Murphy mangled Catzilla and sent her high tailing.

All is peaceful for another year.

December 19, 2007


Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Showing signs of the battle with Calico Casey, Catzilla rampages through the heart of the village.
Reinforcements have been called in.

December 17, 2007

Calico Casey hired by villagers.

Catzilla has defenitely be seen and the villagers have arranged for Calico Casy to patrol the outskirts of the village.

Will this help, or will Callico Casey be found napping on the job?

December 16, 2007

Skiers Found!

Skiers Found!
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
The missing skiers were found at the bottom of the ski hill. They report that a large black fur covered animal chased them down the hill.

Officials believe Catzilla has returned.

December 15, 2007

Skiers missing

Skiers missing
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Citizens fear Catzilla may have returned. Further up dates as they occur.

December 02, 2007

I bring you FIRE!

I bring you FIRE!
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
As part of a phragmities eradication project, the biomass was burned off after the reed was killed.

Phragmities is a highly invasive plant that takes over marshes.

Cutting or digging it up encourages it to spread.

I got 800 shots of the burn.
I promise I will only post a few.

November 30, 2007

The length of Rondeau

The length of Rondeau
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Rondeau is a sand spit sticking about 10 miles out into Lake Erie. This is a view looking north to the narrow end of the Park.
You can see the sloughs that built the Park.
Basically sand bars grew big enough to become dry land, grasses started then bushes then trees..
Lake Erie to the right the bay and marsh to the left.

The length of Rondeau

The length of Rondeau
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Rondeau is a sand spit sticking about 10 miles out into Lake Erie. This is a view looking north to the narrow end of the Park.
You can see the sloughs that built the Park.
Basically sand bars grew big enough to become dry land, grasses started then bushes then trees..
Lake Erie to the right the bay and marsh to the left.

November 29, 2007

I went flying yesteday

i went flying yesteday
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
There was an areial survey of Rondeau Provincial Park yesterday to check on the extent of phragmities growth.

It is an exotic that doesn't belong here and it pushes out the cat tails.

This is looking east over Erieau to Rondeau. Lake Erie is on the right.

I had the opportunity to go along and took about 3200 photos. I will be posting more later.

November 27, 2007

Colour spill aisle 9

Colour spill aisle 9
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
I'd really like to trake a big bag of leaves to a paint store and spread them out in an aisle for this shot.

November 26, 2007

Talking to Jesus

Many times when I am troubled or confused, I find comfort in sitting in my back yard and having a vodka and cranberry along with a quiet conversation with Jesus. This happened to me again after a particularly difficult day. I said "Jesus, why do I work so hard?"And I heard the reply: "Men find many ways to demonstrate the love they have for their family. You work hard to have a peaceful, beautiful place for your friends and family to gather." I said: "I thought that money was the root of all evil."And the reply was: "No, the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Money is a tool; it can be used for good or bad".I was starting to feel better, but I still had that one burning question, so I asked it. "Jesus," I said, "what is the meaning of life? Why am I here?" He replied: "That is a question many men ask. The answer is in your heart and is different for everyone. I would love to chat with you some more, Senor, but for now, I have to finish your lawn."

November 23, 2007

ET phone home

ET phone home
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Maggie, the warbling cat climbed into the sleeve of Anne's house coat.

She's not a kitten anymore and became stuck at the end.

She was really irritated that she couldn't swat Cassey who was laughing at her. Cats CAN laugh.

Reminded me of ET, phone home.

November 20, 2007

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

I know I have a wierd mind but when I saw this I thought of the fairy tale.
The stark tree with the vine streaming down (up?). seemed to be golden hair, and my hare brin was off and running.

November 17, 2007

Hey Ralph, you got peanuts over there?

A group of evening grossbeaks came through our yard last weekend.
It was a fist time yard bird.
The light was poor but they are so colourful I decided to post the photo anyway.

October 31, 2007

Dressed for Halloween

Dressed for Halloween
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
This red winged black bird dressed up as a Rose breasted Gross beak for Halloween. He wanted me to check his make up.
Pretty good job ,eh?

October 29, 2007

A great birding day

Some days you have a good selection of birds, other times they are awesome.

The day started with a beautiful sunrise over Lake Erie while I was having my coffee.

There was a report on he internet of a white faced ibis near Point Pelee on the weekend. As we live about 45 miles away and it was a geougeousl fall day we decide to head off and see what we could find.

Driving along the road that hugs the north coast of Lake Erie, Anne spotted what she thought was a bald eagle.

After pulling over and taking a look we realized it was a golden eagle, this was only the second time we had seen one.

It stayed fairly low so we had excellent looks at the bird. A bald eagle appeared and started harassing the golden; they were flipping on their backs and presenting their talons. This is something we had only seen on TV before. After a few minutes a second bald eagle showed up.

At one point we had 2 bald and a golden in the same field of view.

We continued down to Hillman Marsh which is next door to Point Pelee and within minutes we saw the white faced ibis, which was a life bird (never seen before).

While we were there we saw a flock of Greater Yellow Legs feeding as a group. Several of the birds were swimming and feeding on small fish. We didn’t know that yellow legs did this, another first for us.

Just before we left a first year female peregrine falcon came in and began buzzing the marsh. It seemed intent on getting a great white egret to fly. Now that’s confidence. It would be a matter of who caught who.

On the way back Anne spotted birds coming towards us, so I pulled over.

W had approximately 100 turkey vultures, 3 bald eagles, a dozen red tailed hawks and 2 red shouldered hawks fly by.

Toss in a king fisher, great blue herons, cormorants, kestrels, horned larks black crowned night heron and assorted other birds and it was a very good day.

October 24, 2007


Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
I understand that Dick Cheney was a charter member. I didn't know his hunting friends name was Trap

October 22, 2007

I Can Fly!

The wind was up an the wind surfers and para surfers were out in big numbers at Rondeau Provincial Park.

The were flying across the bay at incredible speeds and doing high jumps.

This is Oct 21st people, isn't it a bit chilly?

October 19, 2007

My wife, Anne had an email from a local birder that a north wheatear had been seen near the dock at Shrewsbury, Ontario. That is about 20 minutes from our place, just across Rondeau Bay.

She called me and arranged to meet me there after work.

I got to the dock around 4:30 pm and saw group of birders, the binoculars and spotting scopes were a give away, looking across the road.

When I got out and went over the bird was sitting on a concrete block, in the sun light, basically posing.

I watched it and took photos for about 20 minutes before it flew to a more inaccessible area.

The wheatear is a very rare bird in our area. It is occasionally seen on the Labrador coast and Baffin island.

October 17, 2007

You said the water was warm

You said the water was warm
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
A puddle formed on the sidewalk while we were power washing the siding.
We had a large number of sparrows, juncos and red breasted nuthatches coming in for a splash.

Their look made me think of the old line " Come on innn , the wwwattttters fffine."

Photo by Anne McArthur

October 15, 2007

I never liked pajamas

At 3.39 a.m. there was a crashing noise from the dining area, closely followed by a second rattling crash.

To paraphrase The Night Before Christmas – “there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.”

The screen had been knocked out of the dining rooms’ window frame and a knick-knack was lying on the floor.

As I reached the window a small masked face was staring at me. A young raccoon was clinging to the window sill, intent on getting in.

I yelled at the little home invader and closed the window. We have had trouble with this one before, knocking down and breaking feeders and trying to get into the garbage can that holds the seeds and peanuts. It got to the point that we now keep the metal cans in the house, which probably displeased our night time visitor and caused the attempted break in.

I returned to bed only to hear a new assault.

He was clawing at the patio screen door. I turned on the outside light, opened the door and yelled at him. This was as effective as trying to herd cats. If you like frustrations try it some time.

I have a pellet pistol for situations like this. I retrieved the pistol, opened the door and fired in the general direction of the raccoon hoping to scare it into leaving. See comment about herding cats.

As I was cocking the pistol to try again, Sam, our black cat, made a break for it and was out the door in a heartbeat.

Now Sam likes to get out and go to the nearest sand/dirt patch and roll around. This time she made a bee line for the sand dunes and didn’t slow down.

Sam is allowed out on a leash and when she escapes, she seems to think she is still on the leash. The way to capture her is to walk along with her, talking softly, and when she stops to roll, you just pick her up. The important thing is you must do this immediately or she realizes that she is loose and not on the leash.

There I was in the middle of a cloudy night, chasing a black cat through the sand dunes. Sam continued to move further into the sand dune and I stumbled along behind her, not being able to see her as she kept to the shadows, stepping on all sorts of uncomfortable sharp, picky things. Among other things, we have prickly pear cactus in the dunes.

Finally she stopped and I picked her up and headed back. I still couldn’t see where I was going as I was being blinded by the outside light I had turned on earlier. About this time I recalled a comment my sister had made about how much poison ivy we have along the path through the dunes.

I looked towards the house to see how far I was from the cottage and realized the door wasn’t fully closed.

At that point I had a vision of the raccoon beating me to the door, latching it, and eating peanuts while I stood outside.

Then I realized it was close to 4 in the morning and I standing in the beach dunes, probably in a patch of poison ivy. In one hand I have a black cat, in the other a gun and I’m naked as a jaybird.

Not a pretty picture.

October 03, 2007

Hey buddy, can you spare a finger

AT a banding demonstration at Hawk Cliff in Ontario.
This Harris Hawk is used for falconry and education programs.
Looked like he could remove a finger rather easily.

October 02, 2007

A couple

A couple
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Another sculpture from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario.

Not quite life sized but close.

October 01, 2007

Not enough for a baseball team

Migrating blue jays found this puddle and were enjoying a bath.
Some of the jays looked embarrassed over the enthusiasm showed by the bathers

September 24, 2007

Stare down

Stare down
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Just like the old west, a stand off at high noon.
This pond isn't big enough for the two of us.

September 20, 2007

He's eating my flowers

He's eating my flowers
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
Found this bug on a plant in the yard a few days ago.
He seems to like semi circles.

He is smaller than you little finger nail.

September 19, 2007

I've got my eye on you

I've got my eye on you
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
As part of the banding demonstration, the bander put a sharp shined hawk into the hands of this young fellow.

The sharpie fixates on its prey and the head stays still and the body pivots around the head.

By quickly putting the bird into the boys hands, the hawk fixated on him.

After a few moments the bander quickly pushed up on the boys hands and the hawk flew away.

September 18, 2007

Into the wild blue yonder

Into the wild blue yonder
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
We were at a hawk watch on the weekend and they were banding and releasing the birds.
The weather was delightfully rotten with strong north-west winds and a slight overcast.

The wind pushes the hawks against the north shore of Lake Erie and funnels them along the shore as the head for Detroit Michigan. They gather on the Canadian side, gather altitude and then “kettle” and stream across the Detroit River.

They released kestrels, sharpies, coopers, red tailed and a harrier.
This is the northern harrier some times called a marsh hawk.

Evidently some of you couldn't see the photo linked from flickr. so I'm adding it again. Ric

September 12, 2007

Up, up and away

Out regional fair had a human canon ball this year.

He put on a good show, checking the landing net, staging his entry into the canon, and of course he flew through the air with the greatest of ease……… no that’s the trapeze guy.

My camera will only capture 3 frames a second, with large gaps in between, so you I will have to leave you in suspense as to where he landed.

September 11, 2007

One day old

One day old
Originally uploaded by ricmcarthur
We were at the Western Fair (state fair for my American friends).
We don't bother with the rides but there is a lot to see.
We went in to see a sheep shearing demonstration, which was excellent, when we saw this lamb that had been born earlier in the day.
The mother hovered over it looking exhausted.

September 05, 2007

Anne and I have only seen two other American bitterns and that was when we had spooked them up out of a marsh. Not the same seeing them fly away.

We were out on the pontoon boat on the weekend and this fine fellow posed for us, not once but twice.
I took photos as we went past him and again on the way back to the dock.

August 29, 2007


Last weekend we took a day trip to Toronto, Ontario to experience a buskerfest.

We didn't have an opportunity to see all the acts but the ones we did catch were first class.

Several unicycle/acrobat/jugglers, yo-yo people, fire eaters, contortionists and much more.

One boothe was doing balloon creatures. $3-5 for smaller ones. I have no idea how much this dragon would cost.

August 21, 2007


We recently went to the Wins of Paradise, a butterfly conservancy near Guelph, Ontario and we had a great time.
Blue Morpho landed on Annes back.

There was a good variety, the butterflies were cooperative and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly.
Close up of an Owl butterfly.

I found this facility to be better than the one at Niagara Falls. It is privately run and it is obvious they try harder.

The chrysalis are easy to view and you can see the progress towards hatching out.

I don't normally promote any facility, other than Rondeau Provincial Park, but I am making an exception. It is worth the trip. Go enjoy yourself.

Take a camera!