September 30, 2014

The Cookie Monster



Or perhaps the Keeper of the Cookies.
Ozzie seems to like sitting on things, be it a newspaper or the cookie container.
He certainly wasn't letting anyone have a treat unless he got something in return, chin scratches work well as do ear rubs.

September 29, 2014

Low rider



This horned grebe rides low in the water and can do a fast flip and disappear in the blink of an eye.
There were four of them, in non-breeding plumage, cruising in the lake of Rondeau Provincial Park.

Podiceps auritus

A sleeping or resting Horned Grebe puts its neck on its back with its head off to one side and facing forward. It keeps one foot tucked up under a wing and uses the other one to maneuver in the water. Having one foot up under a wing makes it float with one "high" side and one "low" side.

September 28, 2014

Where's Waldo?



Do you see the gray tree frog? He's hiding in plain sight.
Check the other photo to get a better look.







Hyla versicolor

The gray treefrog has “warty” green, brown or grey skin with large darker blotches on the back. Like many treefrogs, this species has large suction-cup-like toe pads. It has a white patch under each eye and is bright yellow-orange under the thighs. Adults may reach a length of six centimetres.

The gray treefrog may be found in many types of tree and shrub communities located near permanent water.

source - Ontario Nature.

September 25, 2014

Papper mache



Well, not quite.
Actually it is a piece of a wasps nest made by bald faced wasps.

They build a football-shaped paper nest and it is one of the largest of wasp nests. It can be up to 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter and 23 inches (60 cm) in length.
They chew up wood, which mixes with a starch in their saliva. They then spread it around with their mandibles and legs, and it dries into a papery structure.

Dolichovespula maculata

September 24, 2014

A world of green

A green heron waiting for a nice frog to come up through the green duck weed.



Butorides virescens


From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

The oldest Green Heron on record was 7 years, 11 months old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

September 23, 2014

He's common and...

he's loud,brash and bold.



While being very common in our area he is a rather spectacular bird for visitors from "away".

Cyanocitta cristata

Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period.

The black bridle across the face, nape, and throat varies extensively and may help Blue Jays recognize one another.

The oldest known wild, banded Blue Jay lived to be at least 17 years 6 months old.source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

September 22, 2014

City folk flush and forget.



Country folk know that nothing ever really goes away.
What goes down the septic comes back up the well if the system doesn't work properly.

Water does not flow uphill.
Turns out the septic tank had settled about 3 inches so it was lower than the septic field.

Many thousands of dollars later everything is working fine.

Small machines and big machines were needed to finish up the job.

September 21, 2014

On the beach



This is one of the turtle research people at the park.
She was waiting for the other researchers to finish releasing the hatchlings.

September 17, 2014

Off with his head!!



This is a double crested cormorant having a nap on the beach.
His head was tucked under a wing.

Phalacrocorax auritus

Double-crested Cormorants float low on the surface of water and dive to catch small fish. After fishing, they stand on docks, rocks, and tree limbs with wings spread open to dry. In flight, they often travel in V-shaped flocks that shift and reform as the birds alternate bursts of choppy flapping with short glides.

September 16, 2014

A rare bird indeed.

Less than 100 people had the opportunity to see this white ibis.



It is extremely rare in Ontario.
My sister will complain that it isn't white and therefore typical of misleading bird names.

This is an immature white ibis. Young white ibis are brown on their uppersides and white on their undersides and they have brown bills and legs.


Eudocimus albus

September 14, 2014

Who said turtles arne't fast.



This soft-shelled turtle was placid one moment and an instant later it was lunging at the camera.
Camera shy I guess.


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.
The carapace of females of this large turtle may reach 43 centimetres in length, and that of males may reach a length of about 23 centimetres.

source - Ontario Nature

September 11, 2014

On the grid.



I know the big thing now is to be off the grid.
This hickory tussock caterpillar seems to be content to be fully on the grid.
Actually it is the screen door that opens onto the deck.
Gives you an idea of how small it is.

Lophocampa caryae
The hairs of the hickory tussock caterpillar spell trouble, especially the longer “lashes,” which are connected to poison glands. These hollow tubes allow the pokee to introduce a chemical into the poker.

For most of us, a close encounter of the hickory tussock caterpillar kind results in a burning, nettle-type, itchy rash. Cleaning the sting with soap and water, dabbing on some ammonia or calamine lotion, and topping it off with some ice should handle the problem.
More sensitive souls can experience swelling and nausea and may have to see a doctor. The fuzzy setae that cover the caterpillar’s body are barbed and are mechanically irritating, especially if accidentally rubbed in the eyes.

source - University of Wisconsin.

September 10, 2014

I like redstarts.

The tail flaring makes them easy to identify.



They move quickly and it can be difficult getting a photo.

Setophaga ruticilla

Like the Painted Redstart and other “redstarts” of the Neotropics, the American Redstart flashes the bright patches in its tail and wings. This seems to startle insect prey and give the birds an opportunity to catch them. Though these birds share a common name, they are not closely related to each other. In fact, there are other unrelated birds around the world—such as the fantails of Australia and southeastern Asia, and other redstarts of Europe—that share the same foraging tricks.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

September 09, 2014

Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon




Up in the sky;
I ain't had no lovin'
Since April, January, June or July.
's no time, ain't no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.

Just before midnight last night through a light haze.

A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth.

September 07, 2014

Do you like my new fascinator?


I hope so, I worked very hard on it.

What, you don't know what a fascinator is? Ok, it's just a silly hat.
According to the Wikipedia, the font of all internet knowledge this is the description of a fascinator.

A fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millinery. The word originally referred to a fine, lacy head covering akin to a shawl and made from wool or lace, but mostly feathers. In the modern usage, it refers to a woman's alternative to hat for formal attire; it is usually a large hair decoration on a band or clip with elaborate trimmings and decoration like a formal hat and it can incorporate a base to make it a miniature hat.

The bird, an American goldfinch.

Spinus tristis

Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.


As of May 2007, the oldest known American Goldfinch was 10 years 5 months old.

September 04, 2014

The journey of 1000 miles...



...starts with 100 steps. Or there abouts. A single step seems too restrictive for this fellow.
I don't know why this caterpillar decided to cross the water lettuce to get to the other side of the pond but it was chugging right along.Up one leaf, down the next, repeat.
I have to assume that frogs don't eat caterpillars as they didn't bother him.

I don't know the type of caterpillar so I can't give you any scientific stuff.

September 03, 2014

Everybody out of the water!




duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun (music for Jaws)

We cruised past - the boat is now running fine, a flock of double crested cormorants on the beach and most of them took off.
They need a running start to get airborne and they really churn the water.
If you look closely you can see a few that look like they are being run over.
It looked like a case of Jaws fear, everybody out of the water!

Phalacrocorax auritus

The double-crest of the Double-crested Cormorant is only visible on adults during breeding season. The crests are white in cormorants from Alaska, and black in other regions.

In breeding colonies where the nests are placed on the ground, young cormorants leave their nests and congregate into groups with other youngsters (creches). They return to their own nests to be fed.

The oldest known Double-crested Cormorant was more than 22 years old, banded in Ontario in 1984 and found in Louisiana in 2006.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornitholog

September 02, 2014

Fall warblers



We are getting our fall warbler migration coming through.
The black and white warbler is courteous enough to have the same plumage spring and fall, basic black with white.
Some of the "confusing" fall warblers who look nothing like their spring plumage.

Mniotilta varia

Black-and-white Warblers have an extra-long hind claw and heavier legs than other wood-warblers, which help them hold onto and move around on bark.

The oldest known Black-and-white Warbler was 11 years, 3 months old—a female that was banded in North Carolina in the 1950s and recovered in Pennsylvania more than a decade later.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

September 01, 2014

Colour Garden



I don't much like cutting grass, or watering it or fertilizing it.
We removed the grass in the front of the cottage and put in a tallgrass prairie with an emphasis on the flowers.
The result is I don't cut,water or fertilize and we get lots of pollinators including butterflies like this swallowtail.
It is feeding on an ironweed.