Friday, April 27, 2007

Snake Story

Snake Story, originally uploaded by Ontario Wanderer.

At the Royal Botanical Gardens today there were hundreds of school children being introduced to a variety of nature experiences including an illustrated talk on endangered species. I attempted to take some photos while the lecture was going on of some of the endangered animals they were showing. It was not very light in the auditorium so most of my photos were somewhat blurry, as I did not use the flash on my camera out of respect for the animals. What impressed me the most about the presentation and audience was a very young girl who passed me on the way out and asked how my photos were. I told her they were not too good due to the light. She replied that I was the only one who cared enough about the animals to not use the flash and the animals were less frightened because of me. I was impressed that she noticed and knew why I had not used the flash. There is hope for at least some of our youth!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bio Blitz So Far

We are about half way through our Bio Blitz activity and have made several important discoveries. Well, OK, it was not a real discovery but an acknowledgment of what we knew already. We still have lots to learn about life all around us. We are fairly good at identifying plants and not too bad at birds, but then we start to be less and less knowledgeable. The frogs are not too numerous and I can identify them mostly by sound as we rarely see them. There are not many snakes on our property and mammals are in fairly short supply too. It is in the insect and spider area that we are overwhelmed. Even with the guidebooks that we have picked up in the last year, we still come away with more puzzles than answers. Perhaps this blitz will spark more study. ID's are very shaky there and just because they are listed below does not mean that we know for sure yet.

Oh yes, one more thing! I want to continue for the year. It will not be as intensive as this week but I have been wanting to find out more about what is on the property for a while and this is a wonderful opportunity to start and continue that activity so the listing will continue after this week for the rest of the year. Also, our activity has sparked our 2 year old neighbour even more along the way to becoming a naturalist. With the help of her parents she already knows more birds than I knew at 4 times her age and her interest in bugs is increasing too. We shall all learn together.

Meanwhile, here is our list so far. There are over 190 entries, including the category titles. I just added the dates recorded as Églantine thought that would be of interest too. It is of interest already and we realized on day two that we forgot to include our dog, cat, and ourselves in the list at first. Our self imposed limits are that we must be able to make at least some kind of ID from what we see or hear so we are not putting down plants that are not up yet even though we know they will come up again as they have in the past.
OK, enough chatter. I wonder how many readers made it this far and can actually make it through the list. It's up to you as to how much you want to read and/or comment. Onward:

Bio Blitz 2007
Wild Flowers – Vines
Aster, Arrow-leaved..0422
Avens, White..0422
Bitter-cress, Hairy..0422
Chickweed, Mouse-eared (B)..0422
Cinquefoil, Common..0422
Cinquefoil, Rough..0422
Clover, White..0422
Coltsfoot (F)..0422
Current, Garden..0422
Dame’s Rocket..0422
Dandelion, Common..0422
Dandelion, Red Seeded..0422
Fleabane, Daisy..0422
Gill over the Ground..0422
Goldenrod, Early?..0422
Grapevine, Riverbank?..0422
Herb Robert..0422
Horsetail *..0423
Live Forever..0422
May Apple 0423
Meadow-rue, Early..0422
Moss ?..0422
Mullein, Common..0422
Mustard, Garlic..0422
Nettle, Tall 0423
Parsnip, Cow..0422
Solomon Seal, False 0423
Solomon Seal, Star-Flowered False .0423
Spring Beauty..0422
Strawberry, Field..0422
Strawberry, Wood..0422
Thistle, Bull..0422
Trout Lily..0422
Violet, Blue..0422
Plants in Garden
Aconite, Winter..0422
Barberry ..0422
Bee Balm..0422
Black-eyed Susans ..0422
Bleeding Heart ..0422
Bugleweed ..0422
Daffodil, Rip Van Winkle..0422
Everlasting ..0422
Foxglove 0424
Jacob’s Ladder..0422
Ladies Mantle..0422
Lamb’s Ears..0422
Lavender 0424
Lily, Day..0422
Ninebark, Diablo..0422
Ninebark, Golden..0422
Pansy 0424
Purple flower?)..0422
Wild Ginger 0424
Blackbird, Red-winged 0422
Cardinal 0422
Chickadee 0422
Cowbird 0422
Crow 0422
Dove, Mourning 0422
Finch, House 0423
Flicker, Yellow-shafted 0422
Goldfinch, American 0422
Goose, Canada 0422
Gull, Ring-billed? 0422
Hawk, Red-tailed 0422
Heron, Great Blue 0423
Jay, Blue 0422
Kinglet, Golden-crowned 0422
Meadowlark, Eastern 0423
Nuthatch, Red-breasted 0422
Nuthatch, White-breasted 0422
Robin 0422
Sparrow, Field 0422
Sparrow, Song 0422
Towhee 0425
Turkey, Wild 0422
Woodcock, American 0422
Woodpecker, Downy 0422
Woodpecker, Red-bellied 0422
Trees & Shrubs – Wild & Planted
Apple 0422
Ash, White 0422
Aspen, Trembling 0422
Box Elder (Maple, Ash-leaf) 0422
Cedar, Northern Juniper? 0422
Cedar, Northern White 0422
Cherry, Black 0422
Cherry, Choke 0422
Cottonwood 0422
Current ? 0422
Dogwood, Alternate-Leaved 0422
Dogwood, Gray 0422
Dogwood, Red-osier 0422
Dogwood, Silky 0422
Elm 0422
Forsythia (B) 0422
Hawthorn sp? 0422
Honeysuckle, Tartarian 0422
Larch, European? 0422
Lilac 0422
Locust, Black 0423
Maple, Norway 0422
Maple, Silver 0422
Maple, Sugar 0422
Olive, Autumn 0422
Pear 0422
Pine, Red 0422
Pine, White 0422
Quince 0422
Raspberry 0422
Rose, Multiflora 0422
Serviceberry 0424
Spindle Tree 0422
Spruce, White ? 0422
Sumac, Staghorn 0422
Tree, Tulip 0422
Virbunum, Sweet 0423
Walnut, Black 0422
Walnut, White 0422
Willow ? 0422
Willow, Flame 0423
Amphibians & Reptiles
Frog, Chorus 0422
Frog, Wood 0422
Peeper, Spring 0422
Snake, Garter 0423
Toad, American 0422
Bat, Little Brown? 0422
Cat 0423
Cottontail, Eastern 0422
Coyote 0422
Deer, White-tailed 0422
Dog 0423
Fox, Red 0422
Humans 0423
Raccoon 0422
Squirrel, Gray 0422
Fern, Intermediate Wood
To be identified . . .
Insects & Spiders
Ant (sp?) 0423
Bugs, Box Elder? 0422
Caddisfly larvae 0424
Caterpillar, Virginia Ctenucha 0422
Centipede 0422
Fly (sp?) 0422
House Fly 0424
insects, Goldenrod Gall 0422
Lady Bug (sp?) 0422
Midge, C 0422
Mosquito 0422
moths, micro? (sp?) 0422
Sow Bug 0422
Spider (sp?) 0422
Thrip ? 0422
Velvet Mite 0424
wasp (sp?) 0422
Web Worm 0424

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bio Blitz continues . . .

There is so much life out there . . . .

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak, originally uploaded by Ontario Wanderer.

We found so many living things on our walk yesterday that I have not yet had time to sort them all out and get them on classified lists. I did have time to make an error on ID however. I called a midge a mosquito. Live and learn, I hope. I am more certain of the ID of this butterfly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blogger Bio Blitz

Blogger Bio Blitz, originally uploaded by Ontario Wanderer.

Églantine and I started our Bio Blitz today. We should start having more information on our blitz tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you are interested in reading or joining, see the following site:

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Fotos

Friday Fotos, originally uploaded by Ontario Wanderer.

Several new wild flowers were in bloom today; new frog species were singing; birds were being busy; the sun was shining bright and warm; and spring was in the air.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Églantine told me to check out the front porch steps and this is what she had found:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Attempt at Spring

In a week or two, with any luck and a bit of sun, this plant will be about 20 centimetres tall and blooming. This emerging plant is Early Meadow-Rue, or (Thalictrum dioicum).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Birds, Birds, Birds

While out on the wild flower walk, we also saw lots of bird life ! Actually, this first bird, a female House Finch, was seen at our house just before we left for the wild flower walk.

At Cherry Hill Gate, the entrance to the RBG Hendrie Valley, we saw a male Downy Woodpecker and a Black-capped Chickadee that we did not itentify in terms of sex.

This male Northern Cardinal brightened up our evening a lot with his bright colours.

Églantine was the photographer for each of these photos. (There are some advantages to being the co-leader. One does not always have to be near the front of the group.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Wild Flower Walk # 1

Our first wild flower walk of the spring brought out 8 people who found 7 cultivated plants in flower and 8 wild flowers in bloom:
Christmas Rose (Red Hellebore), Crocus, Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Scilla, Winter Aconite, Brevipetala Witch Hazel, & Ruby Glow Witch Hazel were cultivated; Hairy Bittercress, Lesser Celandine, Common Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Purple Dead-nettle, Silver Maple tree, Periwinkle, and Skunk Cabbage were blooming in the wild.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Winter Aconite

My camera and I were so excited about finding this Winter Aconite (Eranthis spp) that we almost crawled inside it. Our snow is almost gone, for now, for today anyway.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

April Snow Continues

We woke up to snow again this morning. I think it will soon be over and these tulips certainly hope so too.

I found another tree starting to bloom in spite of the cold this morning. This is a Trembling Aspen.
One other sure sign of spring was an Eastern Phoebe looking for a way to get into our barn. I was sorry to not have the camera with me at the time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Home Again

Églantine and I have just returned from an art inquiry holiday in Malta. Temperatures there were between 14 and 19 degrees Celsius most days so it was a bit of a shock when we returned to Ontario just in time for the temperatures to drop below freezing again with wind chills of -14 degrees Celsius along with snow flurries. Nevertheless, it is great to be back home again sitting with morning coffee, a new art magazine, our familiar books and sculptures, and a warming fire in the fireplace.

We had expected to see spring flowers on our return, and there are a few around but under a dusting of snow right now except for the tree flowers.

Here is our first tree flower of the season which even beat the willows this year. It is the Silver Maple or Acer saccharinum.