Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mushroom yet again

After a long, very, very hot June and July, August has been wet and the mushrooms just keep coming up. We have found eight of the Giant Puffballs on our property as of today and many, many others of various shapes, sizes, and colours on and off the property. I thought you might be interested in how the Giant Puffball that I put up on the 24th looked on the 30th.

Below is a pair of much smaller mushrooms.

The two puffballs above are called Curtis's Puffballs (Lycoperdon curtisii) if I am not mistaken. They also allow me to answer Pablo's question of the other day about the photography involved as the same process was used for these puffballs as was used for the Giant Swallowtail caterpillar. The puffballs are about 2 cm (.8 inch) across. Our FinePix Fujifilm S7000 digital camera has not only a "Macro" setting but also a "Super Macro" setting that allows us to get within 1 cm (0.4 inch) of the subject. The photo of the puffballs came onto the computer in a 73 x 99 cm format (29 x 39 inches). The actual "puffball part" of the photo was 28 x 33 cm (11 x 13 inches). That gives me lots of room to crop and still end up with a large image. (I cut the images down to 6 x 4.5 inches on Photoshop to keep the photos small enough to upload on our rural line without spending the night waiting.) We bought the camera just to take photos like these.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Fungus from Sunday Afternoon

Here are some of the fungi that we photographed on our Sunday walk:

Sorry, I have no names even though some look familiar. Perhaps later I can go to my books and find names. For now just enjoy like we did.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Good Photo Day

The day started well as I found this water drop sparkling on a Rue plant just after I walked out the door.

About ten minutes later, while walking our dog, I spotted the first Viceroy butterfly that I've seen on the property and it was sitting still in the early morning dew.

After I took several photos of the side of the Viceroy, it decided to open its wings.

Could the day get any better? Well, yes. On our afternoon walk, Églantine and I took over 150 photos of fungus and flowers. It will take time to sort them out so have a look here tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars

We were excited when we found the Black Swallowtail Caterpillar so imagine how we felt when we realized we had a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar too. By the time two more days had passed we realized we had at least five Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars. We are looking for more. They are supposed to be rare in our area.

Below are some close ups of some of the patterns on the caterpillars.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


This Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillar could be white, yellow and black or green, yellow and black. It has taken residence on one or our garden Rue plants and has been chewing away for several days now. I am trying to think of a way to make sure it does not disappear before pupation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Large Mushroom

As promised, here is a larger mushroom.

I did not do a very good job of holding the tape. It's about 12 inches (30.5 cm) across and 11 inches (28 cm) tall. [In spite of Canada going "metric" over 30 years ago woodworkers and lumberyards still work in feet and inches so my tape is not metric.]

We had to fight with the metal tape to get it around but the circumference was about 52 inches (132 cm).

Our neighbour was impressed with the mushroom but his daughter spotted a more interesting butterfly overhead.

I almost forgot to include the name. The mushroom is a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) also known, according to my mushroom book, as (Langermannia gigantea). They are good to eat and I have eaten them in the past but we plan on just watching, and photographing, this one and its neighbour. We have two within a metre of each other. There have been others at various places on our property but sometimes we don't find them until late fall when the vegetation starts to dry and fall down. We were lucky this year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Mushrooms Etc.

My Wild Flower web site was updated this morning. Last week we found 163 wild flower species blooming.

The ground is damp and the air temperatures are dropping. It seems to be good weather for mushrooms. Below are three of the more colourful mushrooms that Eglantine and I have found during the last two days. We are saving one more for tomorrow that is not so colourful but is large. Of the three below, the middle one is a stinkhorn of some sort but I have no names for any of them. Just taking photos and processing them on the computer seems to be taking up way too much time and then the grass needs mowing, and....

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Moving Sun - August Version

Here is the third in the series of the moving sun. For the bottom section of the photo, I copied the sun from June and July and added the dates. Since I was playing with adding to photos, I also am posting another double image photo from last evening. I saw the sunset and wanted the Venus fountain in the photo too so I took the photo of the sunset and then added the Venus section of another photo with the following results.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mystery Animal

OK, here's the game. You get three guesses to figure out what this mystery animal is. Here is clue number one.

There was a bit of magnification. Perhaps less will help your perception?

You've had your first two guesses. One more clue before all is revealed....

I found this one climbing a rope near a tree. It was probably the fact that I turned the photo 90 degrees that threw you off.

That's right, it's our friend of summer the "heat bug" also known as "cicada" or "harvestfly" or "locust." Apparently there are many species of these insects but one needs to be an expert to sort them out. I'm not an expert. I didn't even realize, until today, that there were so many different kinds: periodical cicada, 13 year cicada, dogday cicada, orchard cicada, and others without English names.

Friday, August 19, 2005


I like photographing mushrooms.

One can just put the camera on the ground, shoot, and see the fungus in a way not easily possible with the eye.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More Spiders & One More Cattail

I wish I had names for these spiders but, regardless, they are still interesting to look at for now.

Here is another look at an interesting cattail.

Actually, it's the same cattail that I posted on the 15th but this photo was taken a week before that. Things do change....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Web Page Update

My wild flower web site was updated today with 178 names of currently blooming wild flowers for our southern Ontario area and two new photos.


Ontario Wanderer and Églantine wandered to Toronto last week to visit a special friend of Églantine. She has known Kai Chan for several years and has had him come to Brantford schools to give art instructions to pupils on several occasions. Kai invited us into his home, fed us lunch, and allowed us to look at the many art pieces in his home and to look and photograph works, finished and unfinished, in his studio. Both Ontario Wanderer and Églantine have started artwork since retirement and were again inspired by Kai's work. Below are some examples of what hang on Kai's walls. Note the exclusive use of "found" and "recycled" materials and the fine, detailed handiwork of these sculptural pieces.

Above is a close up of a work that encloses a bottle.

In the above work and in the two below, Kai has started using pieces of broken bottles.

For more information about Kai and his work, look at the Bronfman Collection Virtual Gallery web site.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Two Cattails

Here is an ordinary cattail.

Here is a creative cattail.

I don't help them. I just photograph them.
No, I don't know why it did that.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


As if the summer's heat and humidity were not enough....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fungus Among Us

Yesterday, while we were out identifying and photographing wild flowers, my partner, who has recently chosen the blog name Églantine, also photographed fungi. I am very pleased to post these wonderful photos. I wish I had taken them.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sunrise - Sunset

Sunrise if my favourite time of day!

Having been an early riser all my life, I am up before the sun more days than not. During these early days of August, I am often up one to one and a half hours before the sun. It gives me time to think about different places to photograph the sunrise.

It's not unusual for sunsets to be as spectacular as the sunrises.

Moonset has been good this week too. Here is one more photo of the moon and Venus from earlier this week. (I've seen several similar shot from various places listed on for today, Aug. 9.)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Spider Webs

Not all spider webs are the same...