Thursday, January 22, 2015

This Blog Is No Longer Active

I have left up the content for visitors to browse, but I will not be adding additional posts.  Thanks to all those that followed me and commented on my posts.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Splendid Weather for Thanksgiving Weekend

On first appearance the Strathroy sewage lagoons looked almost empty.  All I could see was a few geese and mallards.  With the sun shining and magnificent clouds, I decided to walk the circumference of the north cell, anyways.   Waterfowl appeared in groups: 40 or so ruddy ducks, pied-billed grebes, northern shovelers, american coot, ring-billed, horned grebes, and scaups.

South cell of Stathroy Sewage Lagoons looking east
Strathroy Sewage Lagoons, south cell looking south

With purple knapweed, goldenrod, new england aster still in bloom there were still active pollinators.  Most prevalent were bee mimic flies, followed by asian lady beetles, bombus, sulphurs and cabbage white butterflies.  As well, I spied a single darner dragonfly, a crescent (?) butterfly and a solitary ambush bug. 

The Strathroy wetlands were quite. Good weather made for an enjoyable walk, but there wasn't any visible/audible wildlife to investigate, so my time spent there was brief.

Strathroy Wetlands (Victoria Ave. and Metcalfe Street). 

I also made a kayak trip up the Thames River, starting at the boat launch at Fanshawe and paddling up to the Thorndale Bridge.  It was a spectacular paddle which reminded me of much more remote areas.  The water in the lake was glassy.  Up river the current was strong, making for great exercise.

Eagles carrying branches, basking cormorants, and egrets shared the river with us.  The warmth encouraged peepers to call. And flocks of vocal red-winged blackbirds flew along reedy banks. 

Ever since the trip I have been thinking about how awesome if was. I can't wait to go again.

Thames River, north of  Fanshawe CA - photo taken from my kayak. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Face-to-Face with a Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

Black Saddlebags is one of the migratory species of dragonflies found in our area.  Yesterday at Hawk Cliff near Port Stanley  numerous Saddlebags and Green Darners went through.  

It is interesting to note that the face of this species is blue. Something I wound't have know until I zoomed right in. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fall wildflowers - Gentian/Gentiana

The camera can't quite capture the brilliance of fringed and bottle gentian which seem to glow.  Many gentians are difficult to grow outside their wild habitat, so they can be relatively rare.  It is always a good surprise to find them in a new location.

 The are late bloomers. Some of these photos were taken a late as last Saturday. As my last two posts show there is lots of interesting wildlife to see this time of year.

Bottle Gentian ( G. clausa) from St. Clair Township

Fringed Gentian (G. crinita)  from St. Thomas area

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Amazing Mushrooms

As I brush up on mushrooms, anticipating the fungal foray at the end of this month, I have gone on a few self-guided and one group mushroom walk in the last week.  I have seen some pretty interesting mushrooms around, but nothing as spectacular as the grove I found at Clark Wright Conservation Area in Strathroy today.

The rain over the last couple days made for excellent growing conditions.  Get out there and see them while you can!

Large (caps up to 20 cm diameter) Amanitas

This one is for scale... you can see that these Amanitas are enormous. 

Here's another (slightly out of focus) so you can see the scale. 
Here is a map to the location, in case you would like to check them out yourself:

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Announcing: Fungus Bio-Blitz at Newport Forest

Sunday, October  27, 1:00pm—4:00PM

Rain Date:  Sunday, November 3

Newport Forest is at 22130 Fleming Line near Wardsville, ON

Please bring any of the following items to share with the group:
¨ Mushroom field guides
¨ Hand lens
¨ Specimen containers

fun·gus  (n. pl. fun·gi or fun·gus·es): Any of numerous eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Fungi, which lack chlorophyll and vascular tissue and range in form from a single cell to a body mass of branched filamentous hyphae that often produce specialized fruiting bodies. The kingdom includes the yeasts, molds, smuts, and mushrooms.
The Fungus Bio-blitz is all about learning more about this under-appreciated kingdom.  Activities will be led by Dr. Greg Thorn,  expert mycologist from Western University and three amateur fungophiles: Kee Dewdney, Bruce Parker and Erin Carroll. 
If conditions look unfavourable for October 27, an email will be sent Saturday October 26 at about 8pm letting all registrants know about change of date to November 3.
Please register with Erin Carroll:
Registration is limited, please sign-up early to reserve your spot.Directions will be provided with registration confirmation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Royal River Cruiser, Petrolia!

I found this dragonfly at Bridgeview CA in Petrolia. MNR confirmed for me that it is indeed a Royal River Cruiser - the first record they have so high up on Bear Creek.  An exciting find for me.

Royal River Cruiser 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Botanizing and other things at Newport Forest, Wardsville ON

It was a blissfully relaxing day at Newport.  All who joined in had a enjoyable time investigating the plants and animals.  For a full write-up of the day, see Kee's bulletin here:

This coyote/fox (? tail seems too skinny)  frolicked in the hay field near Newport. 

This plant at first a stumper, keyed out to be a Showy Tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense).  Rounded seed pods and dense pubescence on the mid-vein. 

Purple Joe Pye Weed , Eupatorium purpureum

The "beach" along the Thames has excellent species diversity. Highlights for me - all found in this small hotspot,  were an American Rubyspot Damselfly, American Snout butterfly, Kingfisher and the Hackberry Emperor pictured above.  

Wild lettuce?  

This giant fly bit me. OUCH!  I caught it and harassed it in return.

Probably Spotted Pye Weed

Cup plant, almost done flowering.  I have always liked the look of haggard flowers.

Rainbow Darter from Fleming Creek
Mayfly of Fleming Creek

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Some Butterflies and Odes of Clark Wright CA in Strathroy

For two days I scavenged Clark Wright for all the odes and butterflies that I could find.  I didn't find anything too rare, but it there was good butterfly diversity. 

Meadowhawk sp. 

From top left clockwise: Widow Skimmer (male), Ebony Jewelwing, Widow Skimmer (female), Eastern Pondhawk, Twelve  Spotted Skimmer, Meadowhawk sp., Meadowhawk sp., Spreadwing, and in the middle a Green Darner. 
Dun Skipper

Cabbage White

 From top left clockwise Hobomok Skipper, European Skipper, Peck's Skipper, Eastern Comma, Common Wood Nymph, Little Wood-Satyr,  Milbert's Tortoiseshell, Great Spangled Fritillary, Little Glassywing, Silver-spotted Skipper. 

 Small wood frog.  Maybe one of the ones I reared and released this year?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Kingfisher Family

Darren Jacobs and  Pat Dewdney spotted this family of four Kingfishers upriver of Newport Forest (near Wardsville ON) on the Thames River on Sunday. They also spotted a Bald Eagle, Spotted Sandpipers,
and an Osprey on their trip.  Most regrettably, I was home sick, but Darren kindly shared these photos. for me to post.

A full report on the trip, including the butterfly count results, is available at:

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bye the Bay, Rondeau

Last weekend Jake and I stayed at the recently re-opened "Bye the Bay" B&B in Rondeau.  It was a great stay for many reasons:  the view from our third floor balcony which overlooked the vast yard, watercourse and bay. Our hosts were welcoming and generous. The homemade breakfast was better than a restaurant.  Would strongly recommend the resort to anyone looking to enjoy Rondeau in comfort.  

I was able to get to the park early while it was still cool and all the birds were singing loudly.  There were many vireos.  Below are some pictures of my other finds:

Blackburnian Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Red-headed Woodpecker