Spending more time outside now

Yesterday I was outside at a natural area (i.e., Gatineau Park) for the first time in a couple of months helping my labmate counting flowers.  Most of the park are snow-free, but everything seems to be emerging later than in Ottawa.  We didn't count many flowers but we did see some interesting wildlife.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
The first was this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) walking away from us nonchalantly.


Creatures along Rideau River

Sorry for not posting in a while.  Everything is going well, but I just haven't really had the time to be outside for extended periods of time (especially during the miserable winter weather) and photographing things.  Hopefully with the start of spring (yay!), I can start spending more time outside again.

Spring has begun in Ottawa, and the other day, I saw from ebird that a Harlequin Duck had been sighted along the Rideau River.  The weather was quite nice today, so this afternoon, my girlfriend and I walked over to Strathcona Park and did a little bit of bird-watching.  Along the way, we ran into a friend who mentioned that the water level was quite high and a Snapping Turtle was spotted feeding under a flooded swing set right next to the river recently.  

Once we arrived at the park, we immediately saw a Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus - a bird I haven't seen in six years) swimming with some Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula).

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) with Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)


February update

For some reason, 2017 is going by so fast that I am unable to slow it down and enjoy every moment of it.  I try to take some photos here and there, but I wish I have more to show.

The most exciting part about the first two months is the opportunity to observe lab-reared Bombus impatiens emerging from their brood cells.

Bombus impatiens ready to emerge
First look at the world.


New year birding

Compare to yesterday, today's weather is perfect for doing outdoor activities.  I trekked around the Arboretum and Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG) recording my first birds of 2017.

By the way, I started a Facebook page called PSYL Photography that will feature some of my photographs.  If you visit Facebook more often than my blog, then perhaps that is a good place to subscribe to.  Thanks.

Now, onto today's sightings.  There were many common birds around the Fletcher Wildlife Garden feeders, such as the chickadees, juncos, and more.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
I saw some White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) wedging seeds into tree barks.


Have a great 2017 - Clark and flowers

As 2016 comes to an end, it is time to focus on the positive things that had happened and look forward to the things that will arrive in the new year.

Nothing really exciting (or positive) happened during the first half of 2016, where I was pretty much waiting and planning for my third and final field season.  During my field season, I added several crucial components to my research and visited beautiful places such as Pikes Peak and Conundrum Hot Springs with my friend.  After coming back to Canada, I packed and moved to my own place in Ottawa and went on trips to Quebec City/Montreal and Toronto/Niagara Falls with my mother.  I was mostly busy during the school semester but still enriched my life by going to the Butterfly Show, Big Sky Ranch, and Museum of Nature exhibits.

In 2017, I will be attending a conference and defending my Ph.D dissertation (if everything goes to plan).  Aside from those, my future will once again enter a sea of uncertainties.  I will try to find jobs and think about what I want to do with my life.  I have been thinking about selling my photographs - either to stock photography and/or as prints to anyone interested in them, which means I should enter social media to promote my photos (hence the new changes to this blog).  We shall see if any of that come to fruition, but I will keep everyone posted if I do.

In the meantime, here are some more photos of Clark the cat.

Clark #008


Merry Christmas from Clark the cat

I am currently taking care of my labmate's cat while she goes home for Christmas break.  The cat's name is Clark (after Superman) and he is super adorable!

Merry Christmas!
I made a paper Santa hat today and put it on his head.


An afternoon at Fletcher Wildlife Garden with M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II

Compared to the last few days, today's weather was a bit more agreeable - sunny and not too frigid, so I went to Fletcher Wildlife Garden to test out my new lens.

Because of the sunny weather, I was able to increase the ISO to get faster shutter speeds and increase the depth of field, resulting in sharp images.  The auto-focus was also speedy and accurate, which was the main reason why I got this new lens.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) enjoying the sumac.


Museum of Nature - Reptiles and others

Museum of Nature's current special exhibition is "Reptiles", and I have been there twice already (three weeks ago and yesterday) because reptiles are a group of animals that I interact with the least and I am fascinated by them.

The first animal that you will see in the exhibit is a fierce-looking Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki).  It is sad to see this large animal in a very small display area and is submerged in water all the time. 

Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki)
Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temmincki)


Got a new lens & last full moon of 2016

Out of all the camera lenses that I own, the one I use the most is probably the 70-300mm, a versatile telephoto lens that is good for taking pictures of birds, moon, and even insects.  I remembered how excited I was when I first got it more than six years ago and how much fun I had using it during my trips to Ontario, Yukon, Colorado, and more.  And it was pretty much the reason why I continued my transition from Olympus E-620 to Olympus E-M1 just so that I could keep using this lens.

However, the need to use an adapter and the mediocre auto-focusing on the E-M1 have gotten me considering getting the native 75-300mm lens, which does not require an adapter and has a better auto-focusing capability.  During this past weekend, I found someone selling it online for a reasonable price and decided to buy it.  We made the exchange yesterday, and now I am eager to test it out when the weather is nice.

For now, I took some photos of the full moon tonight and this was the best photo I got (cropped).

Full moon on 2016-12-13

Have a great week!


Familiarizing with winter once again

Winter feels like it has arrived in Ottawa last week; and now, everyone (including myself and the animals) is getting used to the frigid temperature and icy/snowy road once again.  I have been very busy in November and December, mostly working on my research while maintaining some work-life balance.  Sadly, I have not taken as many pictures as I would like.

It was kind of sunny this afternoon, so I went out to the Arboretum and brought my camera with me.

One of the first birds I saw today - a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens).

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