Trout lily survey

Why are the anther colours different in trout lilies?  This might be a question that enters your mind every spring if you enjoy exploring forests and watching ephemeral plants flower before the canopy closes over and the presence of biting insects dissuades you from entering the forest.

For those not sure what I am talking about, here is a photo I took this morning (in McCarthy Woods) of two trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) growing side-by-side that have different anther colours (red versus yellow).



Enjoying springtime in the Arboretum - pollinators visiting squill flowers

I went to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and the Arboretum today hoping to photograph bees visiting flowers, since I know that Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) should be flowering by now and they usually get visitation from pollinators (based on last year's observation).

At the Arboretum, there were many birds species.  Here are some of them:

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) keeping an eye out for his female companion.


Enjoying springtime along Rideau Canal

The weather has been so nice lately that I walked along the canal several times this past week.

Last Sunday (17th)

Canal during springtime
Many people were out in summer clothes.


Fauna/flora surveying at Gatineau Park (2016)

It is that time of the year again where I help out with the survey of spring ephemerals and emerging bees at Gatineau Park.  To read more about it, check out my previous posts from 2014 and 2015 (parts 1, 2, and 3).

It is always nice to be back out in nature (especially after a long winter), to step on foliage and into muddy puddles, and search for anything moving, making sounds, or just being attractive.   Since it is only early spring here in eastern Canada, we didn't see any bees constructing new nests in the nest boxes and saw only some hepatica flowers in the quadrats.

While I was checking the nest boxes, I noticed this Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) pecking a tree nearby.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)


Checking for Spring around South Keys area

I went for a long walk around my neighbourhood this afternoon trying to document some of the organisms that are emerging and becoming more active/abundant with every passing day.

Hepatica (Anemone sp.)
Hepatica (Anemone sp.) - always the first ephemeral to emerge in McCarthy Woods.


Who is ready for Spring? Flowers, birds, and I.

Knowing that I was already two days behind in my "annual spring check-up at the Arboretum" (see my 2014 and 2015 posts) because of my busy work schedule, I decided to finish work earlier today so that I can go find the flowers afterwards.

The flowers seemed to bloom right on the calendar date (regardless of the type of winter we had) and when I got there this afternoon, most of the flowers appear pretty old already.  Sadly, there were no pollinators visiting the flowers.

Crocus sp.
This was the best image of the blooming Crocus sp. that I photographed.


New birds of the year

I took the long route to the bus station (around Sawmill Creek Wetland) yesterday, and I was very glad that I did - because of the birds that I saw.

Female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus).


Waxwings in backyard & Photo updates

There was a large museum of waxwings (about 200 individuals - mostly Bohemian and some Cedar) hanging out in my backyard this morning.  I left my E-M1 camera at school yesterday so I had to use my phone and E-620 to document them eating the berries in the backyard.

Mostly Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus).


Checking to see if winter is gone yet

I did some bird-watching this and last weekend.

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) at Fletcher Wildlife Garden last Sunday.


Bird-watching in FWG

I took the long way to school today via Fletcher Wildlife Garden hoping to see some signs of Spring.

Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens)
One of the first things I saw was this pair of Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens) fighting along the tree trunk.


Going outside and waiting for Spring

With rising temperature and melting snowpack, it is difficult not to think about Spring.  Nowadays, I try to go outside whenever the weather is nice and I need a break from computer work so that I can discover that first hint of Spring (from a flower, insect, bird call, anything!).

Almost a week ago, it was still pretty cold when I was walking along the Rideau River.

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Assorted photos in February

Here are some photos I took the past several days.

The Rideau Canal Skateway officially closed for the season yesterday and ended the shortest season on record (18 days).  Thankfully I got a chance to spend some time (walking) on the canal last Friday and to test my new lens.

Skater on Rideau


Updates & Visiting Mud Lake

This week is reading week at University of Ottawa, so there are no classes for undergraduate students, which also means a less hectic week for me.  One thing I was planning on doing this week was looking for Snowy Owls.  The approximate location of the Snowy Owls is not very close to where I live and public transportation does not even come close to the area, so I have been waiting for some free time and good weather in order to make this thing happen.  And today is finally the day!

Another thing that happened this week was that I came across an ad of someone selling one of the lenses that I have been waiting for a while now - the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens.  After some online negotiation and postponing the transaction because of Tuesday's record-breaking snowfall, I finally received this lens yesterday, and it is beautiful!  Because of the two above things, I set some goals for myself today - find Snowy Owls and test the lens.

Long story short, the first goal was unsuccessful because the road where I thought the owls may be found was not the right one and walking along a busy rural road (during wintertime) without sidewalks does not make me feel very safe (just like the time when I tried to bike to Bridgenorth).  After feeling a bit bummed and tired out, I decided to visit Mud Lake and photograph some birds (and macro shots too) instead.

Mud Lake is completely snow-covered now.  I took this photo with my new lens.  It is so much fun shooting with a sharp prime lens (not really the case for my OM 50mm f/1.8 lens).


Rideau Canal Skateway 2016

The Rideau Canal Skateway opened entirely on Friday for first time this winter.  Here are some of the photos I took on Wednesday and today.

It was snowing quite heavily on Wednesday afternoon.
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