Wildlife wonder at Gunnison National Forest

No, this is not another post about poor weather conditions forcing me to update my blog.  In fact, the weather was so decent yesterday and most of today (until late afternoon) that many wildlife seemed to come out of their shelter and enjoy the good weather.

Yesterday, we went to Kebler Pass which was still under at least a couple feet of snow, so I helped out with the bee nest-box checking again.  While walking to the site, I accidentally spooked a grouse and it flew high up onto a tree.

Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus)
Dusky Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) high up on a tree.


Life working under an unpredictable weather

I was able to put in one-and-half days (17th and 18th) worth of fieldwork before today's weather turned unpredictable again and forced me to work inside most of the day.

I discovered that there are (at least) two Gray Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) that hang out near my study site because I saw them there for two consecutive days.



May update #2 - From Colorado

Since my last post, the weather has been a roller coaster ride.  It can be snowing in the morning, the snow melting and sky clearing up by mid-day, but then back to snowing in the afternoon.

Anyways, while it is snowing really hard outside right now, I have entered the data I collected yesterday, sorted my photos taken the past few days, and then decided to write this post.

May 9th

My labmate was examining cocoons and saw these spirally frass inside a cocoon.  Based on the orange colour, we suspect it is one of the composite-specialist bees - either Osmia montana or O. coloradensis.


On the way to work (i.e., from Ottawa to Colorado) and gettng there too early

I was planning to blog much later into the field season than this, but poor weather conditions (with winter snowstorm warnings in effect) here in Gothic, Colorado have halted what I originally planned.

My research/driving partner and I left Ottawa on the morning of the 6th, and we rested overnight at Kalamazoo and Grand Island, just like last year.  I didn't take many photos until we entered Colorado.

Can't remember if this was taken in Nebraska or Colorado.  Landscape in the northeast corner of Colorado is similar to the bordering states.


May update

I am departing for Colorado tomorrow morning, so this will be the only post for the next couple of weeks until I arrive, get settled, start my field season, and maybe take a break to upload my photos and update this blog.

Until then, here are some of the photo I took the last few days.

On Friday (May 1st), I biked to school and saw this raccoon washing its paws in the ditch.  I stopped to take its photo, but it decided to wander back into the shrubs instead.



Spring fauna and flora at McCarthy Woods

I went to McCarthy Woods today to practice UV photography on the flowers.  I am still missing the 40.5 to 48 step-up adapter ring, so handholding the filter in front of the camera lens is not ideal.  Plus, there may be focus shift that I need to adjust once the adapter ring arrives.  While photographing the flowers, I saw many interested things that I photographed with my E-M1.

The first was this Pileated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus) pecking a fallen tree.



Arboretum and UV photography

For the past two days, I attended the annual Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology (OCIB) Symposium at Carleton University.  Yesterday, I went for a walk at the Arboretum after lunch.

Mourning Cloak visiting willow flowers.

Fauna/flora surveying at Gatineau Park (Part 3) & Sawmill Creek Wetland

On April 28th, I helped out at Gatineau Park for the last time this year.

Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)

Random photos from phone and camera

I'm departing for Colorado in less than a week, and life is too busy at the moment for me to post frequently.  Here are some of the photos I took since the last post (and also some photos before that taken with my phone that I didn't upload to my computer until yesterday).

April 22th - Sky-watching.

Looking at the dramatic clouds.


Fauna/flora surveying at Gatineau Park (Part 2)

I went to Gatineau this morning hoping to do bird-watching and nature photography while the regular research crew surveyed the plants and bees.  But the weather was cold (it even snowed a bit) and most of the plants are still in the budding stage.  Here are some of the things I saw.

White trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)


Swallows on Rideau River

Today, I went for a walk during lunchtime to Strathcona Park and saw that the swallows, mostly Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) and some Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), are here!  Taking pictures of swallows-in-flight is a nearly impossible task.  I tried manual focus and blindly clicked the shutter and hoped some photos will have the swallows in focus.  I took at least 200 photos and here are some decent shots.

Swallows on the river.


Assorted photos from the weekend at school

This weekend, I was at school proctoring a final exam and grading lab reports.  Not fun but just something that always had to be done at the end of each semester.  I brought my camera and tried to take some photos when I go outside for a break.

I found a relatively interesting staircase inside the Faculty of Social Sciences Building.

Staircase in FSS Building
View from the bottom.


Fauna/flora surveying at Gatineau Park (Part 1) - 2015

These past two days (Wednesday and Thursday) I was helping out with a fauna and flora surveying project at Gatineau Park (same as last year).  The weather was very pleasant and I felt great (but exhausted) from being outside most of the day.  It's a great way to prepare my body and mind for the upcoming field season.

Rideau Canal
I took this picture on Tuesday when I walked along the canal during my lunch break.  The ice has pretty disappeared by now.


Wood Ducks on Rideau River

Another warm and sunny day today.  I walked over to Strathcona Park during lunchtime to see what I could photograph, such as the flying gulls, cormorant, etc.  The only decent photos I ended with were of a pair of beautiful Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) swimming on the Rideau River.

Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa)


Spring is here because of flowers and pollinators

Last night, I was planning where to go today and considered taking the bus to Stony Swamp, a natural area southwest of Ottawa where photos of interesting animals are frequently shared on Facebook, such as Black-backed Woodpecker during the winter, porcupines, frogs, etc.  But the thought of the trip taking almost two hours, while it is located 15.6 km west of where I live, is kind of ridiculous (Ottawa transit system is quite poor compare to the Metro Vancouver transit system).  Anyways, I decided to walk to the bus station (via Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetland) and visit the Arboretum in the end.

Little did I know I would see several interesting things today.

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
First was this pair of Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) - first of the year!
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