2016/05/25

Flora survey in Gatineau & macro photos of beetles

Yesterday I was at Gatineau Park helping out with the joint lab flora/fauna survey.  The survey is slowly coming to an end as the canopy closes over, the spring ephemerals start to set seed, and the pollinators complete their nesting stage.

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)
In addition to some remaining trilliums, I found this delicate-looking White Baneberry a.k.a. Doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda).

2016/05/23

Wildlife at Mud Lake

Before checking out the blossoms at Lincoln Fields today, I was at Mud Lake watching birds.  One of the first birds I saw was this singing Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus), which I think is a lifer for me.

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Blossoms in Ottawa

In one week, I will be leaving Ottawa and driving to Colorado for my third (and probably final) field season.  To get my body in shape, I have been walking quite regularly in the last few days.  Plus it gives me a chance to enjoy the blossoms along the canal.

Almost summertime along Rideau
It's almost summer-like here in Ottawa.

2016/05/18

Exploring McCarthy Woods for new warbler lifers!

Yesterday I came across this blogger's post about all the interesting birds found in McCarthy Woods and nearby areas.  So today, I went there to look for them myself.

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
McCarthy Woods is quite beautiful this time of the year where the White Trilliums (Trillium grandiflorum) dominate the forest floor.

2016/05/17

Blossoms and a sad finding

Last week at the Arboretum, I made a mental note of when I think the crabapple trees will start flowering so that I can return and photograph the blossoms.

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I went back today and the trees were just before peak-flowering.

2016/05/14

International Migratory Bird Day (2016)

Today is the International Migratory Bird Day, and here in Ottawa, there was an event at Brewer Park that included bird banding, birds-of-prey show, and guided walks around the park.

I was there mostly for the birds-of-prey, which was presented by the same organization from the Science by Night ten days ago; therefore, I had already seen three of the four birds.  But at least this time the birds were outside and able to show off their flying skills.

Fergus the Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)
The new bird was Fergus the Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), a bird found in southern US and Mexico.

2016/05/12

Canadian Museum of History & Tulip Festival

Since living in Ottawa, one of the museums that I have not yet visited is the Canadian Museum of History.  This afternoon, I took advantage of the free Thursday admission and visited the museum for the first time.  It is very similar to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC with a primary focus on the history and culture of Canada's First Nations.  Personally I thought the collection at MOA is more diverse and interesting.

Here are some of the things that caught my attention (most of them are associated with animals in some way).

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One part of "Poo wiltso; Whaler's Dream" (silkscreen) by Ron Hamilton.

2016/05/11

Halictus bee at school & birds near home

Took more pictures of the Halictus sp. bees outside the school building this afternoon.

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So much pollen on its hairy legs!

2016/05/10

Canadian Tulip Pre-Festival (2016) & birds (and one squirrel) at FWG!

The popular Canadian Tulip Festival will begin in two days (here is one of my posts from two years ago).  To avoid the crowd, I went to Dow's Lake this afternoon to see if there are any tulips flowering beforehand.

Ottawa Tulip Pre-Festival
And indeed there were!

2016/05/06

Burrowing Halictus bees on campus

During lunchtime, my labmate rushed into our office and announced that my supervisor was looking at many Halictus sp. bees outside the building!  I initially thought of the Colletes bees I saw more than three weeks at Gatineau Park, but these bees were just searching for nests and not mating.  I quickly stopped eating, grabbed my camera, and asked my labmate to show me the way.

Indeed, there were at least thirty bees flying on a little patch of soil just outside the building, and my supervisor apparently saw a parasitoid wasp earlier as well.  I can't believe I did not see any of this while walking by this morning.  I then sat on the ground (with my back turned to all the people walking by during lunchtime) and started taking pictures of bees burrowing into the soil.

Halictus sp. (family Halictidae)
I have many photos of bee butt sticking out in the air.

2016/05/05

Science by Night at the Museum of Nature (2016)

This evening, a free event called Science by Night took place at the Museum of Nature.  In addition to the usual Thursdays' free open house (in the evenings), there were activities where the visitors could extract strawberry DNA, see birds of prey up-close, talk to paleontologists and park scientists, and more.  Since I have been to the museum many times already, the activity that interested me the most was seeing the birds of prey from Falcon Environmental Services.

Captive Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus).

2016/04/30

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).

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2016/04/24

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.

2016/04/23

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.

2016/04/21

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)

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