Probably the last post of 2011...

The sky cleared a bit in the afternoon, so I decided to go a bike ride when the weather is decent. Plus, I wanted to test out my new camera outdoors.

The new camera is small and easy to carry. But the image quality suffers when compared with the Olympus DSLR - due to the smaller image sensor. The lens on the point and shoot is not very good either - look at the landscape to the left of the photo, blurry and not sharp at all.


False alarm

When I was woken up the emergency fire alarm early in the morning and realize there was a power outage, the first thought that went into my mind was the world was coming to an end (ahead by 357 days).

I snapped a photo of the dark and yet beautiful starry night in case that was true. Unfortunately, it was only a temporary power outage and was restored back to order shortly.

I don't think I have yet gotten a good night sleep since coming back to BC (especially with our terrible, noisy, and rude neighbors upstairs).


Arctic ground squirrel in Ivvavik National Park

Here's another post about the animals of Ivvavik National Park - the Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii) or as the northerns like to call it "Sik-sik" (because of the chattering sound it makes).

They are found in all the places I was at this summer and quite entertaining to watch sometimes.

Baby Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii)
We found this baby on our second hike to Inspiration Point. It was hiding underneath a rock and making threatening noises.


Test shot of Nikon Coolpix S4100

Got myself a little point and shoot camera yesterday so that I don't have to bring my DSLR to events not worthy of bringing it, e.g. socializing with friends, biking to get groceries, etc. It is a Nikon Coolpix S4100. Not exactly the type of camera I was hoping to get, but it is small and portable enough for my to use everyday. For example, while I was working this afternoon (yes, I am working on my research from home during the holiday season) and I heard geese calling from a field nearby, I quickly grabbed the camera, lifted the curtains, and snapped the shot. As simple as that.

Really wish the weather would get better at least once before I leave BC next month.


Abstracts from conferences

I am currently putting together a scholarship application and need to include abstracts from my past conferences. It took me a while to find them. Not the most well-written abstracts, but here they are, just in case if I ever forgot about them.


"Examining the roost selection of Formosan Tube-Nosed Bat, Murina puta, in the Taipei Zoo Forest," Taiwan Tech Trek 2008 Academic Conference, August 2008.

From June to August of 2008, we studied the roost characteristics of the Formosan Tube-Nosed Bat, Murina puta. Roost conservation is important for M. puta, because they are considered a threatened species and endemic to Taiwan. Our sampling area was the Taipei Zoo Forest, a temperate forest region spanning 14.4 hectares. To capture the bats, harp nets were left overnight in the forest. Radio transmitters were glued to the captured bats, which were released at dusk, their usual feeding time. Upon release, the bats were tracked for a maximum of twenty-one days in which the location, temperature, luminance, and moisture of their roost area were recorded. To prevent disruption of bat roosts, data such as roost length, area, and height were collected after the bats moved to other locations. Upon analyzing our data and past data, we found that tube-nosed bats prefer to roost in Alpinia speciosa K. schum second to dead tree ferns, Cyathea lepifera, and its primary roost selection. This is the first study in Taiwan to track bats in their specific roosts, and thus can be used as an example for future research on other bat species. Through this study, we can make more knowledgeable decisions for the preservation of M. puta and conservation of its natural habitats in Taiwan.


“Primary investigation on the breeding biology of Taiwan Barbet (Megalaima nuchalis) in Taipei Botanical Garden,” Taiwan Tech Trek 2009 Academic Conference, Taiwan, August 2009.

The breeding biology of Muller’s Barbet (Megalaima nuchalis) was studied in Taipei Botanical Garden (TBG), Taipei City, Taiwan during the breeding season of 2009 (ongoing). The breeding activities of Muller's Barbet began in April and likely to end in September based on last year’s observation. Muller’s Barbet is a monogamous species, and both parents share duties in nest excavation, egg incubation, and chick rearing. The average clutch size was 3.07 eggs (n = 13), and it took an average of 15.8 incubation days (n = 5) for the eggs to hatch. Once hatched, the nestlings required an average of 28.0 brooding days (n = 4) for them to develop and fledge. On average, 56.7% of the eggs successfully hatched new nestlings (n = 10), and the mean fledgling success rates were 52.4% (n = 7) and 77.8% (n = 7) relative to the number of eggs laid and number of nestlings hatched, respectively. Overall, out of the 13 clutches with eggs, 6 clutches successfully produced one or more fledglings. In TBG, a total of ten nest trees were located, and the predominately tree species was Cinnamomum camphora (40%). Most of the nest cavities of Muller’s Barbets were located inside dead branches or trunks of either living or dead standing trees, with the exception of a nest cavity in a living branch of a Cordia dichotoma tree. Overall, this study provides a source of information for future researches on the ecology of Muller’s Barbet and the effect of green spaces on urban biodiversity.


Strolling in Terra Nova and seeing a lifer - Greater White-fronted Geese

Today, I drove my father to work so my mother and I could use the car to run errands, e.g. buy groceries, etc. Afterwards, we went to Terra Nova for a stroll.

Reflection on the slough


Another bike ride to South Dyke

Another bike ride to South Dyke before the sun sets. Along the way, I saw a female Hooded Merganser in the ditch and a Bald Eagle flying over me. In total, I saw at least three different Bald Eagles.

Shining down on us


Burning bright

I fixed my punctured bike tire this morning and tested it out in the afternoon. Not too bad for a first-timer (learning from watching YouTube videos).

Here were some photos from the South Dyke. Did I mention there are many feeders along the trail now - compared to before? I guess people like to watch the birds and dogs at the same time.
Back of a Downy


Back to BC

I am finally back to BC for a bit of break. Well actually, I still have a lot of work to do but it would be interesting to do them in a different (and more relaxing setting). I arrived on Wednesday (14th) but it wasn't until today that I decided to bike out to the dyke.

Everything looks so familiar and yet so intriguing.


Some of the birds in Ivvavik National Park

Life is still very busy right now - I have a final exam (on Statistics) on Sunday, a committee meeting on Monday, need to grade all the research reports for the Plant Ecology class, invigilate the Plant Ecology final exam on Wednesday, and fly back to BC on the same night. Phew!

I can't wait to go back to BC to relax (just a bit...still a lot of work to do back home) and do some birding - I have seen a lot of Snowy Owls photos by Lower Mainland photographers that I am feeling very jealous of. Birding is not particularly interesting here, or maybe I am just way too busy.

Here are some of the bird photos that I took this past summer in Ivvavik.

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) - they were found in alpine tundra areas - grassy or rocky with very little vegetation.


Porcupine caribous in Ivvavik National Park

First, some things that I did on the days that I did not write a post. On Saturday (11/26), I went to a show where bands Bruce Peninsula and Snowblink were playing. It was awesome - very entertaining and great music! On Sunday, I went to one of my supervisor's end-of-year party. And then back to school once again.

Sometimes after working on my assignment about my thesis project, I take a break by watching the latest documentary by BBC called Frozen Planet. It's very relevant to me because it is about the polar regions and some of the scenery from the Arctic reminds me of my summer. The episode I am watching now is titled "Autumn" and one of the segments is about the fall caribou migration in north Canada (I watched this episode from this uploaded video because I am not in UK).

This reminded me of June 13, a day when an astonishing number of caribous moved on the hills on the other side of the Firth River. It was definitely one of the most memorable wildlife moments in my life.

People watching from a comfortable distance.



Nothing to do with the movie/novel, just the twilight for the past two days. I usually work late in my office and when I look out the window around 4:30-PM, the sunset is already setting and so I go outside for a much needed break and take some photos of the sky while I am at it.




Walking along Jackson Creek

This semester ends in about three weeks, but there are still so many things need to be done!

An outing once a week will help me clear my mind a bit, I hope. This afternoon, I went to Jackson Park and walked next to the creek in the Red pine forest.


Goldenrod Sunset

For one of my classes tomorrow, I have to present my thesis project to other graduate students. I went to the field behind the DNA building to practice my presentation out loud. While there, I also took these photos.

Peterborough Lift Lock and Sunset watching from Ashburnham Memorial Park

As titled...

Peterborough Lift Lock


Shrike behind building

Just before lunch today, the fire alarm went off in the building and everybody was evacuated. I decided to go to the gravel hill behind building. I sat on the hill for a while thinking about stuff, and when I was about to leave, a bird flew from one of the trees and landed nearby. I only had my kit lens and I did the best I can with what I got, but the bird did not seem too typical. Looking closer, I realize it was a shrike - what species, I can't tell for sure. But from the bottom left photo, it looks like a juvenile.

Definitely the most exciting part of the day!



Not something I usually post, but I recently came across this video that I thought was pretty spectacular. Nature never ceases to impress me.

Plus, murmuration is a cool word.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.


Early sunset

Daylight-saving took effect today. The sun set around 6PM yesterday and 5PM today. It was a weird experience to watch the sunset for two consecutive days and they are one hour apart. I guess this is what happens when you live your life according to clocks.

Biked to Little Lake again before I went to do a quick grocery run for the week.

Duck on Little Lake

Ganaraska Forest & Biked to Lakefield sewage lagoon

Another busy week gone by without any free time to take any photos or find anything interesting enough to blog about. Well, I tried Red Lobster for the first time yesterday, it was salty but I definitely had a good time.

This morning, I helped a lab-mate with her research project in Ganaraska Forest. It is a very nice forest - quiet and peaceful. I'd imagine it is livelier in the summer with all the birds and people, but I think I enjoy this time of the year more.
A small part of the forest.


Little Lake and nearby parks

Here are some photos taken from the east side of the Otonabee River prior to my Sunday grocery-run.

Little Lake, Peterborough


Trent's Blue Trail

There are many trails around Trent University, most of which I had not yet explored. Today's weather was decent enough that I biked to the Wildlife Sanctuary and hiked the 3.7-km Blue Trail. I also brought my binoculars with me, but besides the sparrows, juncos, and chickadees, there weren't many birds to be found (although I think I saw a Northern Harrier flying over a field through some trees).

Below are some of the photos I took this afternoon.


House Centipede

Today and yesterday, I saw and photographed nothing except the House Centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrata) that were running around in the living room and bathroom. They are pretty cool animals to look at.

Trapped in a cup. Love the bilateral symmetry of its body.


Successful Owl-Banding Last Night

Let's see what I did so far this week. I went to a pumpkin carving party on Tuesday night. And then I went owl-banding last night. Originally there were several people coming, but in the end there was only the bander-in-charge and myself, which was nice because you really need two people for this task. We were afraid that it might rain but it was overcast but dry (and cool) the entire evening, and we had one of the most successful nights yet - 7 owls with 1 recapture (from the same night).

I left my 50 f2 lens at home and used the standard kit lens instead, the photos turned out well.

Inside the banding cabin - nice and homely.


Rainy/Sunny Day

The weather was pretty unstable today - it would be cloudy and rainy one moment, sunny the next, and then back and forth.

While this was going on, I was using the computer facing the window and I could see the small invasions of chickadees, sparrows, and juncos to the trees right outside my window. I also spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch, so overall, it was an interesting morning.

In the afternoon, while it was still sunny, I went out to get some grocery and took my camera with me. I took some photos of the birds feeding from the wet ground.

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)


First time visitng Miller Creek Wildlife Area

Today I decided to take my biking trip further and go to the Miller Creek Wildlife Area (MCWA) in Bridgenorth. I learned about this place from my friends who took their ornithology class there earlier this semester. Plus, the sun was out when I first woke up this morning so why waste a beautiful day inside.

However, biking to MCWA was tougher than I thought. It is probably because I haven't bike in awhile, or that there are many "hills" along the way, or that there are no bike trails and I had to bike along 70km-limit lanes. Nonetheless, I surprisingly found the place about an hour later without getting lost at all.

Along the way, I saw this snake in the middle of the road with some blood around it. At first I thought it was dead, but a closer look showed that it was still alive. I was unsure if I should leave it be and have other cars end its life sooner or bring it aside and hopefully it will still survive. I chose the latter.

Getting a bike and biking along Trans-Canada trail

After almost two months here in Peterborough, I finally bought a (used) bike today. I know it's a bit late in the year, but hopefully I can get a few sunny days to go out for a bike ride. Plus, this coming week is reading week at Trent so there are no classes at all.

After getting my bike and air pumped into the tires, I went for a bike ride to Jackson Park and then the Trans-Canada trail.

Jackson Park. With my bike.


School stuff

Life is pretty busy right now with school work.

I just handed in an assignment for a class - a "letter of intent" for my M.Sc thesis project. It gives people an idea of what I am working on.


The interaction between dioecious plants and their associating pollinators is poorly known, especially in Arctic ecosystems where plants and insects are extremely sensitive to potential spatial and temporal mismatches. Dioecism in flowering plants is a sexual system where a plant bears either female or male flowers, which allows for the selection of the most favourable genetic combination. For many dioecious plants, the males and females in a population are observed to segregate from each other along an environmental gradient. One of the proposed selective mechanisms causing this spatial segregation of sexes consists of the differences in reproductive investments between males and females [1]. Females require and spend more resources and energy on the productions of ovaries, fruits, and seeds than males that invest primarily on pollen grains. This major difference in reproduction biology indicates that females are more likely to occupy resource-rich habitats than males, resulting in spatial segregation of sexes. The proposed project will select a dioecious plant species and study the biotic and abiotic variations within and between several populations. The variations include female to male ratios, phonological and morphological differences between females and males during the growing season, the resulting fruit set and seed set at the end of the growing season, and the surrounding abiotic environmental factors. The information will be tested for their associations with pollinator richness to determine the effects of pollinator abundance and diversity on the reproductive successes of dioecious females.

In addition to understanding the pollination ecology of dioecious plants, the proposed project will also aim to address the status of pollinators in natural ecosystems across northern Canada. Pollination is an extremely valuable ecosystem service carried out by managed and wild pollinators for many agricultural crops and wild plants. Without pollinators and the plants that depend on them, ecosystems will be reduced or lost, and food security for humans will become seriously jeopardized. Most insect pollinators worldwide are in a state of decline and, because of their importance, there is a growing concern in the ecological community to not only determine the potential drivers causing the declines, but to also develop mitigating solutions [2]. One of the main potential drivers of global pollinator declines is climate change [2]. However, studies pertaining to the effects that climate change has on pollinators in the Arctic, one of the world’s most important ecotones, remains scant. Therefore, the proposed project will also establish baseline knowledge on pollinator abundance and diversity in northern Canada by trapping and identifying pollinators that visit the dioecious plant species of interest.

To fully account for wild pollinator abundance and diversity Arctic ecosystems, the proposed project will be carried out in Ivvavik National Park of northern Yukon: a unique region in the Arctic ecosystem that was unglaciated during the Ice Ages and now has distinct landscapes and biodiversity. The plant species in study will be Shepherdia canadensis, one of the dioecious plant species in the Arctic whose berries are consumed by local First Nations people as well as by wildlife such as grizzly bears. Very little is known about the pollination biology of S. canadensis and the associating pollinators, however, especially given Arctic’s short growing season. Overall, I hypothesize that along an elevation gradient where harsher environmental conditions are found in higher elevations than lower elevations, female S. canadensis will be more dominant in lower elevations and vice versa for the males. Furthermore, I hypothesize that pollinator abundance and diversity will also differ along the elevational gradient and result in different reproductive success rates, such as fruit set and seed set, of the females.

My objectives are to: 1. Establish a baseline inventory of pollinator abundance and diversity in Ivvavik National Park; 2. Determine the sex ratio and sexual dimorphism of dioecious S. canadensis populations in Ivvavik National Park along an environmental gradient (e.g. elevation gradient); and 3. Examine the effects of pollinator abundance and diversity on the reproductive success rates (e.g. fruit set and seed set) of S. canadensis plants in different populations along the environmental gradient. This project is important and relevant in terms of its fundamental goals of understanding the effects of sexual selection by pollinators on the ecology and evolution of dioecious plants and the impacts of climate change on wild pollinators and plants in Arctic ecosystems.

[1] Bierzychudek, P, Eckhart, V. 1988. Am. Naturalist. 132: 34; [2] Potts, S. et al. 2011. TREE. 25: 345.


And then today we had a lecture on how to communicate to the general public by one of Trent's professors.

Here are some points, quotes, and articles that I thought was pretty good:

- Scientific research is like putting a jig-saw puzzle together without the picture on the cover box, there will always be pieces of uncertainty.
-There is an ethical justification for conservation biology - can we knowingly allow a species to die off? Human survival depends on many species, and now other species' survival depend on us!
-"The bird and bees, however, beg to differ. Myriad wild species are showing polward shifts in their distribution and changes in the timing of breeding and flowering - an unmistakable biological footprint."
-Tracking long-distance songbird migration by using geolocators by Bridget Stutchbury and colleagues.
-Climate dominoes tumble slowly by James Schaefer.
-Ecological science and sustainability for the 21st century by MA Palmer and colleagues.
-Preparing for an interview - know the goals of the interview and the reporter, anticipate tough questions, identify other experts, know the headlines, be concise, conversational, and catchy, and don't repeat the reporters' words.
-Take control the direction of the interview by using phrases:
- "Yes...in addition..."
- "No...let me explain..."
- "I don't know that...but I do know..."
- "The real issues are ..."
- "What you are really asking is..."
- "Let me put it in a different perspective ..."


Algonquin Weekend

I arrived back in Peterborough yesterday afternoon. The Algonquin trip was fun despite the rain and the absence of wildlife, such as moose, otters, etc.

The weather was actually nice on Saturday morning. Photo taken while waiting to get picked up.


Visiting Algonquin this weekend

More than a year ago, I was in Algonquin. When the trip ended, I wished for another chance to come back again. Then grad school happened and now I am going there again. Life is full of surprises sometimes.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Fall leaves

Nothing in particular. Just taking some photos of the maple leaves near where I live before heading out for poutine with my roommate.


Northern Saw-whet Owl banding

Last night I did something very exciting - helping out with the Saw-whet Owl-Banding!

The project focuses on Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus), the smallest owl in eastern North America, and bands them every October during their winter migration down south. We set up mist nets at Trent's James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre and used playbacks to attract these curious birds. We check the nets every 30 minutes and start from sunset until midnight.

Yesterday we caught four owls in total and below are some photos from last night.

This girl was fine (most of the owls we caught were females), but she certainly didn't act like it.


Autumn in Jackson Park

Yesterday I spent my entire afternoon in a coffee shop trying to complete one of my assignments for school. I did pretty much the same thing this morning, but in the afternoon, I decided to go over to Jackson Park for a nice stroll.

This is a great time to be out and enjoy the trees changing colors.

Maple Bokeh
Beautiful bokeh


Friday before the long weekend

Yesterday, I found a shield bug outside a glass door on campus and since I didn't bring my macro/telephoto lens, I brought it home in a glass jar.

And today, I brought it back to school (along with the lens) and took photos of it on the dead yarrow.

Don't know what species this is, but it is still pretty cool-looking.


New place to bird-watch at Trent

I just found a neat spot to relax just behind our DNA building. There's an abandoned barn, a garden, and a field with plenty of birds to see and photograph.

Unfortunately I didn't bring my telephoto lens today. So I will have to try to take bird photos next time. The top left photo was a Turkey Vulture flying over me, thinking I am dead or something. Nope, still alive.

Also, I signed up for owl banding on this (and the next) Monday but it was drizzling in the afternoon so it was cancelled. And now the weather forecast predicts good weather throughout the long weekend. Argh!


Walking along Otonabee River and checking out Head of the Trent

One month has gone by and now we are into autumn now! How quickly time flies. I mentioned a few posts ago that October 1 is Trent's Head of the Trent regatta.

In the morning though, it was windy, cloudy, and cool outside. But the sky cleared in the afternoon and it was beautiful then. Since I am not a fan of large crowds anyways, I decided to take my time and slowly walk along the Otonabee River and towards Trent.

Clear sky


Treefrog and Porcupine

I took the Plant Ecology class to the drumlin next to the campus again this afternoon to teach them about forest community sampling.

While doing the point-quarter sampling method, we saw a little Gray Treefrog on the tree the students were measuring.

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)


Presqu'ile Provincial Park - Part 2

Besides searching for the warblers along the trails and in people's backyards, we also hiked along the beach to watch the shorebirds, as well as the gulls and ducks in the distance.

Owen Point Trail


Presqu'ile Provincial Park - Part 1

As I mentioned on Friday, my supervisor asked me if I want to tag along with her class (and a few people from our lab) on Sunday to Presqu'ile Provincial Park to do some bird-watching. Of course I said yes!

I went a little bit overboard with photo taking today, so today will be split into two parts.

Walking to the bus stop to get picked up at 6:40am. Haven't woke up this early in a long time, but the morning sky is so pretty!


First Annual Purple Onion Festival

Today is Peterborough's first annual Purple Onion Festival, a celebration of local food and culture. It was quite small but the quality was quite good, in terms of information about local food and sustainability, and the fresh produce and food available. Plus, it was a beautiful day to be outside.

Purple Onion Festival in Peterborough


Animals from Trent's drumlin

Well, I have been busy with school. What more can I say?

Actually, I can talk about the alternating rainy-sunny days that have been going on this week. Or that I went to a M.Sc student thesis defense about her project on Chimney Swifts on Tuesday. Or that I led my first ever lab in Plant Ecology to a drumlin next to the campus to teach students how to conduct plant sampling.

Yesterday was pretty fun too, when the AAA club had a meeting and then some of us hiked up to the drumlin to look for birds. There wasn't many birds in the afternoon, but we did saw a few interesting animals.

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Such as this handsome garter snake.


Quick update on my life & First AAA trip.

As expected, school is just too busy for me to spare times for photography. Sometimes I do like to stop and relax and look at the Otonabee River, but I rarely have the time to take my camera out and take pictures. Also, time goes by so fast when in school that I rarely have time to record what I did each day. Am I continuing to seize my days? Let's see, I remembered attending the Avian Appreciation Association (AAA) meeting on Thursday, and we introduced ourselves and planned on where we would like to go for birding. On Friday, I was suppose to discuss my project with one of my supervisors, attend a seminar talk by Dr. Locke Rowe from U of T. There was also a Pow Wow at Curve Lake on Saturday, but I was so tired from the past few days that I decided to stay home and not go. Plus, my roommate and I got a couch for our living room. It looks much better now.

Now, onto today! Today I went on the first field trip with the AAA club to a town north of Peterborough called Lakefield. We went to a sewage pond and tried to spot some ducks. We didn't see many ducks (Mallards and American Black Duck - a lifer that I probably would identify as a Mallard without help), but did saw other birds too, including another lifer, the Chestnut-sided Warbler!

Lakefield's sewage lagoon


Identified insects from last summer

Aside from all the photos from this past summer that I have not uploaded yet, I also have an unknown folder for some of the insects that I wasn't able to identify from last summer. Well, today I found the ID for few of them and decided to make one post out of it.

 Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)
Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)

Wordless Wednesday: Hints of Autumn

Hints of Autumn


Trent's Faryon Bridge & Full Moon

Rock-climbing on a rock-flipping day

Today I went rock-climbing for the first time in my life. It has always been something I wanted to try two years ago but never really had a chance, and whenever I stared up on a rock surface or a tall tree, I always have the urges to reach up and pull myself up. Well, I finally did it today at Trent's rock-climbing wall. I went through the orientation of how to tie the knots when climbing, as well as how to belay climbers. Now I just need to find a partner to go regularly to fulfill my desires of leaving the surface of the earth and move upwards.

Speaking of rocks, today is also rock-flipping day. I remembered it when I got back from the gym and so I decided to just flip rocks around where I live.

Kerr House
Trent University's Kerr House.


Revisiting Jackson Park and the day/night before

First week of grad school went by very fast. Yesterday, we had WHMIS training in the morning (not really applicable to us biologists who uses very few chemicals in the lab) and more TA training in the afternoon (more applicable this time as it applied to situations in biology and during field works). Plus we got to know other graduate students and their research projects.

Nice weather yesterday.

Then in the evening, there was the second annual Pub Crawl hosted by Trent's Graduate Student Association (GSA). It was pretty fun because there were free or cheap beer and it was great getting to know and hanging out with people in my research lab.


Giant Eastern Crane Fly and other thoughts

So the second day of teaching assistant training came and went. It wasn't as helpful as the first day I found because a lot of the materials were repeated (at least twice). The most useful point was probably how to handle the icebreakers, especially on the first day, or what to do when the students are not as responsive as you like them to be. It seems that Trent puts a lot of emphasis on providing a good learning atmosphere for the undergraduate students. I wonder if the graduate students in UBC went through similar trainings as well.

Anyways, that was yesterday. Today I mainly stayed in my office, finishing up paperworks, meeting other graduate students, etc. However, the most interesting thing that happened today was probably finding this cool-looking (but dead) crane fly outside the building.

It wasn't too difficult to find the identity of this distinctive critter. It is a Giant Eastern Crane Fly (Pedicia albivitta) with the distinct patterns on its wings. In my field guide, it strangely points out that they have very long and brittle legs, which I thought was a no-brainer (unless the legs are even more fragile compare to other crane flies).

I checked out some of the other graduate students' offices and they had amazing wildlife photos, drawings and artwork on their desks while my (and my office-mates) had empty desks. So I decided to pin this insect as a memorable first insect pinned here in Ontario (actually it is my first pinned insect ever).

Quite a memorable day, I suppose.


First day of grad school

After waiting for so long (four years or four days, depending when you started counting), I am finally back in school! Today's the first day for graduate students here at Trent. The day started with the orientation session with presenters from welcoming us to the school and CUPE people talking about our not over-working ourselves. After the BBQ lunch, there were four different workshops that helped us as new teaching assistants - what students expect from their TA's, effective marking, motivating a group of students, and dealing with difficult students. Each workshop had a different presenter (all from the faculty of arts) but I found all of them to be engaging and super interesting to listen to despite feeling exhausted. If all (or most) professors are like them here at Trent, then I believe this is an awesome place to be!

The orientation was held at the Peter Gzowski College which is also the First Peoples House of Learning, and there were many beautiful artworks on the walls.

And my favorite one was this one by a deceased local artist named Norman Knott. Tern, Heron, Loon, Bittern, and Geese.


Sheep Slot of Ivvavik National Park

In Ivvavik National Park, the closest hiking destination (closer than Inspiration Point) to where we camp is called Sheep Slot, named after the northerly Dall Sheep that inhabit the park. Coincidentally, this is also one of my study sites, located in the sheltered areas next to the river where the soapberry plants grow and thrive.

Sheep Slot of Ivvavik National Park
One of the earlier photos where there was still snow on the British Mountains.
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