Things I saw when I moved at a slower pace...

I missed the bus a few times today, so I ended up walking to and from school today.  I had not done that in a while, and I missed the things I can come across with when I am moving at a slower pace.

Found these small egg shells on the trail.  The parent bird probably took them away from the nest.  I wonder what kind of bird laid these eggs.


Audubon Park, New Orleans

This is will the final post from my New Orleans trip.  I presented my research on Wednesday (July 31) afternoon and we left New Orleans the following morning, so Tuesday was my last opportunity to explore New Orleans.

Based on the recommendation from one of my supervisors, I woke up extra early on Tuesday morning and took the streetcar through the famous Garden District and arrived at Audubon Park to do some wildlife-watching.

The first thing I saw at the park was this beautiful garden and fountain.  There were some Monarch butterflies visiting the flowers and I was planning on taking some photos, but there was a strange individual talking to himself so I gave up on that idea.


2013 Peterborough Folk Festival

The 24th annual Peterborough Folk Festival (PFF) took place this weekend.  It was my third (and probably last) time attending this festival since I will be completing my degree this summer.  See my posts from 2011 and 2012.

For the third year in a row, the weather couldn't been better.


Flower visitors behind DNA building

I finally cleaned out my office space and returned my office key to the department today.  It was a bit sad to leave a space that I used so much during my 2+ years here at Trent.  From now on, I will either work from home or from the research lab.  One disadvantage of working in the lab is that there are no windows, so I need to go outside for a break eventually, otherwise, I'd have no idea if it's sunny or rainy outside.

I went behind the building after working in the lab for a couple of hours.

Sweat Bee (Halictidae)
A metallic green bee on Queen Anne's Lace.


City Park, New Orleans - must visit!

In addition to doing a swamp tour, City Park in New Orleans is definitely a place I recommend visitors to check out, and riding the streetcars to City Park is definitely worth a try - for just $1.25 per trip!  After attending to a couple of presentations on Monday morning and making sure there weren't presentations in the afternoon that I was going to miss, I headed out to the City Park right afterwards.  Once again, this blogger also visited the City Park and she had a slightly different (positive) experience than mine.

City Park gate.


Close-up on Buffalo Treehopper & Full moon

Went out for a walk around the neighbourhood pond for a short break from work.  I smartly brought the 70-300 lens this time.

Queen Anne's Lace


Dead bumble bee and wasp & my macro-photography set-up

As summer slowly comes to an end, flowering plants are slowly losing its colourful attractants and producing seeds of various sizes and shapes for future years.  Insects that had fulfilled their roles in life will also perish and become a part of the natural cycle.

On Saturday evening, as I returned home from school, I found this bumble bee on the sidewalk.  I thought it was dead at first, but then I realized it was just very weak.  I brought it home with me and tried to give it some sugary water, but it didn't respond.  After my dinner, I realized it wasn't getting any better, so I decided to put it in the freezer to end its struggle earlier.  Afterwards, I decided to take some photos of it and keep it  with the insects that I have found dead (not in the hands of me).

Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)
I think I am getting more comfortable with my macro-photography techniques and set-up, given the limited resources that I have (see below).


Honey Island Swamp Tour in Louisiana

On my second day in New Orleans (July 28), my lab-mate and I signed up for a swamp tour at Honey Island Swamp near Slidell, i.e., a chance to see American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in the "wild".

American alligator is endemic to southeastern US and is the official state reptile of Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  It and the Chinese alligator are the only two living species in the genus Alligator.  Alligators belong to the family Alligatoridae, and crocodiles belong to the family Crocodylidae (and both families belong to the reptilian order Crocodylia).  They are real "living dinosaurs" because their lineage goes back to about 240 million years ago, and they are still surviving and thriving in the present (way beyond the extinct dinosaurs).

One common question from most people is what are the differences between alligators and crocodiles.  Basically, alligators have a wider snout and expose only the upper jaw teeth when the mouth is closed.  Meanwhile, crocodiles have a long and narrow snout, and upper and lower teeth are both exposed when the mouth is closed.

To get to Slidell from New Orleans, we drove across Lake Pontchartrain on the Causeway which is the second longest bridge in the world.  Pretty awesome.


Catching up on the days

I am finding that if I don't take any photos during the day then I can't remember anything I did that particular day, e.g., I didn't take any photos from Monday to Wednesday, and now I can't remember what I did during those days.  Luckily, I went back to taking photos two days ago.

Early Thursday morning when my landlord's cat was being silly.


New Orleans, the Crescent City

This is going to be my first post from the New Orleans trip and it will a lengthy post with a lot of photos.

My accommodation during my stay was at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in downtown, so aside from attending to various talks during the Botany Conference, I had a lot of opportunities to explore the downtown area, especially the infamous Bourbon Street and French Quarter.  Therefore, this first post is a photographic collection of downtown New Orleans during my 5-day stay there.

Canal Street
Canal Street with palm trees and streetcar tracks.  Can't imagine being here when Hurricane Katrina hit.


Windy Pine BioBlitz - Day 2

On our second day at Windy Pine, we first went canoeing and then hiked in the forest looking at fungi in the morning.

Kushog Lake
Kushog Lake in the morning.

Windy Pine BioBlitz - Day 1

This past weekend I was at Windy Pine documenting the fauna and flora of the area.  It was sort of like a bioblitz but with only three people.  Once we arrived, the first thing we set out to do was sampling the aquatic invertebrates.

Skullcap flowers at the lake shore.


Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)!

Bats have a special place in my heart because they are the first group of wildlife that I started my career with as an ecologist.  They are always the first animals that I search for when I go to a new place; however, I am not very lucky at finding them.  The last time I saw a wild bat was almost four years ago in Taiwan!

Well, today I saw one outside the DNA building hanging right by the door.  I think it is a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) because according to this PDF document, it should have long silky fur and a large nose.

 Long silky fur

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
A fairly large nose.

What a cool creature.  I hope it finds a better place to rest tomorrow because it was about 3 feet off the ground next to the building entrance, not an ideal place at all.


Close-up on Jagged Ambush Bug

My photos from New Orleans are still in the sorting folder at the moment.  That's the problem of taking too many photos.

Let's work on something much easier.  Went to school on Saturday to drop the university vehicle off and took this photo as I was waiting for the bus.  Nice and simple.


Worked on my thesis from the house today.  I was originally going to catch a bus to school in the afternoon to clean out my office space, but I missed the bus.  So I walked around the neighbourhood instead.  I only had the 50 f2 OM lens on the camera, so I couldn't get too close (or too far) from things.


Arctic/alpine pollination workshop in Kluane National Park, Yukon - Part 2

During the workshop we had various presentations from researchers currently working in the Canadian Pollinator Initiative (CANPOLIN) and members from the Yukon government and local First Nations group.  We also discussed tasks that need to be done as the NSERC funded initiative is coming to an end, and also brainstormed topics/projects that will be of relevance to people living in northern communities and scientists in the future.

Thank you to the AINA for hosting us.


Arctic/alpine pollination workshop in Kluane National Park, Yukon - Part 1

Hello all, my lengthy summer travels concluded on Friday when we drove about 2,000 km from New Orleans to Peterborough, Ontario in 36 hours.  I am slowly sorting through all of my photos from my trips, starting with the workshop titled "Pollination, Climate Change and Invasive Species in Arctic and Alpine Ecosystems" in Kluane Research Station in Yukon.  There will be at least one official document reporting on the outcomes of the workshop, so I will not comment on the specifics. The general conclusion is that researchers (from both Canada and US), the Yukon government, local First Nations groups, and independent scientists all agree about the importance of climate change and pollination and the limited information currently present about Arctic and alpine regions.  Therefore, we will try to incorporate scientific communities and citizens in northern communities to start documenting zoological and botanical changes in various spatiotemporal scales.

Below are photos from the first two days of my Yukon trip (21st to 22nd).

Arriving in Whitehorse on July 21st.  The weather was miserable and rainy.
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