Wrapping up 2014

After the school semester ended in mid-December, I continue to stay in Ottawa to work on my research, as well as taking care of Mertensia seeds and bumble bees for myself and others in the lab, and helping another graduate student with her project on spiny lizards.  I did the same things even in Christmas and felt I needed to get out of Ottawa and take a break.  Thankfully, a friend from Trent kindly invited me back to Peterborough for a few days and I had a great time there (I just returned from there this afternoon).

Half Moon
I bought a tripod this Boxing Day and will use it to stabilize my moon and macro photos in the future.

On the 29th, we went to Eels Creek and hiked to High Falls, a well-known natural waterfall in the area.

Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), one of the few plant species still surviving in the winter.

We came across several areas in the forest where broken spruce twigs (of similar lengths) were found on the forest floor.

End of the broken twig.  A natural phenomenon or caused by animals, such as squirrels?

Hiking with Bronte the dog.

A thin layer of frost/snow on the ground.

Minty-tasting wintergreen with red berries.

A well-constructed and abandoned shelter.

Inside the shelter.

Pileated Woodpecker holes (exaggerated by humans?).

Snow-covered creek without any signs of human footprint.  Sadly, we also came across several areas where previous campers left garbage all over the place.  Never understand the mentality of people who think throwing garbage in natural areas is okay.

Edge of the creek.

High Falls of Eels Creek
Arriving at High Falls.

Water rumbling down the rocks.  I was amazed by this relatively small natural waterfall which is much more impressive than the larger but man-made Hog's Back Falls in Ottawa.

Icicles forming between the log and water.

Close-up on the icicles.

Beaver dam.

Crossing the dam and hurrying to get back to the car before it gets dark.

Looking back at Eels Creek.

The bridge and where the parking lot is.

While driving back Peterborough, we spotted a Barred Owl (Strix varia) perched on a tree close to the road.  The owl paid no attention to us as we stopped the car next to the road and viewed it through the car windows.  Instead, the owl was moving its head side to side and listening to the chickadees singing nearby and looking for potential prey on the ground.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
The sky was getting darker at that time, so the image quality was not the greatest.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
What a handsome bird!

Barred Owl (Strix varia)
This will be my second owl sighting of the almost-concluding 2014, and the first in less than 24 hours upon arriving in Peterborough.

On my second full day in Peterborough, I spent the day identifying stuffed specimens donated to Trent.  There were several amazing and curious specimens...

Such as this incredible Snowy Owl with a ptarmigan in its claws.

And this squirrel with a bottle of rum.

And then yesterday, we went for a walk in Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, which I have never been to before.

Hiking through Warsaw Caves Forest

As the name suggests, there are many caves in the area.

Because of the poor conditions, we did not attempt to venture into the caves.

Indian River

Thanks to my friends in Peterborough who made the end-of-2014 much more interesting, otherwise I probably would have continued to be cooped up in school until the beginning of next semester.

I wish everyone a happy 2015 and hope the new year will be more exciting for me, especially photographing- and blogging-wise.  Cheers.

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