Going outside and waiting for Spring

With rising temperature and melting snowpack, it is difficult not to think about Spring.  Nowadays, I try to go outside whenever the weather is nice and I need a break from computer work so that I can discover that first hint of Spring (from a flower, insect, bird call, anything!).

Almost a week ago, it was still pretty cold when I was walking along the Rideau River.

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Female Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
A female Mallard.  I think someone was feeding these ducks because as soon as I slow down to take pictures, ducks on the water would fly and land on the snow surrounding me.

Unlike the lazy Mallards, this Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) somehow found a large fish and was having itself a nice meal.



Last Saturday, I was walking along the river and spotted this Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii).  Too bad I couldn't see its face.

Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser)

I saw this Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) took something out of a tree hole and started munching on it.

I am not sure if it was eating snow or something else.

So many Mallards.

I went to the Museum of Nature this week and brought just my macro lens to test it out.

Leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) against a green background.  Kind of sad-looking.

Unknown fish.

Then I went to the "Bug: Outside the Box" exhibit to photograph some of the live specimens.

Saw this model of an ant and its design.  I love it when nature is combined with art.

I was there mainly to take pictures and forgot to note what insects I was photographing.  I will have to go another time before it closes in two weeks and update the insects' names in this post.  My apologizes.

Giraffe Stag-Beetle (Prosopocoilus giraffa).

Stag beetle (Family Lucanidae)
Photo taken through the glass.  But what a fierce-looking jaw!

Stag beetle (Family Lucanidae)

Elephant beetle (Megasoma elephas)
Elephant beetle (Megasoma elephas).

There were also display cases of colourful pinned insects arranged in interesting patterns, but I was more interested in photographing the butterflies' wings close-up.


Crop of the previous image.  Here you can see all the scales.


Another close-up.

Butterfly wing

Blue scales.

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis)
Last night, I saw this Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) walking in my room.

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis)
It's so great to own a lens designed specifically for taking macro images.

Woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgare)
While taking pictures of the lady beetle, a woodlouse (Armadillidium vulgare) was walking across the carpet and so I took its photos too.

I went to the Rideau River again this afternoon and saw that there were more open water now than last week.  And there were a lot more people walking around, and some were even in summer clothing (t-shirts and shorts!) - also a sign of Spring.

Portrait of a male Mallard.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Casual bird-watcher
A casual bird-watcher.

Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula)
Male Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula) doing elaborate displays against each other.

Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes
I did not realize there was a Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) among the Commons Goldeneyes until I reviewed my photos.  The male Barrow's Goldeneye has a crescent-shaped white patch on its face.

Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes
Barrow's on the left and Common on the right.

In the middle of the fast-flowing river, the gulls were doing this interesting routine where they would flow downstream for a short distance and then flew upstream and landed on the water (only to be swept downstream again).  Some looked as if they were using that opportunity to bath.  While I was using the opportunity to try the continuous-tracking AF mode on my camera.  Unfortunately, this function does not work well with my older generation lens and so I only got a handful of decent shots.


Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis)

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)

Oh yeah, I heard my first Red-winged Blackbird call yesterday and my supervisor saw snowdrop flowers (Galanthus sp.) outside her neighbour's place recently.  Spring is definitely here!

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