Merry Christmas!

The school semester ended this week and I almost near the end of my degree.  I have not been photographing or blogging as much as before, but hopefully I can resume once I am less busy.  Yesterday morning I went out for a walk to the Fletcher Wildlife Garden hoping to photograph some wildlife.  But it was too snowy, and not many creatures were out and about.  I saw one cute American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) crouching on top of a branch looking a bit cold.

Merry Christmas!


Goodbye to my Four Thirds equipment & Hello to a new lens.

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post was that I recently sold my unused Four Thirds equipment (Olympus E-620 and three lenses) as a part of the Olympus trading promotion, and I bought a new Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens.  I really enjoyed using E-620 and the associated lenses, and hopefully the company receiving it will find it a good home.

I have been using my new lens for a while now, and it is versatile, sharp, and quick.  For example, I can shoot landscape and portrait with this lens.

Autumn colours along canal
Autumn colours along the canal at the beginning of the month.


Autumn colours in Ottawa and Montréal

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I attended the Festival végane de Montréal, and I took some photos of the autumn colours in Montréal and compared them to the photos I took last month in Ottawa.

Autumn colours along Rideau Canal
Autumn colours along Rideau Canal.



2017 marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canada, and there are many celebrations happening in the capital city.  The most current one (from June 30 to October 15) is MosaïCanada150, which consists of artistic displays made out of flower beds (a.k.a. mosaiculture).  I went there twice, and each time there were many visitors which made photographing the displays very challenging.  Here are some of the photos without many people in them.

Puffins, MosaïCanada150


Early fall colours in Quebec

My parents are currently visiting me and wanting to see the changing fall colours here in eastern Canada.  I booked a tour trip to Mont-Tremblant today, and although some of the views were spectacular, the fall colours were not at peak yet.

We first visited Gatineau Park and then took a boat ride on Lac des Sables in Saint-Agathe.  Lac des Sables is probably most well-known for the expensive houses owned by rich people along its shoreline.

Lac des Sables Cruise


Enjoying the almost Fall weather

The weather has been quite perfect lately.  It is approaching those days when some of the leaves are just starting to turn their color but are still on the trees, and you just want to be outside and bask in the warmth from the sunlight.  I walked to the Ornamental Gardens and Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG) yesterday to take some photos.

Bombus sp.
Bombus sp. at the garden.


More urban insects on campus - August 2017

Our pollinator group did two more pollinator observations (plus an single-audience pollinator talk) on campus this month since my girlfriend and I returned back from Portland.

And here are some of the photos.

Bombus griseocollis on Agastache foeniculum
Bombus griseocollis queen missing her left antenna on anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum).


Sights from Portland, Oregon

My girlfriend and I just spent a rewarding but exhausting week in Portland, Oregon attending the Ecological Society of American (ESA) 2017 Annual Meeting.  Aside from going to presentations, eating, and sleeping, there was not much time to explore this interesting city.

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
For example, we woke up very early one day and went for a stroll around a park (Laurelhurst Park) in the neighbourhood, where we came across two young Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii).


Woodpecker in FWG & La Machine in Ottawa!

Yesterday morning my girlfriend and I attended a birding workshop at Fletcher Wildlife Garden hosted by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club.  The highlight of the workshop happened after the workshop ended and we saw a female Pileated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus) pecking on a tree.

Pileated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus)


More urban insects on campus

As I mentioned last month, there is a group of pollination-enthusiasts conducting weekly pollinator observations on uOttawa campus.  Here are some of the insects and plants we have observed this month.

Because of all the insect photographs I am taking, I bought a small flash this month and started incorporating a diffuser and reflector into my macrophotography based on the tutorial from this blogger.

Rose Curculio (Merhynchites bicolor)
Rose Curculio (Merhynchites bicolor)


2017 Ottawa Jazz Festival

This past few days I was volunteering at the Ottawa Jazz Festival.  This was my first time volunteering for this festival, but the weather had been quite uncooperative for me to attend all the shows and properly enjoy the music.  The two main musicians why I volunteered for this festival were: Hannah Georgas and Feist, and I didn't miss them regardless of how bad the weather was.

Hannah Georgas at Ottawa Jazz Festival
Hannah Georgas put on a great show on June 23rd.


Wasp-mimicking Temnostoma fly

I was planting some native plants on campus today and saw a syrphid fly mimicking a wasp by holding its front legs out front like a wasp's antenna.  I believe it is a Temnostoma sp., which I saw a similar one more than four years at Algonquin.

Temnostoma syrphid fly
Nature is so fascinating!


Urban insects on campus

This summer, I am staying in Ottawa and focusing on writing my thesis and not doing any fieldwork in Colorado.  To maintain a good work-life balance (especially when the weather is nice out), my labmates and I are helping setting up a group that focuses on enhancing our understanding about urban pollination on campus - by planting native plants and recording plant-pollinator interactions.  Yesterday, we walked around the campus and I photographed some of the floral visitors that we observed.

Agapostemon bee
An Agapostemon sp. visiting and resting on a sage flower - definitely my best photo of the day.


Crab apple blossoms and birds

My parents left Ottawa this afternoon, but in the morning, I took my mother to the Arboretum to look at the crabapple blossoms that usually bloom at this time of the year (e.g., last year).  My mother loved how colourful the flowers were and took a lot of photos.

Crab apple blossom
Close-up on a flower.


Canadian Tulip Festival - 2017

My parents flew from BC to visit me this week, and I brought them to see the Canadian Tulip Festival a couple of times, as well as visited Montreal for two short days.  They are leaving tomorrow, but I think they had a good time overall.  Here are some of the pictures from the tulip festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival


Doing a bit of fieldwork at Gatineau Park

This morning, I helped my friend with her trout lily (Erythronium americanum) research at Gatineau Park (click here to read more about it from last year's post).  When we arrived at the park, the weather was not optimal to perform hand-pollination, so we grabbed coffee from the nearby Siberian Cat Café, where I took photos of these gorgeous cats.

Siberian Cat


Spring - time for birds and bees

This past two days, I have been attending the OCIB symposium at Carleton University.  On my way home, I walked through the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and Arboretum to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  I saw many birds yesterday but I did not bring a binocular or a camera to identify the birds properly.  Today, I brought my camera and it was definitely more satisfying when I can identify the birds.

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)
Yesterday, my girlfriend and I saw many skinny small birds fluttering from branch to branch that we could not identify.  Today, with my camera, I realized they were probably Blue-headed Vireos (Vireo solitarius) which I have not seen before!


Spending more time outside now

Yesterday I was outside at a natural area (i.e., Gatineau Park) for the first time in a couple of months helping my labmate counting flowers.  Most of the park are snow-free, but everything seems to be emerging later than in Ottawa.  We didn't count many flowers but we did see some interesting wildlife.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
The first was this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) walking away from us nonchalantly.


Creatures along Rideau River

Sorry for not posting in a while.  Everything is going well, but I just haven't really had the time to be outside for extended periods of time (especially during the miserable winter weather) and photographing things.  Hopefully with the start of spring (yay!), I can start spending more time outside again.

Spring has begun in Ottawa, and the other day, I saw from ebird that a Harlequin Duck had been sighted along the Rideau River.  The weather was quite nice today, so this afternoon, my girlfriend and I walked over to Strathcona Park and did a little bit of bird-watching.  Along the way, we ran into a friend who mentioned that the water level was quite high and a Snapping Turtle was spotted feeding under a flooded swing set right next to the river recently.  

Once we arrived at the park, we immediately saw a Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus - a bird I haven't seen in six years) swimming with some Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula).

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) with Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)


February update

For some reason, 2017 is going by so fast that I am unable to slow it down and enjoy every moment of it.  I try to take some photos here and there, but I wish I have more to show.

The most exciting part about the first two months is the opportunity to observe lab-reared Bombus impatiens emerging from their brood cells.

Bombus impatiens ready to emerge
First look at the world.


New year birding

Compare to yesterday, today's weather is perfect for doing outdoor activities.  I trekked around the Arboretum and Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG) recording my first birds of 2017.

By the way, I started a Facebook page called PSYL Photography that will feature some of my photographs.  If you visit Facebook more often than my blog, then perhaps that is a good place to subscribe to.  Thanks.

Now, onto today's sightings.  There were many common birds around the Fletcher Wildlife Garden feeders, such as the chickadees, juncos, and more.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
I saw some White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) wedging seeds into tree barks.

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