Tuesday 30 April 2019

More Plants, I Guess

Last weekend, I got out on Saturday for a bit to take a look around, with an emphasis on some early season plants, especially False Rue-anemone, which is a threatened species in Ontario.. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Early Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum giganteum)

Early Meadow Rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum)

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Wide Leek (Allium tricoccum vartricoccum)

Running Strawberry Bush (Euonymus obovatus)

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Tree Climacium Moss (Climacium dendroides)

I was also lucky to come across a couple Red-backed Salamanders.

May is finally here, and so the birds (and flowers and bugs) should be showing up any day now. Let's just hope the weather cooperates!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Rondeau Afternoon

This past Monday I went down to the Rondeau area for a few hours in the afternoon. I didn't really have any targets in mind, and I just figured I'd see what I'd see!

I made a quick stop into Keith McLean Conservation area. I had visions of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, but it was quickly found it was not to be. Oh well.

There were a few birds of note around, including two rail species, Sora and Virginia Rail. Both flushed from the side of the marsh as I approached. Not often one gets to see rails! Lots of ducks were present, but the only shorebirds were Killdeer and a Spotted Sandpiper.

Green-winged Teal

Other than birds, there were a number of other things. Carp were quite (unfortunately) numerous in the wetland.

Lots of frogs and toads. I heard Leopard Frogs and a Western Chorus Frog, but no photos of those.

American Toad

A big ol' Snapping Turtle was laying on the bank.

Saw my first American Lady butterfly of the year.

Afterwards, we moved into the park. There was a number of wildflowers right beside the road.

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

As well a cousin of the American Lady, the Red Admiral. Red Admirals have really started to arrive back in Ontario in about the last week.

I made the obligatory drive up Lakeshore road to look for the returning White-winged Dove, which has come back for its fifth year. Some may know that bird and I have quite the "history", as it took me four year and numerous attempts to finally see him. Of course, when I went on Monday he was just sitting out in the open on top of the cottage owner's car.

The dove has had this strange ritual, since 2016, I believe, he had attempted to build "nests" on top of the car. Of course, cars move, so he must restart constantly, but he is very persistent! On this day, he was flying back and forth regularly with sticks to add to his collection.

It took me almost five years, but I finally got some photos I am happy with!

There were numerous sparrows feeding along the roads, mostly Chipping Sparrows with a few Field Sparrows mixed in.

Chipping Sparrow

Field Sparrow

After Lakeshore, we went down to Dog Beach. There were a couple plants of interest.

Torrey's Rush (Juncus torreyi)

Cyprus Spruge (Euphorbia cyparissias)

Also my first Caspian Terns of the year.

Finally, I stopped in for a quick walk of Tulip Tree Trail. Not much birdwise, save for a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, but there were other things to look at!

Black Sooty Mold (Scorias spongiosa)

Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

A number of mosses were present along the trail.

Common Haircap Moss (Polytrichum commune)

Brocade Moss (Hypnum imponens)

Goose Egg Moss (Arrhenopterum heterostichum)

All in all, quite the fun afternoon! I can't wait to get back, as spring has just begun!

Sunday 21 April 2019

Early Spring Botany

While many other birders are busy with their eyes to the skies for birds, I have been spending the last few weeks crouched on the ground looking at some plants. Wildflowers have started within the last week or so to come up, including my favourite April flower, Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).

This one looked a tad odd

Trout-lilies (Erythronium spp.) have started to peak through the forest floor. It will be difficult to discern species until they flower.

Trilliums have also started to come up.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) just started to come up in the last couple days.

A few other interesting miscellaneous finds.

Eastern Leatherwood (Dicra palustris)

Running Strawberry Bush (Euonymus obovatus)

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Salix spp.

Lesser Celandine (Ficaria verna)

Early Meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum)

I have still been going strong with mosses as well. Here are a couple of my favourites.

Redshank (Ceratodon purpureus)

Pincushion Moss (Leucobryum glaucum)

And of course, a couple other life forms to complete the post.

Notonecta undulata

Fathead Minnows

Red Admiral

Orange Legged Furrow Bee

Sylvanelater cylindriformis

I am looking forward to the month ahead. It will be difficult to find a balance between birds and other nature things ;-p