Friday, August 27, 2010

Back yard photos

August 7th, 2010 - 6:53 am

Bright summer morning. Taz is enjoying laying on the grass and chewing on his bone.

August 17th, 2010 6:30 pm

The sky is clearing after a storm.

August 19th, 2010 - 6:10 pm

A rainbow after a storm.

September 4th, 2010 8:15 am

The dogs are enjoying another nice morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On TV, take 9

I didn't have the camera ready for the tv pictures this day, because I wasn't expecting my photo to be on. However, this photo of a pair of Northern Bluets did air on August 25th.

This is a pair of Northern Bluets (a damselfly, sometimes confused with a dragonfly), completing the mating and egg laying process. The female is on the bottom, laying her eggs on the vegetation,

Baby Blandings Turtle

I was picking up the dog toys off the lawn in preparation for mowing it, and I saw this tiny baby turtle - okay, it's really called a hatchling. This is a baby Blandings Turtle - that's my left thumb in the photo for scale, so you can see just how tiny it really is! I have posted photos of an adult Blandings Turtle before - one was trapped in our yard and we also saw it on the front steps. You can see those pictures by clicking here.

Front view of the baby.

Back view - look at its tiny sharp claws! I found out afterward that you shouldn't turn them upside down. Sorry baby Blandings!

And put it down in the grass - off you go little fella!

Infant Mortality

Brown Snake. This snake is very timid and will freeze in its tracks if it senses you there - just like this one did. I didn't move for the entire time I was standing and taking photos - about 1 1/2 or two minutes.

I labeled this a Brown Snake, but it might be a Northern Red-Bellied Snake as they look very similar from above. I didn't pick the snake up to confirm its identity because both of these species of snake are so timid. The Northern Red-Bellied Snake has a red belly, of course!

The following is from the Ontario Snake Reference Guide:
Brown (or DeKay's) Snake: Brown with a beige belly, and often small black spots along the back. This small (up to 40 cm) snake is sometimes found when moving rocks or pieces of wood. Very timid, the Brown Snake does not bite or musk. Because it eats slugs and worms, this snake is a gardener's friend! They are nocturnal, and can be found even in urban areas throughout southern Ontario where patches of habitat exist.

The following juvenile creatures were victims of road mortality.

Stop reading if you don't want to read or see more - the photos are NOT gory.

Smooth Green Snake - yes, that's really what the species is called! The underside fades to a pale creamy white.

This poor snake was run over - you can see where the stones in the road punctured its body. It was obviously writhing in agony to get all twisted up like that.

The following is from the Ontario Snake Reference Guide:
Smooth Green Snake: A beautiful bright green snake to behold. The green snake does not defend itself if caught, but it is a fast mover. Ontario’s only insect-eating snakes, they love to eat grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars and also spiders. They may grow to about 50 cm in length, and are very slender.

Blandings Turtle hatchling - it is on top of a piece of 4x4, so you can see how small it is.

This turtle hatchling was hit by a vehicle and suffered fatal injuries. I will not post the photo of the hatchlings underside. :(

A Northern Red-Bellied Snake - another poor roadkill victim. I confirmed the identity by taking a photo of the underside of the snake - which I will not post here as it is a bit gory.

The following is from the Ontario Snake Reference Guide:
Northern Red-Bellied Snake: Similar to the brown snake, but even smaller, and as the name implies, it has a red (or orange) belly. The back may be plain brown or gray. Very secretive, this snake is usually only discovered when a hiding place is exposed. Slugs are its main diet, so this is also an excellent garden snake. A very timid snake, it has never been known to bite in self-defense. Red-bellies are found as far north as Lake Superior, but they do not seem to survive in urban areas like brown snakes manage to do.

There was also a very large toad that was squashed that I will not post a photo. Spread your fingers wide apart - that's about the size of the toad. So sad.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On TV, take 7 and 8!

Both of the weather photos on CBC TV tonight were submitted by me... The sunset photo has Freda and Tawny in it, but you can't see it.

This photo of the double rainbow was actually taken by Freda.

Sunsets and rainbows

August 18th, 2010

Sunset on a clear night, with lens flares (internal reflections in the camera lens).

August 19th, 2010

Double rainbow after a heavy rain. Freda took this photo.

August 20th, 2010

Sunset on a mostly clear night, with pretty clouds. Note: if you look carefully at the lower right, you can see Freda and Tawny walking along the road - they are the lighter coloured (whitish) spots in the shadows.

I sent all these photos to Ian Black of CBC. He said he will try to use the double rainbow on the air tonight (Aug 23rd).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birds on the morning walk

When we were walking this morning, we saw a number of Blue Jays flitting around from tree to tree. I managed to snatch a couple of photos, and this was one of the best. The Blue Jay doesn't appear very colourful because it was in the shade.

On our way back home, I heard a bird call and saw this juvenile Downy Woodpecker pecking at the top of this weed. Because the weed and the bird were swaying in the breeze, most of the photos were slightly blurry, and most of the clear photos were a bad angle of the young bird.

It was a gorgeous day, as this photo shows. You can also see how the grass has greened up after the rain.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sneaky Taz

Last night, when I went to bed, I couldn't find Taz. Usually he is on the bed, or on the floor at the foot of the bed, but not last night. I looked in the living room, the kitchen, the solarium, the bathroom, but couldn't find him. Remember that it is night and I am not turning the lights on. I go back in the bedroom and then I hear his tail whacking something. I look, and he is curled up on the new chair. He knows he's not supposed to be on the chair so he had a sheepish look on his face!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Panos in warm weather

August 13th, 2010

What a beautiful day! The hill is starting to turn green again. It was a lovely temperature, with just a hint of wind to ruffle the surface of the water.

This pano shows you the rock collection that Taz has been building - I used a blue asterisk (*) to indicate the rocks (or groups of rocks in some cases) that he brought out of the lake. The area on the right is sandy and was grown in with the weedy rushes, but Taz's playing with the stones (pouncing on them like a cat, and playing with them with his big goofy paws) has sort of cleared out some of the rushes.

The water level in the lake is quite low - about 18-20" below normal at this time of the year. This means the lake is getting warmer, which is harder for the fish to survive. That may have been what happened with this fish. For a few days, Tawny and Taz went over to an area with a bunch of reeds, so I went to investigate. The foul odour was the reason why the dogs were attracted to the area, and the fish is the reason for that odour... Poor fish.

The low water level has also shown us where a Kong sunk. I put some lines of dots to indicate the rope for the Kong so you can see it. The main body of the Kong is just to the left of the row of blue dots.

It's no wonder that Taz can swim so fast as he can make big strokes with his long legs!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

On TV, take 6!

My photo of a bee on a cactus flower (just posted on Saturday). Ian Black is on holidays, so the weather was done by Teri Loretto.

The 2nd photo was a foggy morning on a golf course - very pretty!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Foggy foggy foggy

It is very foggy this morning. I took this photo after I returned from walking the dogs - you couldn't see the lake at all! In fact, the fog was thick, my hair got wet from walking in it.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Beautiful Saturday!

Pano Saturday July 7, 2010

Saturday dawned to the start of a beautiful day! The humidity was low as a result of the rain (or deluges!) we had this week so it was really comfortable temperature wise. The rain is bringing life back to the landscape and the bright sun made everything sparkle!

A bee on a thistle flower.

The barn swallows were swooping around in their acrobatic flight catching lots of bugs. This is the best photo I could get, I took about 20 photos and I'm amazed that even one of them turned out.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Finally, some rain!

After a long dry spell, we had some rain. Torrential rain, actually, for two days in a row. It was nice to have the rain as it broke the oppressive humidity.

August 4, 2010

Rain fell so heavily that the water couldn't run off the path faster than it was falling! We had about an inch of rain in 40 minutes. Some parts of the city had flooding and power outages. Fortunately we weren't affected like that.

I had left the towels out to dry (we dry the dogs off after their afternoon swim) yesterday, and didn't bring them in before the rain started. So I left them out to dry overnight and during the day, but they got soaked again in the rain.

August 6, 2010

We have only seen a few monarch butterflies around this year, far fewer than we normally see. I was able to snatch this photo of one when I was out with the dogs on their morning walk.