Common Snapping Turtle hatchlings on the Nokiidaa Trail, Ontario

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Common Snapping Turtles along the Nokiidaa Trail in Aurora, Ontario

Early this fall, Bob and I wanted to introduce my sister and brother-in-law to a new trail system that we discovered earlier this year.  It is called the Nokiidaa Trail, which in Ojibwa means “walking together”.  The trail which links between the towns of Aurora, Newmarket, and East Gwillimbury is used by cyclists as well as walkers, and we were on wheels on this particular day.  Well into our ride, I spotted something round and dark on the crushed rock surface of the bicycle trail, and nearly ran over what turned out to be a baby Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).  In the immediate vicinity, we discovered four others lingering on the path. Continue reading “Common Snapping Turtle hatchlings on the Nokiidaa Trail, Ontario” »

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An Eastern Screech Owl (Red Morph) in Burlington, Ontario

 

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An Eastern Screech Owl sits in a cavity of a tree in Burlington, Ontario

Bob and I had heard that, at a particular cemetery in Burlington, Ontario, there are no less than three Eastern Screech Owls (megascops asio) that inhabit nest holes in a couple of different trees.  On the morning of our most recent visit, we did find one of the Red Morph Screech Owls, but when directed to a second tree that a pair of Screech Owls calls home, the cavity showed no sign of its occupants.  It wasn’t until much later in the afternoon that I spotted this Red Morph when it poked its head out of the dark hollow for a peak at the world. Continue reading “An Eastern Screech Owl (Red Morph) in Burlington, Ontario” »

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Eastern Screech Owl: A Master of Disguise In Burlington, Ontario

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We photographed this Eastern Screech Owl at LaSalle Park in Burlington, Ontario

Bob and I could not believe our good fortune when we found a second Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) on the same visit to Burlington, Ontario.  This Eastern Screech Owl Grey Morph is quite different from the Red Morph Eastern Screech Owl we had just observed at a nearby Cemetery. Continue reading “Eastern Screech Owl: A Master of Disguise In Burlington, Ontario” »

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Eastern Screech-Owl Red Morph In Burlington’s Woodland Cemetery

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An Eastern Screech-owl at Woodland Cemetery in Burlington

Well, Bob and I can finally say that we have seen an Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) in the wild, as opposed to one we visited at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre a couple of years ago.  It has taken us two years to finally see the Eastern Screech Owls at Woodland Cemetery in Burlington and not for lack of knowing where to look.  It was overcast one day last week when Bob and I again ventured west of Toronto in hopes of finding at least one of the known Screech Owls out of its nest hole.  Continue reading “Eastern Screech-Owl Red Morph In Burlington’s Woodland Cemetery” »

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Belted Kingfisher At Colonel Samuel Smith Park

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A Belted Kingfisher At Colonel Samuel Smith Park In Toronto

What a challenge to capture any Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in a photograph!  Over the years, as Bob and I have canoed on various lakes and rivers, we have observed countless Kingfishers taunting us with their perpetual cat and mouse routine.  Always just one step ahead of us, it seems that these birds are playful at best, and always wait until we are in sight before taking flight for another tree a couple of hundred feet further down the shoreline.  This handsome female took no notice of our presence on the observation deck at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto. Continue reading “Belted Kingfisher At Colonel Samuel Smith Park” »

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Exploring The Cliff Dwellings At Mesa Verde National Park

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Spruce Tree House At Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park

It was becoming a habit, it seemed, for Bob and me to wake up between 6-6:30 a.m., and the day following our hike on the Bright Angel Trail was no different.  Because our leg muscles were way too spent for any other activity, our intentions were to drive across Arizona into Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park.  Once there, we were absolutely in awe of the excellent examples of preserved and protected cliff dwellings once used by Pueblo people. Continue reading “Exploring The Cliff Dwellings At Mesa Verde National Park” »

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Great Black Digger Wasp At McKenzie Marsh In Aurora

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A Great Black Digger Wasp Builds Its Nest At McKenzie Marsh

When Bob and I set off to explore the Atkinson Park Wetlands found at St. John’s Sideroad and Yonge Street in Aurora, Ontario, we expected to find ducks and herons, frogs and toads, but had not anticipated or planned on focusing on a number of interesting insects.  As I studied the frogs in the pond, Bob was absorbed in observing a curious black bug that turned out to be a Great Black Digger Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). Continue reading “Great Black Digger Wasp At McKenzie Marsh In Aurora” »

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A Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly In Algonquin Park

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A Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly In Algonquin Park

This summer, Bob and I undertook to hike the Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park.  For a summer’s day, the temperature was not all that hot, but we were blessed with wonderful sunshine and a gentle breeze to cool us over the course of the 7 hours that it took to complete our hike.  Along about mid-morning, amidst the flickering shadows cast by millions of green leaves, a Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly (Lethe anthedon) settled its dainty body on some foliage at the edge of the thick forest. Continue reading “A Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly In Algonquin Park” »

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Yellow-Crowned Night Heron At Colonel Samuel Smith Park

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A Yellow-Crowned Night Heron At A Toronto Park

For weeks, Bob and I had been hearing about a Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea) making a stay at Colonel Samuel Smith Park on Toronto’s lakeshore.  When finally we had a chance to pop down there for a look, it was quite late in the afternoon so we did not hold out much hope of seeing it since other people had been numerous times without success.  Lo and behold, after we circled the main pond on an obscure trail through the woodlot, we came out to a clearing and found the Night Heron perched nonchalantly on a rock. Continue reading “Yellow-Crowned Night Heron At Colonel Samuel Smith Park” »

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Red Foxes In Algonquin Provincial Park

 

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Photo of a Red Fox in Algonquin Provincial Park

Earlier this fall, Bob and I set off for a three-day visit to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario.  We were on a mission to find and photograph a Bull Moose.  Given the time of year, the odds were pretty good that we might come across one.  Instead, we were rewarded with the opportunity to observe and photograph not one, but two, Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes).  I was ecstatic! Continue reading “Red Foxes In Algonquin Provincial Park” »

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A Lance-tipped Darner Dragonfly Along Algonquin Park’s Mizzy Lake Trail

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Photo of a Lance-tipped Darner Dragonfly along the Mizzy Lake Trail

When hiking the Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park, we took a lunch break near the top of the loop a short distance beyond Wolf Howl Pond.  Two small ponds made an inviting place to have our picnic lunch, and there was so much activity around the water that we were fully entertained while we ate.  One Lance-tipped Darner Dragonfly (Aeshna constricta) repeatedly landed on a submerged log directly in front of our picnic spot. Continue reading “A Lance-tipped Darner Dragonfly Along Algonquin Park’s Mizzy Lake Trail” »

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Trumpeter Swans Reunite At Milliken Park In Toronto

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They’re back!  It seems that the pen, H11, and her cygnet were just taking a short vacation away from their home pond.  When Bob and I cycled to Milliken Park, in Toronto,  Friday morning, October 17, the whole family was cruising the pond together. Continue reading “Trumpeter Swans Reunite At Milliken Park In Toronto” »

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