Sunday, November 24, 2013

Housekeeping Post

After spending all day yesterday cleaning up my basement workshop, I spent a bit of time cleaning up my picture files last night and noticed I have missed a few notable items from this year... so I thought I'd lump them into one cleanup post.

Back in September of last year, I went biking during a Sunday afternoon on the old rail trail, starting from the Jerseyville Road parking lot.  Along the way we just about biked over these two Dekay's Brownsnakes.  They were quite cooperative for photos.  They are quite common in Southern Ontario and prey on food like earthworks, snakes, and other insects. Picking them up is not difficult and they are somewhat passive as snakes go for adventurous kids (or adults) to hand hold.

Dekay's Brownsnake

Dekay's Brownsnake

Dekay's Brownsake

In March of this year, I stole an hour while visiting family and headed to the Beamer Hawkwatch tower, located on the top of the Niagara Escarpment in Grimsby, and joined the knowledgeable raptor counters on the tower for a short time.  The highlight was seeing a new life bird... a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  It was not close, so my record shot, though definitely clearly identifying the bird, is heavily cropped.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

In August of this summer, my family all gathered at my sister's place and camped out together before a day to celebrate my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  While there, my brother and I were able to get some shots of recently moulting or hatching cicadas.  None were actually doing it at the time, but there was one rather fresh cicada and a number of their excoskeletons still hanging on trees.

brother Dan and Cicada.



These insects are part of the audio experience of mid summer for many people... the slowly increasing volume of the buzzing, and then slow peatering out, is a sure sound during a hot summer afternoon.  These creatures feed on the sap of trees and plants, and lay their eggs in groves they cut into tree branch bark.


Cicada with exoskeleton

I bought a tent for eagerly anticipated, future camping outings in the years to come which I pitched on the lawn this fall for a backyard camp-out with the kids.  When I brought some of the blankets back inside a butterfly hitched a ride in with them.  It has an interesting name: Milbert's Tortoiseshell. We had lots of caterpillars on our Pin Cherry this summer, and I didn't pay a lot attention to what kind they were.  I'm now wondering if this beautiful butterfly is the only joy we got out of watching the larvae form munch almost every leaf off of the tree.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly
(note all the hair (not on my arm!) on the wings by the body)

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

When I let it outside, it flew to the chrysanthemum on the porch for a nice contrasting setting for a picture.  Not sure, but I'm guessing with the lateness of the season, that this one didn't end up migrating anywhere, but succumbed to the cooler temperatures.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

That covers off a few missed pictures.  I did realize I missed a few shots from up north at the Lodge - we headed up there for Thanksgiving, but I'll post those separately.

Till next time...
Keep enjoying HIS handiwork!


  1. Brian, awesome post! I've never seen a Dekay's Brownsnake, nor a Milberts Tortoishell! That later butterfly is just not seen south of Rondeau!!! Beautiful photos. -DM

    1. From my reading I think the Denny's is common in some areas and not in others. Didn't realize the butterfly was anything special of a find. :-)


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