Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Birding & Botanizing

Fringed Gentian - with Hover Fly pollinator at Ojibway Park 


Not much to report as of late. Probably my best birding high-lite has been a third Scarlet Tanager sighting in my back yard within the span of a week. This one above was seen last Thursday before work.  I did go out to Pelee with my son this last weekend but it wasn't particularly exciting. I did see another Grey Hairstreak though!
3 backyard Scarlet Tanagers - in one week?

I attempted to re-find the Fringed Gentian that I saw last year at this time at Ojibway but ... it wasn't to be found. I remembered that these flowers are bi-annuals - they have a two year life cycle. They aren't perennials! So I walked around the Spring-garden area to find some really nice prairie habitat that I had not discovered before and wow - some amazing plants. Closed Gentian, Fringed Gentian, Nodding Ladies Tresses Orchid, Riddel's Goldenrod, Prairie Rattlesnake Root all well seen. But even beyond the "rarities" --- the Goldenrod and New England Asters create an ocean of colour - Purple - Yellow - White  .... Its just breathtaking! The fall explosion of colour makes the end of summer just a little more bearable to the naturalist!


Bottle Gentian



Nodding Ladies Tresses


Here are two more botany connections to end off this posting:

I was cutting out some weeds from my "garden" which didn't get planted this summer when I came upon this weed/flower. It was so different ---- I couldn't bring myself to chop it out of my garden with my sickle - the flowers were too beautiful --- too mesmerizing! So later I was flipping through the botany field guide that reader Irene gave me to realize --- this plant is called Jimsonweed! I did a google search to learn more and found the following passage from Wikipedia: "All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine, which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects."(Wikipedia)   WHHOOAO... A who says botany is boring?



OK... ONE LAST BOTANY note for this posting!

I had made a collage of summer wildflowers from Ojibway many years ago - in 2010 if you could believe, and I was looking at that collage recently and noticed this yellow - flowered plant. And I thought -- what is this? So Pat's blog last week mentioned seeing a non-flowering plant - Whorled Loosestrife -- and I followed up a google image search just to see what it generally looks like while flowering and sure enough - my mystery plant was finally identified --- if only 6 years after taking the photo!



Good birding and botanizing!
Dwayne

PS: I happened to find this video (just 1.5 mins) with Seth Godin (entrepreneur, author) discussing how great it is to be a blogger. Blogging gets you into a conversation and creates meta-cognitive experiences that boosts learning. Check it out...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September Yard Birding



Just a short posting for tonight. Yesterday (Saturday) it rained for the first half of the day. I wanted to get out and enjoy some nature but it was simply a washout! So I sat on my back porch and just enjoyed a coffee with binoculars in hand. To my amazement, a large redish bird perched in some shrubs in my backyard --- Brown Thrasher! Then, perhaps 20 mins later - Swainson's Thrush! Three warbler species were present - Palm Warbler, Nashville and Tennessee! Song Sparrows were singing - oddly-- then a new yard bird --- a first year Scarlet Tanager! A little later - two Eastern Pewees.  I'm amazed that even on a crappy, rainy day --- that the birding is that good in my back yard.




This morning - similar birds. I had less time to be outside - but another Scarlet Tanager showed up - to my amazement!



This afternoon, I went to Pelee to followup on a recent butterfly posting to the Ontario Butterflies Google Group. One report stated lots of southern butterflies are present around Pelee - including Little Sulfur, Grey Hairstreak, and lots of Fiery Skippers. I only walked west beach to sparrow field - but I did see two Grey Hairstreaks and a single fiery skipper among other more common butterflies. A field near the PPNP Admin building had many more fiery skippers to look at. Some posed nicely on New England Aster.




Good birding, butterfly watching and nature lovin'
Dwayne

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Spotted Wintergreen at Ojibway


Spotted Wintergreen at Ojibway Park (Chimaphila maculata)

A few days ago, I was walking briskly along a path at Ojibway, and this plant caught my eye. I kept walking then perhaps 30 seconds later, I backtracked and went back to find and photograph this plant. For some reason, I wanted to followup on what it was. So later on Flickr, I was looking up Slender bush Clover when I stumbled accross a photo of this plant that I was wanting to identify. Oddly enough, the photographer called this plant "Striped Prince's Pine" - but after doing some research --- it dawned on me that this is a very rare plant rated N1/S1 in Canada and Ontario [link]. More amazingly, I used google to look up this plant at Ojibway Park and realized that it was only discovered at Ojibway during the 2014 Bioblitz! Its so newly discovered that most of the documentation does not even acknowledge it being in Essex County. Its stronghold in the province is in Haldimand Norfolk County near Long Point / St Williams Forest Tract. An amazing, self discovered botanical rarity. I would love to see this plant flowering so next summer, I will try to make an effort to see these guys in flower.

I will end off this posting with images from Ojibway & some backtracking botany...


Late Summer Flowering Plants of Ojibway ~








Backtrack Botany








Heliborine Orchid (Non Native) .  I took this picture at a local ERCA natural area while looking for Purple Twayblade. I didn't know what it was when I saw it but it looked a little different. I slowly figured it out from my recently given field guide (thanks Irene), Flickr, Google Images as well as the excellent botany blogs I read! 

Good Botanizing!
Dwayne

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Snowy Egrets at Big Creek in Amherstburg







I went birding this afternoon at Ojibway Park and met up with Kit. We walked the tallgrass prairie area but other than a brief pocket of warblers it was pretty quiet. I did get really good looks at a Southbound Canada Warbler which was nice. I think it might be my first southbound Canada Warbler at Ojibway. Canada Warblers are my favorite Warbler Species! Common Nighthawks were noted flying overhead at Ojibway.

After our walk, Kit asked if I had seen the Snowy Egrets in Amherstburg. We headed out and sure enough we saw our target birds - two Snowy Egrets! We were hoping to pick out a Little Blue Heron but no, none were seen. Kit mentioned he still hasn't seen a Horned Lark, and along concession 7, just outside of Holiday Beach, I found some in a recently ploughed farmers' field.


Canada Warbler at Ojibway Park


False Smooth Foxglove at Ojibway Park




Good birding!
Dwayne

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