August 22, 2014



Interesting, colourful and practical, what more could you ask for?
We saw this agriculture implement while at Amherst Island looking for rare bird.

This is a hayrake which is an agricultural rake used to collect cut hay or straw into windrows for later collection (e.g. by a baler or a loader wagon). It is also designed to fluff up the hay and turn it over so that it may dry.

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August 20, 2014


Crash Landing

August is a good time to see the cicada killer wasp.

There were a number of the wasps flying around a sandy soil field with short grass here at Rondeau

One dropped her cicada, either missing the burrow or because it was tired from fighting a strong head wind.

She stung the cicada again to make sure it wasn't going anywhere while she tried for lift off.

It had great difficulty getting airborne again and crashed head first with her heavy load several times.

Eventually it climbed the leg of a picnic table to get some height. It worked after three tries but it flew off in the direction it had come from.

Sphecius speciosus

Females dig nest burrows in well-drained soil, often forming large nesting aggregations, and provision nest cells with cicadas they capture and paralyze in nearby trees.

When the males appear in mid or late June, they usually display very aggressive behaviour that strikes fear into people‚Äôs hearts. However, as in other stinging wasps, males of the cicada killer do not have a stinger, and hence they are harmful. 

source - various

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August 19, 2014


I am not a snake!

Take a closer look. I have legs.

I am a five lined skink, and I am Ontario's only lizard.

Plestiodon fasciatus

The five-lined skink is a smooth, slender lizard that can grow to 21 centimetres in length, but most individuals are much smaller.
If a predator catches a skink by the tail, it will break off and begin to thrash about. The moving tail distracts the predator while the lizard escapes.

source - Ontario Nature.

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August 18, 2014


Edward Scissorhands brother.

Amazing claws on this map turtle we found today.
Evidently they are used in the mating process to stimulate the female.

Graptemys geographica

The female Northern Map Turtle has powerful jaws for crushing the shells of molluscs, its primary food source.

The Northern Map Turtle is extremely wary and will dive into the water at the slightest provocation.

Northern Map Turtles are known for their communal basking, and may be found piled up together in several layers of up to 30 turtles.
Map turtles will often bask at the surface of the water under floating vegetation mats with nothing but their head or nose visible from the surface. This behaviour puts map turtles at significant risk of mortality from motorboats.

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August 17, 2014


The leaf hopper and the pollinator.

I didn't notice the little leaf hopper in the upper left until I saw the photo on the computer.

I have no idea which leaf hopper species it is nor do I know the species of bee.
Lots of pollinators, bees, wasps and butterflies in the yard right now.

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August 14, 2014


Face off

I don't know the species of spider but they were face to face and neither was backing down.
I don't know if it was territorial or possibly a mating ritual but it was an odd sight.

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August 13, 2014


Eating wild carrot.

This chipping sparrow is eating the seed head of Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot.
A common bird and a common plant.

Spizella passerina

A crisp, pretty sparrow whose bright rufous cap both provides a splash of color and makes adults fairly easy to identify.

The nest of the Chipping Sparrow is of such flimsy construction that light can be seen through it. It probably provides little insulation for the eggs and young.

The oldest known Chipping Sparrow was 11 years, 10 months old.

source - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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