Thursday, July 30, 2009

The rain ended at last and we had a warm humid day. The buttonbush kept cool in the pond:

It produces these cool spiky flower-bombs:

Also in the pond was a great blue heron, but I didn't get any good shots:

They're pretty great, all right. What a weird-looking bird.

The meadow-sweet is really taking off these days:

This is red baneberry:

Red baneberry leaves:

At first I assumed these were unripe red baneberries (growing in the same spot), but now I think it's white baneberry, with thicker stems:

(Although I've read that red baneberry can also have white berries. Where's the sense in that?)

This is a ... bird:

Yep, definitely a bird. A juvenile ... bird.

I've posted photos of goldenrod galls before, but look at this poor thing. It's gone condo!

If you're interested in Toronto's fruit trees, sign up for Not Far From the Tree's second Edible Tree Tour. I enjoyed last year's tour of the orchards at Spadina House and other edibles in the Casa Loma area.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I just made an interesting discovery as I was re-reading the blog post about my very first stewardship evening, back in 2006: I saw a snapping turtle that night, June 12 -- the same date I saw one this year. They're consistent!

My Beechwood outing was curtailed this morning by another storm. I don't mind rain, but when that first rumble of thunder sounded, I skedaddled. That's no place to be with lightning around. Before it started I saw a Monarch butterfly with a damaged wing, trying to dry out:

I don't know what it did when the latest downpour started. Maybe just closed its eyes and dreamed about a nice sunny day?

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm posting a ridiculous number of pictures today, so you might want to get yourself a snack or something to drink before you go any further.

The river was surprisingly calm today after a few days of heavy rain. Some of the local residents took the opportunity to get the family out on the water:

There was evidence of high water over the last few days. Here's the view yesterday from the Pottery Road bridge, looking down at the Don River and its waterlogged bank:

More soggy vegetation:

See all the debris caught behind this dead tree? That wasn't there before the heavy rains:

My cup plant runneth over:

I've seen a lot of things along the bike path, but this is a new one:

Someone just left their little pail of yellow plums. Why? Then the rains came and a snail moved in. There's a story here somewhere.

There's no shortage of fruit around here. On the Todmorden property you can find mulberries ...

(Don't eat that one -- it's not ripe yet. Wait until they're deep purple.)

... pears ...

... and a variety of apples:

(Are those crabapples? What are those? They're so big!)

I'm wracking my brain to think of a nursery rhyme or fairy tale about the three little snails who went out on a limb:

Empty nest syndrome:

At Beechwood I declared war on Queen Anne's Lace, and uprooted a good quantity.

The jewel in the crown:

Afterwards I wandered along the bike path and couldn't help noticing how much bugs like the stuff:

(Do those stripes look pink to you?!)

Oh for heaven's sake, you guys, get a room:


There were some of those lovely beetles I saw on the path last week:

Whenever the camera got too close this guy would raise a leg menacingly. Talk to the hand! If I was really pushing my luck he'd raise two legs. Eek, run awayyyy!

Earwig lurking:

Meanwhile, over at the murky pond, there were frogs on lily pads:

Ah, I never get tired of the classics. But wait, what the heck is that?!?

I didn't see it at the time because I was holding my camera blindly out over the pond, trying not to scare the froggy away. Here's a closer look at the thing:

What is that?

Friday, July 24, 2009

After yesterday's healthy rainfall the Don is running fast and muddy:

It was wet going but I was glad I'd slogged over to the pond, because the muskrats were out enjoying a break in the weather:

Prepare to say, "Awww ..."

And again ...


Anonymous moth:

Purple coneflower by the pond:

Now for a few updates: an anonymous commenter has identified that pretty little bright pink flower as a Deptford Pink, and thinks the hummingbird moth is actually a bee fly. (There are just too many nouns in there for my poor head to sort out.) Don Watcher says my busy beetles are Soldier Beetles and the bee-thing is a wasp or a hornet.

Many thanks to all who suggest IDs here. From now on I'm not even going to attempt to identify anything. I'm just going to say, "Look! Pretty!"

Finally, I'd like to welcome my new blog followers. I can't tell who you are because the Blogger widget is broken and isn't showing me my Followers list. (I checked their Help forum and others are having the same problem -- may have to do with IE 8. So annoying.) Whoever you are, thanks for reading!

(Edit: the Followers list is back! Welcome et bienvenue a tous!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We had rain recently so I decided to buckle down and remove some invasive stuff while the soft ground made pulling easier. The tansy flew, the Queen Anne's Lace succumbed, the thistles surrendered ... and then I set a new personal record for ant bites, and I gave up and went home. If one of those little demons crawls into your shirt and panics (or, more likely, goes on a suicide mission to inflict as much damage as possible), you're in for a bad time. Now I'll be trying to ignore the itching for a few days.

A baby snail is a much friendlier creature:

I realized earlier this season that I've seen snails everywhere my whole life and I know very little about them. I turned to Wikipedia, usually a good first step for quick research, and found the snail entry extremely interesting and informative.

The tansy is forming flowerheads now:

These will soon turn into bright yellow buttons, taunting me from every corner of Beechwood:

Taunting me, I tell you!

The cup plants are beginning to provide a more welcome splash of yellow everywhere:

That "cup" feature still works perfectly:

We're expecting a lot more rain over the next few days, so stay tuned for some soggy posts from your watersoaked wetlander.