Dec 162016
 

Despite the drought of 2016, the apple crop sure seemed to be bumper. Everyone I know who has them growing in their yards seems to  agree. I wouldn’t know, but perhaps apple trees like a good dry spell every now and then. There are a dozen apple trees in the yard of my friend, Angela, near Warsaw. Her trees, too, were full of apples this year, like never before. In addition to attracting many insects as the fallen apples began to rot on the ground, and then deer mice and flying squirrels at night who were dining heavily on various moths and other insects – not to mention the frequent visits paid by deer in the low-light hours later in the season – two other animals appeared and feasted upon the fallen apples, too.

At night, a Porcupine (and sometimes two) have munched on the ground in spots where the heaviest fall of apples has covered the ground near a split-rail cedar fence.  The visits by this creature where usually taking place in August, September, and October. Well then in daylight, starting in November, a Beaver (who had recently moved into my friend’s pond), has been coming up into the yard, and very near where his prickly friend had come at night. This creature has been enjoying the bounty of apples that had hung on to the branches until they fell much later in the season, after heavier frosts.

I suppose if you are an animal that typically eats very bitter things like the poplar twigs that Beavers seem to like, and the bark of conifers enjoyed by Porcupines, then every now and then these animals must satisfy a sweet-tooth craving with things like apples. Biologically speaking, it is likely quite a common occurrence and of a nutritional benefit, these two animals dining on fruit this much. And, as I understand, they had become quite addicted to the apples at my friend’s little orchard, as visits were very frequent while the apple supply lasted. In fact, they were so involved with their fruit fancy, that they both allowed me a close approach on a couple of occasions.

At about noon on December 8th, there was a Hermit Thrush in a cottage yard on South Bay of Stoney Lake. It seemed to be sticking to areas of fallen leaves that were not yet covered in snow, like underneath the edges of a large deck, and among the dead leaves gathered by wind just off the basement walk-out patio around the other side of the cottage. I had never seen one in December before. I hope it finds what it needs to manage this first snow storm of the winter. It would appear that I can leave the gardens be for now, until 2017! You think?  Time for a different shovel, I suppose.

Tim Dyson, Stoney Lake

Porcupine at night with apple - Tim Dyson

Porcupine at night with apple – Tim Dyson

Beaver by day with apple - Tim Dyson

Beaver by day with apple – Tim Dyson

Hermit Thrush - Wikimedia

Hermit Thrush – Wikimedia

Dec 022016
 

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) (1)
– Reported Nov 30, 2016 13:00 by Bruce Kidd
– Peterborough–Little Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “between cemetery and Beavermead Beach”

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) (1)
– Reported Dec 01, 2016 14:12 by Dan Chronowic
– Peterborough – Little Lake – Edgewater Rd., Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Brown thrush, rufous tail. 10m South of the railway tracks. Flew from the bramble on shore to the first yard off the path.”

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) (1)
– Reported Nov 30, 2016 13:35 by Brian Wales
– Peterborough–Little Lake, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “in grapevines”

Red-throated Loon in basic plumage - Nov. 29, 2016 - Chris Risley

Red-throated Loon in basic plumage – Nov. 29, 2016 – Chris Risley

Hermit Thrush (Wikimedia)

Hermit Thrush (Wikimedia)

Gray Catbird - Wikimedia

Gray Catbird – Wikimedia

Jul 292016
 
Cardinal Flower - August 3, 2016 - Big Gull Lake - Elaine Monkman

Cardinal Flower – August 3, 2016 – Big Gull Lake – Elaine Monkman

Here are some sightings of interest from this past week (July 25 – 31, 2016)) at my brother’s cottage on Big Gull Lake, south of Bon Echo Provincial Park.

  1. Family group of Cooper’s Hawks. Two or three very vocal juveniles, “whistling” loudly. As big as adults.
  2. A covey of 8 Ruffed Grouse, almost adult size.
  3. A Hummingbird Clearwing Moth on the petunias at the dock.
  4. A “convocation” of five, non-breeding Common Loons on the lake.
  5. A larval Blue-spotted Salamander, which was still showing gills behind the head. Was in a backwater section of shoreline, protected from waves by a large fallen log.
  6. Several Dragonhunter dragonflies.
  7. Numerous Red-eyed Vireos (probably young ones) on cottage property.
  8. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at nectar feeder.
  9. Cardinal flowers in bloom along shoreline.
  10. Bird song: Hermit Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Pine Warbler

Drew Monkman

juvenile Cooper's Hawk - Linda Easton

juvenile Cooper’s Hawk – Linda Easton