I took a photo of this spider tonight, June 27, before bed. It’s bigger than a toonie for sure and the biggest spider since my cottage days and dock spiders. Any thoughts? Wayne Stovell, Cavan 

Note: I believe it’s a species of fishing spider (Dolomedes). D.M.

Fishing spider (Dolomedes) Photo by Wayne Stovell

My neighbour who lives right in the bush on Cavan Creek found this chick Ruffed Grouse. She found it in her garden calling for its mom. It eventually disappeared so hopefully Mom came and got it. Scott Sargent 

Ruffed Grouse chick near Cavan Creek (via Scott Sargent)

Our snapping turtle has laid her eggs!  On June 19,  I woke up about 6:30 am and looked out the bedroom window and there she was, walking slowly up to the turning circle.  I stayed up to record the event.  She left three hours later, about 9:30, moving very slowly, no doubt exhausted.  The nest is again heavily covered by chicken wire and loads of rocks.  The eggs are safe.  I did see her reemerge from the creek into our bay but she easily sensed me and within a cloud of sandy loam she quickly headed down river.  We also have one protected Painted Turtle nest.  An earlier nest had been robbed.

This year we have had two House Wren nests in bird houses that have successfully raised their families, and there are other young families using the bird feeders, including Purple Finches, Hairy Woodpeckers, plus both White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

On June 17 at the Petroglyphs, I had the good fortune to see a Silver-bordered Fritillary which is another new sighting for me. According to my guide, they’re uncommon. Unexpectedly, I also saw what I think is a Large Yellow Lady’s-slipper. Susan Munderich

Silver-bordered Fritillary (Susan Munderich)

On June 16, I saw my first Monarch of the year. It was on the Langs-Hasting Trail near Keene. Michael Gillespie

Monarch nectaring on Obedient Plant (Drew Monkman)

On June 12, I clipped the remaining flowers from the Peony bush near the fence in our yard. There were no ants on the flowers or stems or anywhere on the plant. Ditto for the two Peony plants beside the house. This is extremely worrying. Normally there are a minimum of 6 ants on each flower and this year there were none. The three Peonies were here when we arrived in 1968…they flourish in our garden.  There are a total of at least 50 flowers on the plants and, especially this year, they were abundant. I’m quite concerned. I wonder if anyone else has noticed an abscence of ants on their Peonies? Rod Williamson

On June 10 I took these pictures in Lakefield of what appears to be a day-care excursion of about 50 Canada Goose goslings under the care of two adults.  Guy Hanchet

Note: This phenomenon is known as “brood amalgamation”. You can read about it here: https://tinyurl.com/2enz79wp

Canada Geese goslings (Guy Hanchet)

On June 10, my neighbour Jeff and I watched an Eastern Gartersnake eating an American Toad. Jeff stayed until this impossible mouthful was totally gobbled up. He said that there was barely a bump in the satisfied snake. Years ago on Stony Lake I saw this scenario reversed: a big bullfrog with a struggling snake’s head in its mouth.  Peter Currier, Lake Catchacoma

Eastern Gartersnake eating an American Toad (Peter Currier)

As of June 10, we have a pair or of Purple Finches and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks regularly coming to the feeders so they may be nesting nearby.  We also had a Porcupine amble across the back area on May 8 before climbing up a tall tree near the marsh to munch on the foliage.  Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Porcupine (Peter Armstrong)

I photographed this strangely coloured Mourning Dove on June 7. The rest of the flock were the typical grey shades but this one is very creamy. Unusual? Wendy Fucile, Peterborough

Note: It may be that this individual is leucistic (the partial loss of normal pigmentation). D.M.

Cream-coloured Mourning Dove (Wendy Fucile)

On June 7, I went out for a drive along Best Road and Orange Corners Road and saw a pair of Brown Thrashers gathering caterpillars. I also saw a Red-headed Woodpecker. Carl Welbourn

I live in Marmora and am an amateur photographer and nature lover.  I know of two active Bald Eagle nests this year, one on Hardey Island on the Trent River south of Havelock, the other on an island at Nogies Creek.  Based on you sightings page i recently went to a bald eagle nest you mentioned on the north shore of wolf island provincial park, i waited for about an hour, but no eagles.  Usually the eagles are big by now and are restless and perhaps trying to fly, so I think the nest is abandoned this year, it also looked quite small, maybe about half the size of a regular eagle nest, perhaps it got damaged during the wind storm a year ago. The other nest i visited based on your sightings was on third island on lake katchenwoonooka, but the nest is not there anymore, it seems like it must have been on a tree that is half fallen down, again possibly from the wind storm last year.  I am attaching a photo I took on Vancouver island in 2017. Jim Mallabar

Bald Eagle (Jim Mallabar)

I haven’t checked recently, but there were Common Ravens nesting on a light standard in left field on the lower baseball diamond over here at Riverside Park in Peterborough. I was looking out my window. Suddenly, 5 infuriated birds, then a Raven plunks down on the fence top 6 feet away, looks around, takes off. Talk about an epiphany! A few days earlier, around June 4, my neighbour saw three Bald Eagles cavorting over Engleburn Avenue. It felt like Haida Gwaii – much to the delight of my partner, who is from British Columbia. Sean Kane, Peterborough

Today, June 2, I am celebrating the occupancy of one of my Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes. Finally a pair are about to nest, with the female flying back and forth and the male perched on the top of the box to guard against any interlopers. Thus far , there haven’t been any Tree Swallows in the orchard , but abnormalities continue , such as the Downy woodpecker frequenting the hummingbird feeder. Michael Gillespie, Keene

Update from Michael (June 16): My neighbour and I are noting an alarming trend: the verifiable presence in nesting in boxes by bluebirds and house wrens , only to be deserted by same. Why is this happening ? Neither of my examples have been taken over by other species, but the boxes are no longer visited by their original nest builders.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds at a box on the Carden Alvar, near Kirkfield, Ontario (Drew Monkman)