Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sky Watch Over Holland Landing

In a thundering voice from the heavens...showers and lightning rolled in from the west over a farmer's field.

In the foreground, Queen Anne's lace has never been so happy. What a summer it has been for wildflowers! And why not? After all, several days ago the Greater Toronto Area broke it's previous July rainfall record.

To visit other blogs with fabulous sky photos, check out the Sky Watch Friday blog by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great Spangled Fritillary

For the past few sunny days, the echinaceas (particularly the purple coneflowers) in my yard have been butterfly magnets. The butterflies have been flying in looking for yummy nectar and don't appear to be disappointed that the butterfly bushes in my gardens aren't quite in flower yet. Apparently the coneflowers are OK too.
You should have seen the dance this fritillary did when it discovered this particular coneflower. It danced in circles over the cone for at least ten minutes, giving me lots of chances to shoot its colourful wings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blanketflower's Many Faces/ Ruby Tuesday

Blanketflower (Gaillardia)

Although blanketflowers are native to southwestern Canada, they're "aliens" in Ontario. Welcomed aliens, though, at least by me.

It looks like someone scatterd some wildflower seeds along the bank of a country road in front of their home and now the blanketflowers are slowly spreading to nearby banks as well.

Last year blue flax bloomed here too, but it looks like the blanketflower is taking charge here.

To visit more blogs celebrating Ruby Tuesday, click HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monarchs Rule!

If you're looking for Odd Shots, please scroll down to the post below. ;-)

I love it when the Echinaceas (purple coneflowers) start to bloom because that means the monarchs will soon be here. Well, the echinaceas are in bloom and...

I thought I saw one flutter by a couple of days ago, but it was only out of the corner of one eye. But look! The camera fianlly caught one; the monarchs are here...and YOU see one too!

Odd Shots brought to you by the letter...

Believe it or not, this bird can read and is building a nest in the letter B (for bird) in this store sign.
For more Odd Shots, visit Kantney's Kaboodle by clicking HERE.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One is not enough

You've just got to love the enthusiasm of this eager-beaver dog.

At the beginning of "fetch this stick" he jumps in, swims out to the middle of the pond and retrieves one stick. Good boy, Rover! (His name has been changed to protect his innocence because I can't remember it.)

After a few fetches, Rover gets bored...HO-hum... and demands two sticks. He barks one short bark and looks expectantly. So his owner has to throw two sticks across the small pond. Otherwise the dog won't dive in.

THEN, Rover gets bored AGAIN and wants three sticks. Yep, actually waits till three sticks are tossed out across the water. Sometimes the owner throws two and pretends to throw the third. BUT Rover can count and waits for the third splash.

Here you can see three sticks in Rover's mouth. ;-) Good fetch, boy!

For more Camera Critters, please click HERE.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

Red-spotted Purple

A couple of days ago, another Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) refused to cooperate with me and my camera. Too shy, I think. I chased it around a hydrangea bush trying to get a good shot. Ha! The butterfly outsmarted me...and I was disappointed.

But NOT for long! On my regular afternoon walk a couple of days later -- I really needed to ge out of the office, LOL -- I happened upon a much more easy-going Red-spotted Purple, too excited about the nectar in some local soapwort to worry about the crazy lady with the camera.
And this one even dared to turn its back on me and open up a little to let me take a photo. I've seen photos in which this side of the wings looks purple and iridescent. This one looks flat brown. Could it be that this butterfly has fought one battle too many, evidenced by its torn wing?
And here's a third view of this nectar-loving acrobat.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Small Pond on Rainy Day

If you're looking for Sky Watch, please scroll down one post.

The collage above is a collection of photos taken at a friend's tiny pond on a drizzly day. This has been a wet summer here in Ontario and everything is green and lush...especially the weeds. And the mosquitoes are !@#$%^& %^& &*() )(*& Phew! That feels better. ;-)

Starting from the bottom right-hand corner and moving clockwise: reflection on the pond, mushrooms (bet you thought I was gonna tell you what kind, eh? Bwahahaha! Wish I could!), yellow loosestrife, meadowsweet, nightshade, and swamp milkweed.

Thank you, Mary, The Teach, for giving me this award for the answer to the question "How can you tell the good guys from the bad guys?" (Or something like that.)

Truth be told, my answer made it sound way more simple than it actually is. But for me, my points are the first clues that something is amiss. I still -- after all these years -- make mistakes. Don't you hate it when someone you trusted turns out to be a bad guy?

But I'm still honoured that The Teach liked my answer. To visit The Teach, click HERE.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kids in the Garden/ Favourite Things

One of my favourite "things" is to see children happy in the garden.

It looked like it was going to rain any minute but these outdoorsy kids were apparently unconcerned. This was their hour to play in the dirt with trowels, plant a few annuals, sprinkle the soil using watering cans and enjoy the fresh air. And YAY! The gardens looked better once the kids were finished! And although the skies threatened, it didn't rain till the next day - Wednesday.

To see more blogs participating in Favourite Things, visit Blue by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shiny Green Bee

Cutting off spent blossoms in my garden, I noticed this pretty green bee having a wonderful frolic in the centre of this blossom. Notice how shiny its head and thorax are. Off to get my trusty camera!

Then I had to look her up to find out what kind of bee she/he is. LOL

And this is what I found out: Natives to North America, green metallic bees (Agapostemon splendens) are often seen visiting a wide variety of flowers, including coreopsis like this one. Although they are important pollinators for many plants they aren't domesticated.

Hmmm. Perhaps they remain wild because they're solitary bees that live in vertcal nests they burrow into sandy or clayey soil -- not in transpotable nests. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Public School, Ontario-style

If you're looking for Ruby Tuesday, please scroll down. ;-)

Public schools don't tend to be as grand in southern or central Ontario as those built in The Teach's stomping ground. In fact this is a permanent outbuilding temporary building similar to those on the former playgrounds grounds of many of the public schools in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Toronto and all the towns in the GTA are growing much faster than the towns can afford to build new schools.

But I have to give somebody (teachers as well as kids) at this Uxbridge school a LOT of credit for designing and painting a fabulous mural on one end of this otherwise blank wall. Hmmmm. I wonder if the artists' grandchildren will come back to visit this mural, maybe even attend classes in this very same "temporary" building. Such nostalgia!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Somewhere in EG/ Ruby Tuesday

Yep, this is really somewhere in EG. I'm not sure that it's still used though. ;-)

To visit more bloggers celebrating Ruby Tuesday, click HERE.

Meadowhawk at the Pond

Tons of white-faced meadowhawk dragonflies live on the tiny island in a friend's small pond. They appear to spend quite a bt of their time catching and eating mosquitoes, which I think this one is poised to catch here in this photo.

Also on the island, moving clockwise from the dragonfly: a feather caught in a small bush, joe-pye-weed still in bud, plantain, cattails, and goat'sbeard seedhead.

Through Supermarket Window/Odd Shots

On the outside looking in

To join in the fun or to see what other bloggers have posted, please go to Katney's Kaboodle by clicking HERE.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chippy/ Camera Critters

We have several chipmunks living in burrows around the yard and, yes, in my gardens. This one likes to walk the wall in front of our house. I feed him a few sunflower seeds every day, so I knew he'd appear eventually as I weeded the garden. Since I neglected to leave him any seeds this time, he stayed only long enough time for me to snap his picture. As you can see, he knew I was there and wasn't taking any chances. My husband says if I continue to leave him a few seeds every day he'll stick around longer. ;-)

To see more Camera Critters, click HERE.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Red-spotted Admiral Butterfly

Another butterfly photo! I can't help it, they keep flitting into my life begging me to take their pictures. Yes, really. Well, OK. I am stretching the truth a bit. ;-) But they do keep crossing my path.

The red-spotted admiral above is a close relative of the white admiral I posted a few days ago. In fact they sometimes cross breed making identification difficult. But this is a classic red-spotted admiral, and it's absolutely crazy about milkweed. It poked its proboscis into many blossoms for the sweet nectar and paid me NO attention. Ha! Like I was invisible or something.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wee Clown

Last week on Saturday morning, this tiny tot was out for a walk with her mommy and little baby brother or sister. I just had to snap a photo because she reminded me of my older daughter at about that age. She loved to dress up! tee hee (Actually, she still does!)

Isn't it wonderful that little kids don't seem to worry about what other people think about what they wear?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sunset over Potato Field/ Sky Watch

Potatoes are one of East Gwillimbury's major crops, rotated with corn, wheat, soybeans, lettuce, cabbage and others. I originally stopped to take photos of the field (see below) but as the sun set the sky grew very beautiful. ;-)
This was to be the original photo (it wasn't going to be a Sky Watch).

Yes, it's a bit dark but the plants were growing so quickly I was afraid by the next time I drove by the rows would be covered with foliage. We've had a good amount of rain this year and everything is growing quickly and well.
But I had to drive back the next day anyway to get a decent shot of the blossoms. LOL Aren't they lovely? Ha! Would you believe they are from the same plant as the lowly potato?

For more Sky Watch photos be sure to visit

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catching Pollywogs (Tadpoles)

What could be more fun on a warm July day than catching pollywogs (tadpoles or very young frogs) with your bare hands?

Pollywogs/ tadpoles

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Z is for Zephyr

Zephyr: welcome sign, train, century home, church front doors, bales of hay, old barn

Zephyr is a lovely cluster of homes, country store, gas station and church surrounded by farms. Here you can see the highlights some of what the hamlet offers. OK, the train doesn't actually run through the hamlet proper, but it does pass through an area a bit north still considered Zephyr. I wanted to include the train cars because of the zzzs on the side. Surely they are a tribute to Zephyr, right? Or perhaps suggesting Zephyr is a sleepy little ...? (Only kidding, honest I am.)

If you're wondering what the "100 years of Anne " means (above the welcome sign in the collage), Lucy Maude Montgomery -- author of Anne of Green Gables -- once lived in in Uxbridge Township and this year that township is celebrating the famous book's centennial birthday.

To see more blogs celebrating the letter Z, visit Mrs. Nesbitt's Place by clicking HERE

Calico Pennant (dragonfly)/ Ruby Tuesday

ANYthing red? OK, here goes. ;-)

Lately I've been fascinated by pond life and this is one of the critters living close to a nearby pond. It's a male Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa). Sorrry, females do NOT qualify for this post because they're a golden colour. (Besides, I don't have a photo of a female. LOL)

To participate in Ruby Tuesday or to visit other blogs celebrating RED, please visit The Teach HERE.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

This very shy Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was eager to drink milkweed nectar, but not at all interested in posing for a photo. I took one photo, then moved in to try to get the butterfly from the other side and poof! he was gone.

Another elusive butterfly sipped nectar from milkweed growing in the midst of poison ivy. I dared not get too close. LOL

And further down the path by the pond, a third Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flew back and forth over the shoreline. Do you think he'd stop for a photo op? No way!

If you're looking for Odd Shots photo, please see next post.

Odd Shots/ Popular Pastime

Hanging on power lines over a bridge in East Gwillimbury

For more bloggers posting Odd Shots, please visit Katney's Kaboodle by clicking HERE.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

12-Spotted Skimmer/Camera Critters

The twelve dark-brown spots on this dragonfly made identifying this Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) a snap.

This is a male. Both males and females have dark spots, but the male has white ones too.
I found this male perched on a twig beside a small East Gwillimbury pond. He was protecting his territory, sitting on weed tops and then flying out to challenge any other male who entered his area. Each tries to fly rings around the other. He who succeeds gets to sit on a nearby perch. The other has to move on.

For more Camera Crittrs, visit HERE.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who? ME!

Shy Dogbane Tiger Moth Caterpillar Hiding Behind His Dinner

Walking around a small pond, I discovered this hungry little guy munching on a dogbane leaf. I moved in very close, even tickled him with my camera's lens, but he was NOT moving. Nope. No way! Which was perfect for me because I had tickled him totally by accident. ;-)

True, I know very little about caterpillars but I do know a fair amount about plants so I googled "caterpillar" and "dogbane" and discovered a picture of another Dogbane Tiger Moth Caterpillar.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bread-seed Poppy

I've never planted these annual bread-seed poppies (Papaver somniferum), but every year they "pop" up in my gardens. A former owner of our century-old farmhouse must have planted them...but who knows when?

For a couple of years we didn't even know the poppies were here. They were patiently lying in wait.

Then one spring my husband dug a big circle about a foot deep to construct a brick patio. Well, he abandoned the project for a few days, for whatever reason, allowing some time for weeds to sprout. The seedlings looked like lettuce so we waited to see what would happen next.


And guess what! Poppies are members of the same family as lettuce. But lettuce is nowhere near as pretty.

Friends who encourage me

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.