Please click on any image to enlarge

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Insect Habitat

These photos were taken on Thursday morning, after a heavy rainfall the night before. It has been a wet and cool month for us, with some "below average" temperatures.

On this particular bright sunny morning, I was digging over the compost when I spotted a butterfly fluttering nearby. I had seen it a couple of times before, and once in my garden. I guess it was my lucky day as the butterfly was still in the same area when I came back with my camera.

After I found out its name, I thought, "How appropriate." It really does have a commanding presence.

I've only seen one of the Admiral butterflies in the yard so far, but that may be because the males are very territorial. From my bug book, Garden Bugs of British Columbia, Elmhirst, Fry, Macaulay: "Each one surveys his territory from his high perch and will swoop down to fight and drive off any other male who wanders in."

It first landed here
White Admiral (L. arthemis)

and then moved to this sunlit spot.
White Admiral on Oregon Grape

A little later, while walking around, I saw the Damselfly.

Bluet Damselfly

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sky Watch

An Osprey's lofty nest.

(please click on photo for better viewing)
Full view with nest at the far end.
This structure was meant to be a hay barn
but was never finished. The nest has been
in that spot for several years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cotton and Berries

Cottonwood Tree
The fruits have split to release the seeds into the air.
There is "cotton" floating everywhere lately.
I found this rather large airy bundle
not too far from the parent tree.
Soon, it too will be loosened and scattered
by nature's helper, the wind.
Closer view of the silky tufts attached to the seeds,
which are easily dispersed by the wind.

This Cedar Waxwing and a couple of friends
were investigating the Serviceberry shrubs the other day.
It's a little early, but perhaps they're staking a claim.
Ready to pick July/August.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Around Home

The rain woke me
as it pelted down
onto the metal roof.
I wondered at the noise
for a brief, dazed moment
before drifting back to sleep.
Now, in the brightness
of the morning sun,
the previous night's downpour
seems more like a dream.

After the rain
Sunny Columbine flower
My shadow
Chasing butterflies
I'm going for a walk, thank you ma'am
One of the small Blue Butterflies

Adult: Wingspan 20-32 mm (3/4-1 1/4 inch)
(still trying to identify which species this is)

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I was at the beach a couple of weeks ago
and watched this gull taking sips from the lake.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sky Watch

I had woken up too early and then couldn't get back to sleep. It usually helps if I read a little, but when I passed by the window on my way downstairs and looked out, I saw splashed across the eastern sky the most marvelous colours, and I wanted badly to take a few pictures.

There were too many trees where I was, and it meant I would have to go down the road apiece if I wanted a clearer view. I felt a bit apprehensive. I don't normally go for a walk at five in the morning, and I was hoping that I wouldn't meet any four-legged beasts with big teeth. I wasn't really worried about anything else.

My dog was willing, and off we went.

(for better viewing, please click on picture)
This is one of the pictures I took
on Wednesday morning.
Sunrise: 4:43 a.m.
Photo taken: 4:57 a.m

North, East, South, West

It's surprising how many country roads there are in the Nechako Valley. Exploring them is something that gives me enormous pleasure, and it's one of my little pastimes from spring to fall.

Although this road already has a nice name, I would like to call it Lupine Road because of all the wild lupines growing here. They are the first lupines I've seen this year, and they are the most prominent flower, appearing at various stages of bloom everywhere along this road.

I thought this might make a good Sky Watch photo,
but it really belongs here with the other pictures.
Wild Lupine and Paintbrush
"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
~Claude Monet
This scene caught my eye because of that island
of trees in the freshly tilled field.
Northern Flicker, female, seen flying back and forth
gathering food to feed her family.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"Be like the flower, turn your faces to the sun."
~ Kahlil Gibran



Monday, June 16, 2008

Insects and Sunshine

When the rain stops and the skies clear, the insects come out to "play"! If we go outdoors in the very moment the blazing sun begins heating the earth again, we will step into a magical world.

Where were all the wonderful pollinators five minutes ago when the rain poured from the heavens? Were they taking shelter under a leaf or a blade of grass?

"POOF", as if by magic, they reappear buzzing and flying from plant to plant making us believe that nothing at all had occurred to interrupt them in the first place.

Bee Mimic Flower Fly (Hover Fly)
Helophilus fasciatus (Syrphidae)

"Me and my shadow"

A different kind of Fly
on Wild Strawberry flower

Another Fly

Swallowtail Butterfly on Lilac blossom

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Windy Day

It doesn't feel at all like June weather. Yesterday was cool and very blustery and the day before cool and rainy. There is one fabulous benefit to the windy conditions though. I can go for a walk in the forest and take pictures without having mosquitoes land on my hands and face. The wind keeps them nicely away.

I'd been avoiding the trail as much as possible lately due to the hordes of mosquitoes which are always bad at this time of year. So I had fun playing "catch up" to all the blossoming flowers and other changes in the woods. I took scads of photos - too many for one post.

Paintbrush in bud. I'm beginning to see
the Paintbrush everywhere.

One of our first wild flowers to bloom
in the spring, this Arnica is almost spent.

But there are still some Arnica flowers
that are doing all right.

I think this is Vetch, a relative of the Perennial Pea.

Dwarf Dogwood - I saw many of these
along the edges of the trail.

The Juniper is showing a lot of new growth.

We think a bear had been foraging for ants
at this old bleached stump two years ago.
He destroyed part of it, and afterwards
my husband placed a separated piece
across as a marker in case the bear
came back. Every time we walk through
on the trail and come to the end here
we check to see if it's still in the same spot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sky Watch

(please click on picture to enlarge)The sky over Stuart Lake,
Fort St. James, British Columbia
160 km (99 miles) northwest
of Prince George

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Out in Nature

A picnic lunch, a mountain view, a sun dappled river or lake, and a bit of greenery = contentment

On the way, a mountain view greets us

The current runs swift in this spring river

Green all around and on those amazing rocks

The water sparkles in the warm morning sun

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

By the Lake

On a recent visit to one of my favourite places in this region of British Columbia I came across several interesting plants that were growing along the lake shore. The first one was the Cottonwood tree with all the lovely fruits hanging from it. It looked tropical, growing as it did, all but in the water. The next one was the Artemisia or Wormwood, common to this particular area. I have seen this plant before at the historic site here and wondered then if Europeans had brought it over and planted it in their gardens. I almost walked by the third plant barely glancing at it because of its similarity to the dandelion. But there was something different about it that caught my inexpert eye, and I came back to have a closer look.

Stuart Lake, Fort St. James
Green Grapes?
No, it's the fruit
of the Cottonwood tree.

Stuart Lake, Fort St. James
Wormwood, a non-native species
It has a camphor-like scent and has been used
to repel fleas and moths.

Stuart Lake, Fort St. James
Western Salsify
Tragopogon dubius
Aster Family

Other common names are
Western Goat's Beard and Wild Oysterplant.
It was introduced from Europe.

This roadside plant with its distinctive flower
(notice the bracts which are a feature of all Salsify species)
is found in every Canadian province
except Newfoundland and the territories.
Considered an invasive plant in some areas.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Baby Crows

Our little dog, Bonny, never passes up a chance to go for a walk on the trail with me, and that's what we headed out to do yesterday afternoon after my husband and I had returned home. We hadn't gone far when two crows began cawing and cawing. Both were perched in opposite trees near the path where we walked. I didn't see them, but I assumed their babies must be somewhere close by. (You might remember last Friday's post when there was such a commotion going on outside in the early morning hours, and I thought, at that time, that the babies had fledged.) I quickly took some pictures of the adult crows and was about to continue on my way when I stopped to see what Bonny was looking at down the hill. She didn't bark, and I wondered if she had seen a deer or a squirrel. What she was watching though were two baby crows sitting on a log. They didn't make a peep, but sat very quietly while the adults caused a distraction. In two minutes tops I had my pictures, and we were out of there. I wouldn't have known the baby crows were on the slope unless Bonny had seen them. "Good dog, Bonny." Once we arrived back at the house, she got one of her special treats.

No harm was done to the baby crows. Our dog didn't even get close to them, as they were on the steep hillside, and she doesn't chase wildlife anyway, unless she feels threatened. Bears are not her favourite animals, and she has met two in her lifetime so far (13 years).