Monday 31 May 2021

Ducks, Butch, mystery bird

 Everytime I go down to the forest, I'm preparing by wearing long sleeves, taking my videocamera, camera, SD cards to exchange. It's been cold, so I go in the early morning, hoping the bugs are a bit slower! What I keep forgetting is my smart phone with the bird ID app. BirdNET is pretty good, as it knows which birds are in my area (see screenshot, left).

I decided to tape the bird song and see if it worked with the app. It does! I played it on my laptop, and the app read it.

You can tell I couldn't see it at all! Here is the song...  Bird 

Do you know what it is?! (answer is below!)

Yam asked if I use lotion on my bug bites. I do. AfterBite. When I remember. Blackfly bites aren't itchy for awhile on me, and I forget to use it. Then, in the night, they ooze, scab, and are itchy. It's too late by then. 

Cinnamon came for walkies.
My barrel is doing well!

I accidentally set the camera on B & W. The phoebes (and cowbird) are doing well. The parents were off sourcing food.

I've been sanding the frame around the garage door. It needs painting. Since my cataract surgery, my eyes are really sensitive. We looked upstairs and down for the goggles, couldn't find them anywhere! (Don't tell the kids!)

I transplanted this bush (Aug., 2019; sputniks and gardening), it is showing signs of recovery! The 2nd photo is what they are supposed to look like... Caitlin's is doing well! Mine was in the wrong location.

I put out the last of the cracked corn. There were visitors! The wood ducks complained about the crow. Such a peculiar, non quacking sound. Crow & ducks  


I think they heard me coming! Wood ducks complaining about Butch .


The noises are the wood ducks, sneaking around the raccoon. ducks & butch  


ANSWER: The bird was identified as a scarlet tanager! 

Sunday 30 May 2021

Blackflies, fallen tree, LDD

The blackflies and mosquitoes continue... my arms are a mess. You'll read why. I have blistery boils on both my arms. 

I happened to have taken a photo of this tree in March, down in the wetland. It was quite holey!

Lo, and behold, it finally fell over. I fought the bugs, and hauled it out of the way. We've blackflies, as well as mosquitoes. They are wicked biters. I should have gone back to the house for long sleeves. You don't notice them landing, unlike mosquitoes.

Happily, it did not take out the two lady slippers that are in bloom just beyond (in the sunny spot on the left, below).

Have you ever frozen a milk bag? We had extra milk last time when the girls were here. We put it in the milk container and I noticed it was leaking Thursday. Plan B: the blender. Thing was I had to put it out overnight, as it didn't fit into our fridge. It was still there in the morning. This is the morning. We had frost overnight.

Yes, FROST. I thought to bring the cherry tomatoes, but didn't think to cover the squash. They are a wilted mess.

The goldfish are good. They've been joined by two leopard frogs, who seem fine in the sun.

The monarchs have arrived! I saw my first on Saturday. I was examining this milkweed plant. I'm wondering if I should just remove this plant, as it is right on the sidewalk, and will get smucked eventually!

I looked at said milkweed, and realized there was a Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD) moth caterpillars, otherwise known as European gypsy moth caterpillars, on it. ("Gypsy" is politically incorrect, as it is considered a pejorative term. Gypsies, known as Romani or Roma, were called such, as Europeans thought they came from Egypt.)

Some of them have made it to 15 mm, and a couple more intars to go until they reach 38 – 50 mm. They have reached the stage where they have the red dots, and are clearly identified as LDD. (Not that I had any doubt! They are 'flying' all around and under the trees on their gossamer thread. 

They are on the elm trees in the meadow, we'll see how that goes.

Saturday 29 May 2021

Where did May go?

The rain we'd hoped for passed us by. It was so disappointing. Overnight temperatures are so low, it was only 2 C. when I first got up. Southwestern Ontario had snow, which would have been fine, as it melted for most. We've got to have some rain for crops. So many veggies are in the ground. We've had local asparagus, and the strawberries are well on their way.

In a normal year, it'd be nice to see the tulips at Dow's lake. This was 2003!

The critters are still doing critter things. I know the geese have hatched, as well as the ducklings. None here, but lots from Bala photos. This one is my favourite! My SIL recovered thousands of my old photos for me. These are the geese who used to visit us on Long Lake, on the Whale's Back rock. 

The bees are busy.

The meadow trailcam showed my the coyote, bat, and Butch. in the meadow  


The crows are still in their tree nest. I frequently see them in the meadows📹, looking for grub. I love their little waddle, as they amble through the grass. You can see the difference between the two trailcams. The quality is obvious, between the two camera, a difference in cost of about $100. Crow May 26 & 27 


We had a crow in my schoolyard, back in the 60s, Cottingham Public School in Toronto. It only had one foot. It was quite friendly with all of us kids.

Butch was in the backyard yesterday. 

 There was a Doe on the far trailcam, with something wrong with her skin. We'll have to watch for her. I saw a fawn last week. They haven't been around, since the bugs are so bad. I don't think I've seen one in the yard for weeks.


For more critters:  Saturday's Critters # 389

Friday 28 May 2021

Gramma Camp – Week 30

That was a night, Wednesday. The TV refused to work. Long story short, the basement TV worked. Jos brought the basement TV upstairs, we tried it, and the old satellite box. Nope. We tried the basement box and it worked. Then I tried contacting Shaw. She insisted that we reattach the old box, and try again. SIGH. Jos unhooked and rehooked it all up. It worked. Go figure...

The day dawned, Thursday. Phoebe continues to look after its nest. 

Phoebes and the cowbird hatched Monday, May 24th. I took a peak Thursday, they would be 4 days old. They fledge in a couple of weeks. phoebe nest  

The crows are still feeding in the nest. We had a big wind yesterday, clouds, but little rain. (We could use some!) I still could not spot the crow's nest. It's been too cold to sit out, but their behaviour is interesting. One sits in the tree and looks for predators. Crows 🐦

I mentioned forgetting to get a tall plant for the blue planter. Caitlin gifted me a spike for my flower pot. She was shopping for herself, and she thought of me! She is a peach. I love her so much! The water fountain is pretty busy these days. busy birdbath 

Phlox is in bloom, as well as the rhododendron! 

The 11:00 a.m. 'nutrition break' came. I could hear one girl preparing her lunch soup. Ducking out to the kitchen, I looked and just one girl. "That's not like Izzy to miss a meal!" Bless her heart, she was working on school work and lost track of time. Jos ate her hot soup outside. Isabelle had leftover tourtière, I told her to nuke it for a minute. That was too long, so she took it outdoors to cool. The roasted carrots disappeared at dinner.

During the afternoon session, I caulked around the window where the ants were coming in. There was a significant gap. Our avocados aren't growing yet. Jos and I planted those. 

I asked Isabelle if she'd ever used a sander. She has not. Jos was still working, but she has, Izzy assured. Turns out, we needed more sandpaper for the sander. I ordered it. In the meantime, Isabelle collected grass seed from the lawn. She made a pile of them. I love seeing her outside playing the way she used to as a wee one.

Hopeful of a volunteer, I grabbed the clippers to do the overgrown grass. (JB's arm isn't well enough to do this.) Isabelle asked if she could help. Of course! 

The jack-in-the-pulpit is growing, and much taller than last year. 

The vine is growing nicely! The day before I poked it up to the deck, and Josephine pulled it up to the railing.

I decided to work on the 6th fairy light that doesn't light up. Isabelle offered help, again. She took it all apart for me, but we couldn't find an obvious fix.

It's been a busy few days. After dinner, Grampa Joe  put on a Dr. What show. Puns and jokes galore! It was much longer, but this is the gist.

Friday, it's a cold one. I brought in my cherry tomato planter overnight. The temperature is 3 C. and we could have some snow, if you look closely. This is unusual in May. 

Both girls discussed their schoolwork. They have a couple of things due today, and then, a weekend. They had a pretty good week, despite the bugs. I went down to the trailcams alone. My arms are covered in blackfly bites, they are bad down in the forest. There was an issue with a tree, to be disclosed later! 

Josephine is working on groundwater, en français.