Saturday 30 April 2022

Saturday's Critters

Pond life

These are teeny critters! The pond is coming alive:  I love these little creatures: amphipodAKA: freshwater fairy shrimp.

Mosquito larvae – from my old macro lens days!

Fairy shrimp and mosquito larvae! 

frog pond action from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker

Cinnamon and I were wetland walking on the shoreline, just beyond the trailcamera. I noticed a yellow-bellied bashing away at the tree. (This is the bird that bangs on the satellite tower to call for a mate!)

yellow-bellied sapsucker from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Moving over to the tree, once it had flown, I could see why they call it that! The sap was oozing out of the holes. 

The trailcam tails

Not too far away, the trailcam showed a pregnant doe and her last year's juvenile.

pregnant doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then, there is the porcupine!

porcupine from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The wood ducks walk between the frog pond and the wetland. 

wood ducks from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Here is the turkey in his splendor. I don't know what triggers him to display. He went by another time, the second part of the video, and did not. His colours are amazing. Hormones on legs!

wild turkey from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Thanks to Eileen for hosting Saturday's Critters # 437!

Friday 29 April 2022

Wetland walkies

Well, a new day dawns. Ottawa anticipates this Rolling Thunder rally downtown. It is a rally meant to imitate the annual Washington one. It is stirring people up, and the wackadoodles are coming out of the wood work. They've arrested a couple of people, whose bail conditions forbid them from being in downtown Ottawa from the last time they invaded the downtown core. We shall see what unfolds over the weekend. It is Isabelle's birthday party, and one of the outer ring routes recommended by the instigators runs through Bells Corners. They have designated residential locations to park. 

The exclusion zone is in effect now, with ticketing and towing of parked vehicles beginning this morning. People who work there have to show police why they are there, so says our local CBC radio host. I hope nothing happens this time. Such a waste of gas, noise and air pollution.

Wetland Walkies

Cinnamon and I went walkies around the forest. I find the wetland so beautiful, especially over the seasons. Cinnamon ran down another day, hoping to visit the island. I had to explain that we've lost our ice bridge and it is pretty wet. He reluctantly came along and we followed the shoreline.

This is a view across the middle of the wetland, all the brown is where the green bulrushes come up, and then the forest on the other side. The mosses on the dead trees is so green. 

The mosses thrive in this weather. The greens are heart warming! 

The edge of the wetland gives a good view of the forest beyond. Soon it'll all be grown, and the forest invisible.

Cinnamon had his regular visit to this tree. I'm thinking he thinks he's part doggie, except for when he roars up a tree! 

Cinnamon in the wetland 

Cinnamon in the wetland from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

When we approached the frog pond, there were two pair of mallards on it, as well as 4 - 6 other ducks who flew off in disgust. The trailcam shows a male wood duck as he walks from the wetland (left) to the frog pond. 

wood duck walking from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

This is where the ducks like to be, when they aren't on the frog pond.

I loved the pattern of these roots and mossy branches. 

Back at the house, the Lenten Lily is blooming! I'm sure Anvilcloud could tell me how to get on my belly and snag a better photo, but that isn't going to happen! I do have an archived photo of it from 2017!

I just noticed that the little clump of crocus (above photo, middle right, behind the lily) is down to only one flower. Ah well. I have photos of them from 2018!

The bird bath is leaking. I noticed, when I looked out at the mourning doves. I still have some cement dust and I'll empty it. Repairs will have to wait until this cold spell stops. It's not bad in the day, but overnight we are dipping below zero. Good to have projects.

@Red asked why there aren't any riparian plants around the frog pond. It is a vernal pond, and often dries up in summer. I have left it natural, and this is the way it's been for a kazillion years.

P.S. JB's PSA test was the same as last time. We are good for another 3 months. He'll have his regular cancer treatment (Lupron) next week.

Thursday 28 April 2022

A cold one!

We awoke to a warmer day on Monday. This morning it is -1 C., and there is a skiff of ice on the bird bath. Whoopsie! The little pump is keeping it circulating. So far, so good. It should melt today.

hot day! from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I put the squash/pumpkin/zucchini outside Sunday in the sun, to harden them off, but forgot about them! I realized I'd left them out overnight Monday, but they were fine. It was about 10 C. that night.

Isabelle waited for the bus in the snow yesterday morning! 
I was reminded of Eddie and Eva, the geese, and the story I told about them in Bala, April 4, 2009. We often have snow in April, but it doesn't stick around.

There are mallards on the pond, as well as the wood ducks.

mallard from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

These are the last moments for birds feeders. I captured the cowbird. We'll see if she lays an egg in the phoebe nest this year. That's what they do!

cowbird from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The mourning doves like the flat tray feeder. I've just a bit of seed left, and then the feeders go away for the season.

I'm having varied progress on the pond with trailcams. I did get the deer!


deer pond from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Then, there was the robin. They land and poop on the trailcam. I laughed. There are a pair around the pond, and I see them everyday.

robin from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

@Linda in Kansas suggested the potential arbour won't keep the deer out. This is true, but what I wanted it for was to anchor the chicken wire to it, to provide an additional support, as I did last year. 

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Nesting, songs, and spring critters

 This is a sure sign of spring. TWO nests: 1) The robin is out at the front. On the beam. 2) The phoebe is refurbishing the old nest from last year. It is located on the shelf I repurposed for them.

Outdoor decor

I was thinking of getting an arbour. There are two places for it. 

The purpose is to have something to dissuade the deer from eating my asiatic lilies. It worked well having a fence last year, but it sure wasn't sturdy. They just ambled right up the sidewalk.  
Any thoughts, creative gardeners?

The flicker is busy finding bugs. I'm not sure where they are nesting, maybe in the old, dead elm tree. This photo I took with the zoom lens on, through the window. It's trickier than it looks! I liked the look on her face! We've a kestrel nesting not far away, and they have to be vigilant.

The daffodils are just beginning to bloom.

The periwinkle is in bloom. 

The birdbath and goldfish pond are ready for summer. It's too cold for fishies, but it will warm up soon!

I used BIRDnet to figure out what was singing around the frog pond. 

I think this is a photo of a house finch, but you get the idea, and can hear his song. 

Our COVID cases have not disappeared. We have to be careful. Many are still masking here.

Reader question

Barbara had a good question. "How do you count the frogs?" There are strict protocols, as it is a scientific study. We have training modules. The strategy is to listen to the frogs, and determine the calling level. There is a section of the form where you give a number for call codes.

Call Codes: 0 - No frogs heard; 1- Calls not overlapping and # of calling frogs can be accurately counted; 2- Some calls overlapping but the number of calling frogs can be reliably counted; 3 - Full chorus with continuous overlapping calls indistinguishable from one another.

There are more pieces of information and codes for various data. We use the Beaufort Wind Scale (0 - 4). This is a screen capture of part of the survey sheet.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Chorus Frog Surveys #2 & #3

Our frogs continue to sing. Our wetland's wood frogs are done. The spring peepers were singing last night, even during a storm. We had about 20 mm rain last night. It was quite the rain storm.

We were back to our frog survey, hunting for western chorus frogs. It's such a short window of time, just a few weeks, when they sing and can be identified from their songs. 

April 18th was a good frogging day. I love the two ponds near location #2. 

It's a lovely busy community for location #1.
This wetland was full!

The homes are quite interesting.

At one spot, a chipmunk was watching me! Can you see it? Just atop the rock. JB was in the car waiting patiently for me.

April 24th – there were two rib skeletons in the ditch. Gnawed clean.

This was a great spot for western chorus frogs.

Western chorus frogs from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

There were wood frogs, as well.


wood frogs from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

The flowers are beginning to blooms!