What Big Smooth Caterpillar Is Rusty Brown With 5 White Eye Spots? Or Green With Small Black Spots Divided With Vertical White Lines?

We’re supposed to be on bird walks at Riverwood but we keep finding interesting huge caterpillars, too!

Welcome Encounters with Warblers and a Giant

In a late August ramble around the Rattray and Jack Darling, I glimpsed a variety of warblers and insects making the most of the summer sun and encountered a Giant.

An American Snout Butterfly Visits the Rattray Marsh in Mississauga

In July (of 2017) I started seeing reports from across southern Ontario of sightings of a butterfly I’d never heard of before called an “American Snout.” Of course, I really, really wanted to be able to casually mention (i.e. brag)aaa

A Morning Ramble Along Crescent Beach Nova Scotia Seeking Shells and Sandpipers

There’s always a hint of mystery to exploring a beach in the early morning.

Trying to Sort Out Some Plain Brown Skipper Butterflies Browsing on the July Bergamot Blossoms at Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga

I thought little brown sparrows were difficult to identify: then I met faded, torn, tiny brown butterflies with a few random cream dashes on their wings. Now the sparrows seem almost simple in comparison (although I still can’t id them either!)

Spring Rambles Bring Butterflies, Flowers and Birds in Abundance

There’s something magical about this time of year when the woods and meadows are blooming and there’s something new, or new for the year, to see everywhere. And knowing that it will continue to get better for weeks and weeksaaa

What Spring Birds Can I See Warbling in the GTA in mid-May?

Even if the flowers aren’t out these birds will provide a splash of spring colour.

Early May Migrants Brighten Up Cold Wet Spring in Southern Ontario

We’ve set some records for rain and possibly for lack of sunshine during the last two weeks of April and first week of May 2017 here in the Greater Toronto Area, GTA, in Ontario. It’s been great for getting meaaa

Subtle Wildflowers Herald Spring in Mississauga and Oakville Ontario

No matter how simple or how unusual all the flowers of spring are welcomed with a smile of recognition or delight.

Spring Butterflies Sip Sap Before the Snow Flies Again in Mississauga

Serendipity is finding Phoebes and Kinglets while seeking a simple spring butterfly.

Seeing a Snowy While Seeking an Audience with a King on the Last Day of Winter

Two unusual birds for the Toronto area brightened up a walk on the last day of winter 2017.

Butterflies and Moths of Mississauga and Oakville Including the Riverwood Conservancy, Rattray Marsh, Lion’s Valley Park and Bronte Creek

If you’ve seen an interesting butterfly in Mississauga or Oakville you may find a photo of a similar one here–but there are still many types I haven’t photographed yet unfortunately. Still, I’d like to try to put together a mini review.

Cooper’s Hawks Raise a Family at the Rattray Marsh in Mississauga

In the summer of 2016, a pair of Cooper’s Hawks successfully fledged several young from a nest in the Rattray Marsh. I had a glimpse into their lives for a few short weeks.

Various Blue Berries Brighten September Walks in Forests in Southern Ontario

I’d better start by stating that I call any small fruit a berry regardless of whether it is actually a drupe, berry, accessory fruit, aggregate fruit, multiple fruit, pome, pepo or hesperidium. If you didn’t know there were that manyaaa

What Birds Can I Easily See in Winter In Mississauga?

Feeding the Chickadees at Riverwood gives the other birds time to put in an appearance before I wander on down the path.

November Butterflies and a Bonus Bird at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto

I wonder if the Cattle Egret was eating any of the November butterflies I was admiring?

A Mid-October Ramble Around the Rattray Marsh

All the small birds were busy hunting insects or berries until this yellow-eyed watcher appeared in their midst.

The Three Chickadees of Banff National Park, Alberta

While staying in Banff in mid-August, I spent two early mornings wandering happily around the Fenlands Trail adjacent to the Banff town site. The trail was busy with parents pushing strollers, quick walkers out for exercise, dog lovers, and touristsaaa

(Nearly) Last Chance to See Summer Birds at the Rattray Marsh

Shorebirds and songbirds made a recent visit to the Rattray more memorable.

Ptarmigan at Peyto Lake…. or Spruce Grouse at Bow Summit and a Walk Through the Wildflowers

Meeting wild “chickens” on the path at Peyto Lake made this cool, cloudy morning perfectly fine for me.

September Arrives With Swirls of Yellow

Yellow is in the lead as the most dominant colour in birds and blooms so far this month.

Horseshoe Canyon in the Alberta Badlands Hosts Mountain Bluebirds and Richardson’s Ground Squirrels

Our welcome to the Alberta Badlands was better than I could have hoped.

Butterflies and Moths Brighten Up a Free Visit to Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Bronte Creek is a great park to visit and a free day makes it even better.

A Mid-Summer Ramble through the Rattray Amidst Monarchs and Swallowtails, Humms and Hawks

The Cow Parsnip, Purple Loosestrife, Blue Vervain, early Goldenrods and Joe Pye Weed are bursting into bloom and are attracting an interesting collection of insects, birds and butterflies to brighten up a summer stroll.

Nearby Butterflies: What’s Flying in the Meadows of Mississauga?

It’s hard to imagine that all, or almost all, of these colourful creatures were here all winter–they were just hidden away waiting for summer.

Relaxing Beside the River on a Humid Hot July Morning

I didn’t have a dock to sit on but I did watch the world go by.

The Colours of Early Summer at 16 Mile Creek in Oakville Ontario

Birds, butterflies, flowers, damselflies, even toads-in-training, is there anything that doesn’t bring a smile in summer?

Butterflies Flock to Sip Sap In Mississauga

I met and learned the name of a new butterfly today that is related to the Commas and Question Mark.

Last Spring Guided Bird Walk at Riverwood Conservancy Ends With a Flourish of Finds

I was fortunate enough to attend the guided bird walk led by Luc Fazio and Dan Salisbury on June 25 at the Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga. These walks are always interesting and those of us who attend really appreciate theaaa

What Southern Ontario Damselfly or Dragonfly Has Black Wings Or Black and Clear Wings and a Green Blue Body?

These Jewelwings have smoky or totally black wings, or clear wings with black tips.

So Many Curious Creatures to See When Exploring the Rattray Marsh at the End of Spring

When people see me walking around the parks with my over-sized camera, I often get asked if I’m looking for birds. Sometimes I say yes, but when I’m more honest I say yes but also flowers and butterflies and frogsaaa

The Joys of Early June: Black Swallowtails, Pink Fleabane, Nesting Fish and Curious Caterpillars

Most Warblers may have winged their way north-ward but there are still hundreds of fascinating colourful creatures to admire in southern Ontario.

A Great Egret Stalks Snacks at the Rattray Marsh

Recently, near the end of May, I had the pleasure of watching a Great Egret stalking through the waters of the Rattray Marsh in Mississauga. I saw it catch three fish and one piece of wood. (It declined to eataaa

A Rainy Day at the Rattray Marsh Brings Out the Birds

A rainy day brings unexpected close-up watching of dabbling ducks and high-stepping herons.

Where To Find Spring Wildflowers West of Toronto at Sixteen Mile Creek In Oakville Ontario

Possibly the best thing about spring Wildflowers is they don’t fly away when I’m trying to take their pictures–although they do sometimes bob and nod in the slightest breeze.

Chickadees Excavating and Woodpeckers Chiseling Nests and Other Sights of Spring at the Rattray Marsh

Eggs abound (or are about to anyway) at the Rattray.

Stalking a Sandhill Crane Amidst the Corn Stalks

What exactly was this Sandhill Crane searching for amongst the corn stalks?

Searching for Spring at Humber Bay Park East in Toronto

While on an April Fool’s errand this year, I had a few extra minutes and decided to take a walk through the park at Humber Bay in Toronto in search of signs of spring. Belted Kingfisher Bolts Past In theaaa

First Signs of Spring at Lasalle Marina Park

Luckily the Skunk I saw had no white stripes.

Red-winged Blackbirds Sing for Spring

Spring is coming early this year after a relatively short and mild welcome winter. And while we could still get zinged with another storm or two, the Red-winged Blackbirds don’t expect any major setbacks. They’re back in force, setting upaaa

Over-Wintering Mississauga Birds Search for Sustenance

Some people lose interest in birds if only the same dozen species are around; Not me. I just keep trying to get glimpses into their complex lives.

A Ramble Around Humber Bay West Park in Toronto Finds Odd Ducks and an Agile Mammal

A new park brings my first photo of a new duck. No, not the Harlequin, although he was there too.

Watching Ducks Braving the Winter Waves at J.C. Saddington Park in Mississauga

I didn’t see any ducks bashed on the rocks but I saw some close calls.

Wishing for Butterflies in Winter

A series of butterfly photos for those of us feeling wistful about June encounters.

A Walk Through the Woods In Search of Rusty Blackbirds and Tufted Titmice

Not only did I find some uncommon birds, I also found an uncommon mammal while rambling through the woods.

A Windy Winter Day in the Woods

Were these critters really worth crying for?

A Ramble at Riverwood Reveals How to Bathe Comfortably In Winter

In which I finally get a good photo of a Junco.

Black Friday Birds

These birds seemed to fit with a Black Friday theme because they all can be aggressive, noisy and pushy to get what they want. Crow at Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia Common Grackle at Mountsberg Conservation Area Rusty Blackbird at Ruthvenaaa

This Black and Orange Butterfly Is Not a Monarch But It Sure Looks Like One at First

Which orange and black butterfly has a black smile drawn on its hindwings?

A Ramble Around the Ruthven Historic Property on a Lovely Late October Afternoon

I keep an eye on notes posted on the Hamilton Bird Study group’s Google group. Often they tip me off to which types of birds have been seen recently during migration or suggest new places to visit and explore. Oneaaa

Nashville Warbler Brightens a Frosty Fall Morning in Mississauga

A flash of brilliant yellow is welcome on a dull taupe and grey morning.

Monarchs Launch Out Over a Calm Lake Ontario on a Bright Last Day of Summer

Near the end of summer, I decided to see what was in the air at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto. The shape of the park includes a handcuff-shaped extrusion into Lake Ontario from which many Monarch butterflies begin theiraaa

As Seen from the Deck (of a Cottage in South-Eastern Ontario That Is)

Is there any way to watch nature that is better than observing great birds and animals while sitting in an Adirondack chair with a glass of something cold and refreshing?

The Best Way (for Me) to See Nature at the Rattray Marsh in Southern Ontario

The Rattray Marsh hosts an amazing variety of plants and creatures but at times it seems like it’s just a high-traffic footpath through a few trees and some bullrushes. It appeared particularly uninspiring the other day when the sounds ofaaa

Damselflies, Kingfishers and Blossoms Enliven An Early Morning Walk Along a Wooded Road in Eastern Ontario

During the third week of July, I took several early morning walks along a private road in the cottage countryside near Sharbot Lake. Each jaunt brought something beautiful to focus on from all the families of flora and fauna. Thisaaa

A Mid-July Ramble Along the Credit River in Southern Ontario

Slowing down when walking beside rushing water can mean finding many unexpected surprises.

What Dark Brown Moth or Butterfly Has a Metallic Electric Blue Body and Orange Head?

Between the birds, butterflies, moths, damsels and dragons there is always something colourful with wings flitting around and through the forest.

The Butterflies of June Along the Credit River Valley in Southern Ontario

As the spring warblers move north to nest, the local butterflies take over adding splashes of colour to the spring woodlands and meadows.

This Past Week’s Warblers

What an amazing week for warblers! Some warm sunny southern winds followed by a sudden plunge in temperature and some overnight rains brought a big variety of warblers in to Ontario and then kept them close for a few days.

Tree Swallows, Painted Turtles, Wood Frogs and Commas Welcome Spring at Mountsberg Conservation Area

I met creatures from every major group on a ramble around Mountsberg, although I didn’t get any images worth sharing of the fish or mammals. I hope these photos bring back your own memories of spring walks.

Spring Sightings

The sight of someone new zipping through the twigs and tulgy brightened today’s overcast gloom.

The Usual Suspects: Winter Birds to Brighten the Snowy Days

Ok, these aren’t all birds but they do all visit feeders and fields to enliven a winter landscape.

A Mink Meets Mute Swans on an October Afternoon

My view of a close encounter.

Recently at Riverwood: An Early November Ramble

Besides the dozens of squirrels, what’s visiting the feeders at Riverside?

An Early October Ramble Through the Rattray

If you can cope with the steady stream of interruptions, there are warblers, wrens and other autumnal beauties waiting to be admired at the Rattray.

What Three Furry Brown Heads Might Swim By You in Southern Ontario?

A Mink and a Beaver decided to pose for comparison with a Muskrat.

What Thumbnail-Sized Blue Butterfly Is Perched on This Goldenrod Blossom?

Brilliant blue on gold–a perfect colour combination mirroring the unveiled sun in the azure sky.
And Happy Birthday to a very Special Someone!

Luna: A Pale Green Moth with Touches of Lavender and Straw Emerges from Its Winter Rest

“It’s June when great, velvet-winged night moths sweep moonlit skies….”

Butterflies Abound on Bountiful Bergamot Blossoms

At least three types of butterflies were enjoying some sweetness on a sunny summer afternoon in Eastern Ontario.

Frogs Aren’t the Only Amphibians that Can Jump: So Can Salamanders

How can a creature that stands 3 mm off the ground leap 6 centimetres and where can I find one?

What Robin-Sized Sandpiper Is Walking Along the Shore at the Oakville Storm Water Ponds?

I love Sandpipers and when I meet one unexpectedly it makes my whole day better.

A Rusty Cap, a Yellow Throat, Fine Streaks and a Wagging Tail Equals a New Warbler for Me

At least spring didn’t slip past without at least one new bird.

Sparrows of Spring and One Imposter

While the Warblers are waiting for warmer weather, the sturdy sparrows are already spreading through our swamps and forests as they forage their way North.

Beaming at Beamer Conservation Area, Grimsby

In which I get to report a “rarity” to eBird with much ignoble gloating.

More Spring Beauties at Arkendo Park

In which I am duped yet again by a bird but at least it wasn’t another Song Sparrow.

The Birds Know Something About Spring that We Don’t

There’s a flurry of wings in the forest, finally.

Not Every Long Horned Beetle in Ontario is an Asian One

Unless you live near Pearson Airport, chances are good the Long Horned Beetle you’ve found is one of these native ones, not an Asian invader.

In Search of a Snowy in Southern Ontario

December 2013 is *the* month to go searching for a Snowy Owl in southern Ontario, so I did!

A Late Autumn Encounter with Hoodies and Ruddys in Humber Bay Park, Toronto

A few photos of some unusual (for me) ducks on a recent ramble through Humber Bay Park.

An October Ontario Back Yard Full of Butterflies

Four showy types of butterflies floated through the skies in my yard today. Three of them were likely migrating; One is up for anything including the harsh Canadian winter.

What are These Huge Floppy “Mosquito” Flies on my Screen Door and Grass?

Although you may feel like you’re under attack, these huge clumsy flies are “mostly harmless.”

A Ruby Throated Jewel Feeds from the Jewelweed at the Rattray Marsh Near Toronto

Is Jewelweed so named for its bright flowers blooming in the shade; its silvery appearance when underwater; or perhaps for the glittering iridescence of the pollinators it attracts?

Praying Mantis Eats Its Prey at Lakeside Park, Mississauga

While out enjoying the migration of the Green Darners at Lakeside Park in Mississauga in September, I spent some time taking photos of various Skippers and Dragonflies. I soon learned to slow down and scan the tall grasses, asters, burdockaaa

Where is This Plover’s Tam O’Shanter and Bagpipes?

While walking on a foggy sand beach facing the great gray Atlantic Ocean, my family and I saw a pair of small silver birds busily working away. As we passed them on the way to our car to escape theaaa

Whose Tern Is It Anyway? A Look at Ontario’s Fishing Birds

Some of those terns don’t have a full cap of feathers. Why?

What Blue Bird is Singing from that Tree Top in Southern Ontario?

In search of an Indigo Bunting, I find Doe, a deer, a Ray of sunshine, and that Me, I know nothing about where to look. After a bit of research I found I didn’t have to go as Fa as Point Pelee to see one: I could visit Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga, near Toronto.

Be Careful Where You Walk in the Woods: Poisonous Plants to Avoid

Here are two plants to watch out for when on a walk through a natural area in southern Ontario. Both cause nasty rashes, one of them can cause permanent scarring.

This House Wren Lives in the Great Ontario Wilderness Somewhere

I think House Wrens need a new name if they’re going to live in the wilderness. How about this one?

Why Are All These Birds So Sad? On Mourning Doves and Mourning Warblers

Aside from sitting on a thorny raspberry cane, what has this warbler got to be Mourn-ful about?

Which Little Yellow Bird is Flitting through the Forest near Lake Ontario?

At this time of year the edges of the woods can be seething with little yellow birds. Here’s an introduction to three: American Goldfinches, Magnolia and Yellow Warblers.

Rambling through Riverwood Conservancy in April in Mississauga, Ontario: Part 2

As we continue our spring ramble we meet more four-footed friends and feathery ones and one scaly one that is NOT a reptile!

Rambling through Riverwood Conservancy in April in Mississauga, Ontario

In mid-April, as I went for a walk through the woods at Riverwood Conservancy on the banks of the mighty muddy Credit River, I met many feathered friends and a few furry ones. The Black Capped Chickadees were setting upaaa

Spring Migrants Surge along Lake Shore at Arkendo Park, Oakville Ontario

A ramble amongst Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, Yellow Rumped Warblers and Eastern Phoebes got really interesting when I met these four large blue-backed birds zooming along the Lake.

What White Goose is Breaking the Way for this Flock of Canada’s in Oakville, Ontario?

This flock of Canada Geese has a snowy white bird in the lead of the V. But wait! There’s also something blue!

Faces That Made Me Pause

Two faces on the waterfront.

Ramble Through the Rattray: Will Spring Come to South Mississauga?

What small grey migrant was wagging its tail at the wintery wind along the paths of the Rattray Marsh this April afternoon?

Four Grebe Day! at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto

There are five kinds of grebes in Lake Ontario in spring: Pied Billed, Red Necked, Horned, Eared and Western. (Sounds a bit like a one eyed one eared flying purple people eater?!) Which 4 did I and my Nikon D5100 find on this blustery April day?

Spring Sneaks in on Little Pussy Toes

The birds aren’t the only colourful things to be found on an April ramble.

Want to Take a Great Spring Nature Walk in Mississauga, Ontario?

Here’s some of the common spring creatures you’ll see if you take a spring ramble through the Rattray.

Warblers in Winter? Insects a Plenty in Sedgewick Park Oakville Ontario

Why Sedgewick Park is providing plentiful insects for eager warblers.