Crab apple blossoms and birds

My parents left Ottawa this afternoon, but in the morning, I took my mother to the Arboretum to look at the crabapple blossoms that usually bloom at this time of the year (e.g., last year).  My mother loved how colourful the flowers were and took a lot of photos.

Crab apple blossom
Close-up on a flower.


Canadian Tulip Festival - 2017

My parents flew from BC to visit me this week, and I brought them to see the Canadian Tulip Festival a couple of times, as well as visited Montreal for two short days.  They are leaving tomorrow, but I think they had a good time overall.  Here are some of the pictures from the tulip festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival


Doing a bit of fieldwork at Gatineau Park

This morning, I helped my friend with her trout lily (Erythronium americanum) research at Gatineau Park (click here to read more about it from last year's post).  When we arrived at the park, the weather was not optimal to perform hand-pollination, so we grabbed coffee from the nearby Siberian Cat Café, where I took photos of these gorgeous cats.

Siberian Cat


Spring - time for birds and bees

This past two days, I have been attending the OCIB symposium at Carleton University.  On my way home, I walked through the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and Arboretum to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.  I saw many birds yesterday but I did not bring a binocular or a camera to identify the birds properly.  Today, I brought my camera and it was definitely more satisfying when I can identify the birds.

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)
Yesterday, my girlfriend and I saw many skinny small birds fluttering from branch to branch that we could not identify.  Today, with my camera, I realized they were probably Blue-headed Vireos (Vireo solitarius) which I have not seen before!


Spending more time outside now

Yesterday I was outside at a natural area (i.e., Gatineau Park) for the first time in a couple of months helping my labmate counting flowers.  Most of the park are snow-free, but everything seems to be emerging later than in Ottawa.  We didn't count many flowers but we did see some interesting wildlife.

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
The first was this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) walking away from us nonchalantly.


Creatures along Rideau River

Sorry for not posting in a while.  Everything is going well, but I just haven't really had the time to be outside for extended periods of time (especially during the miserable winter weather) and photographing things.  Hopefully with the start of spring (yay!), I can start spending more time outside again.

Spring has begun in Ottawa, and the other day, I saw from ebird that a Harlequin Duck had been sighted along the Rideau River.  The weather was quite nice today, so this afternoon, my girlfriend and I walked over to Strathcona Park and did a little bit of bird-watching.  Along the way, we ran into a friend who mentioned that the water level was quite high and a Snapping Turtle was spotted feeding under a flooded swing set right next to the river recently.  

Once we arrived at the park, we immediately saw a Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus - a bird I haven't seen in six years) swimming with some Common Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula).

Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) with Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)


February update

For some reason, 2017 is going by so fast that I am unable to slow it down and enjoy every moment of it.  I try to take some photos here and there, but I wish I have more to show.

The most exciting part about the first two months is the opportunity to observe lab-reared Bombus impatiens emerging from their brood cells.

Bombus impatiens ready to emerge
First look at the world.


New year birding

Compare to yesterday, today's weather is perfect for doing outdoor activities.  I trekked around the Arboretum and Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG) recording my first birds of 2017.

By the way, I started a Facebook page called PSYL Photography that will feature some of my photographs.  If you visit Facebook more often than my blog, then perhaps that is a good place to subscribe to.  Thanks.

Now, onto today's sightings.  There were many common birds around the Fletcher Wildlife Garden feeders, such as the chickadees, juncos, and more.

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
I saw some White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) wedging seeds into tree barks.

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