Nature’s Christmas Lights

Its almost Christmas Eve and all my baking and cooking is done! I’ve even had time to do some photography around my place and as far off as Parry Sound.

The last few days there have been seven Wild Turkeys, a Ruffed Grouse, a fisher, and a Barred Owl here. The last time the Barred Owl was here I managed to get some video which I put together, with much difficulty, knashing of teeth, a few unflattering words and persistence, using Pinnacle Studio 14 software!

I have used stop action screen shots in this video and that is something I wasn’t able to do years ago when I did Hi 8!

I would like to thank everyone who has taken a look at my blog and all those who have commented! It is nice to know that people do take a look! Thank-you and I hope you’ll continue to stop by!

This short little video I have put together using still images is the result of working on something I have never seen before or maybe just never taken the time to see. These images give me the feel of flickering candlelight. They take me back to when I lived in Toronto in my early teens and sang in church choirs. We proceeded into Deer Park United Church carrying lit candles for the Carol Service. I haven’t been to one for many years but hope to make it a new tradition starting next Christmas.

The images in this video are of icicles hanging on the side of my house taken through the windows with the sunrise shining through them. Some are taken with “intentional blur” in camera!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that goes with it!


Muskoka Winter

Yes, we did get a huge dump of snow all at once! Living .5 km in on a “cottage” road means that much snow isn’t always beautiful! Only one day was I really unable to get out and that was out my door not just out my driveway. It has settled to about 3 feet and it does look like winter!

I prefer to capture smaller views as the wide view is pretty overwhelming.

One morning early in the snow storm this Pileated Woodpecker came looking for food by the side of my house. As much as I love to see them I hope they won’t find a good tree because that would mean tree is dead! The one he is on is an oak that will take some time before it breaks down enough for insects to feast on it.

There are both fisher and fox tracks around the house and I’m hoping to see one of the soon.

All images taken with Canon 7D and 100-400 lens.

Missing Images and Fake Sandisk CF Cards

After working many hours to revise my “The Magic of Monarchs” presentation for the MFN meeting Thursday night, a couple of important images were missing. For those who asked questions about what the skin, or cuticle, looks like after it has been shed by the pupating larva, here is it!

It does look just a bit creepy with all the appendages attached to the cuticle. I have attempted to straighten one out to see what it looks like but soaking in water doesn’t make it soft. It is quite crisp like the empty crysalis. I saved a few so if anyone has any ideas as to what I could use to soften it I’ll try again. Maybe adding some liquid soap might help.

The two images below show the difference between the larva in a tight J soon after attaching itself to the pad and dropping and when it it starts to pupate approximatley fifteen hours later.

During my visit to Quebec for Snow Geese it was pointed out to me by my friend, Chris Dodds, that I needed more card space and I ordered two Sandisk Extreme III 16 gb CF cards when I got home. They arrived yesterday with no invoice and no packaging around the cards, only the plastic containers. I have two Sanho Hyperdrive Colorspace storage units that I bought to take to Nanuk Lodge last year. One of their features is that they authenticate some brands of memory cards. These showed up as fakes!

I contacted the seller,, immediately and requested new cards or PayPal refunds. The refunds were issued immediately. Of course, I still have to pay the Paypal fees!

It isn’t the first time I have authenticated Sandisk cards with the Hyperdrives. Last year two of my authentic cards failed. I called Sandisk and told they were fakes so didn’t send them in. When I put them in the Hyperdrives they showed as good cards. I sent them to Sandisk and got replacements. The Hyperdrives have now paid for themselves!

So, BEWARE!! These are images of the front and back of the bad cards. Notice that the real cards say UDMA on the front.

We have had a good fall with little snow until now. I am afraid that winter has arrived in Muskoka. It does look beautiful but I really dislike having to head out to scrape the snow off my satellite dish, which is on my roof, on a Friday night to be able to watch TV. At least the people who do my snow shovelling do a path to side of the house to make it easier to access the dish. That was a bonus that started last winter.

There were four female Wild Turkeys in for a brief visit the other day. Blue Jays, chickadees and nuthatches are the only other winter visitors with a couple of goldfinches occasionally. There is some ice on the lake at my end but the rest is open and I noticed Common Mergansers out there yesterday.

Still lots of time to order calendars!