Tag Archives: Wildlife

“Emerald Jewelwing” – Whitevale, Ontario

“Emerald Jewelwing” - Whitevale

“Despite its dark veins, the transparency of dragonfly’s wings assures me of a pure, innocent world”
― Munia Khan

Ah, warm weather walks. As plants grow taller and spread across the forest floors, their insect companions abound and show in ever increasing displays of colour and variety. Some are tougher to photograph than others. This female emerald jewelwing, with her distinctive black body and white wing spots, is fairly common around here, but they tend to be a bit skittish with movement. This time she cooperated and posed nicely on a lime green leaf, making her stand out even more.

I have not seen many males yet. They are metallic green in colour and I’m sure they will show up shortly too.

As more wildlife begins to show itself, I’m finding myself gravitating towards it and away from plants. I hope those following my blog aren’t too disappointed?

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @300mm

1/160sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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“Mating Pair” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Mating Pair” - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock

When time allows, I like to visit Duffins creek and stroll the riverbank, especially at this time of year. The narrow wooded trail follows the shoreline, through grand cedar stands, into deep gullys, along the creek, with its variable structure of rocky sandbanks, deep holes, and fast flowing rapids.

At this time of year, new growth is slowly emerging. Splashes of bright green dot the forest floor. Spring plants such as Coltsfoot, Bloodroot, Trout Lilies, and violets dot the landscape, welcoming the warmth of spring. Fiddleheads, the young growth of ferns, sit in tight knots, not quite ready to open, and the trout start their annual run up the creek to the dam at Whitevale, a small hamlet north of Pickering, Ontario.

At the right time of day, the trout try to leap up the fifteen foot high concrete dam, designed to keep the introduced steelhead trout from migrating further upstream. On this visit, the trout were not jumping yet and were pooled just beneath the dam. Many rested in the shallow pools just above the last set of rapids, including this pair, in full breeding colours. The shallow water allowed me to get a clear image from slightly above. This pair will breed and shortly thereafter, follow the creek back to Lake Ontario, where they will remain till the instinct to migrate up the creek returns next spring.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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“Pain in the Butt” – Seaton Trail

“Pain in the Butt” - Seaton Trail

“Such is the condition of organic nature! Whose first law might be expressed in the words ‘Eat or be eaten!’ and which would seem to be one great slaughter-house, one universal scene of rapacity and injustice!”
― Erasmus Darwin

Ever have one of those days where, out of nowhere, something just sneaks up and gets you from behind? You can take small comfort that you are not this Wood Frog. I’d say our troubles are tame compared to his.

I came across this scene a few days ago while on a short hike along Ontario’s Seaton Trail. I heard a rustle of leaves and spotted motion just off the trail. At first all I saw was the large Garter Snake, then I noticed it had caught the frog. The light was awesome, so I sat to watch this process play out and document it with my camera. I’ve seen photos in elementary school textbooks of how snakes eat their prey, but have never witnessed it firsthand. It’s quite the process

How the snake would get this large frog into it’s mouth was beyond me, especially considering the frog’s legs were still free and active, and he had filled himself up with air. Well, after a few mis-timed kicks, the frog’s legs were in the snake’s gullet and the rest was just a matter of time. Twenty minutes, to be precise, from when this image was made to the time the last trace of the frog disappeared. You just never know what you might see when out on the trails.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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“Out of the Storm” – Sauble Beach, Ontario

“Out of the Storm” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with family and friends at Ontario’s Sauble Beach, on Lake Huron. It began as a wonderful hot summer day splashing in the surf and playing hours of volleyball. The forecast was for thunderstorms late in the day. We watched across the water as the sky gradually darkened. The storm approached over the lake like a black wall, slowly creeping our way.

I took this as a wonderful opportunity to get some powerful storm photographs. As I stood on the shore making photos of the storm, I was struck by just how bright the circling seagulls were, in strong contrast to the dark skies.

This one kept circling me at just the right distance to make some good images. I’m really pleased at how it turned out. The biggest challenge was trying to keep him focused and framed properly.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm @ 210 mm
1/60 sec @ f/10.0, ISO 450

“Mink on York River II” – York River, near Bancroft, Ontario

Mink on York River

This is the second shot of this little fellow. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was walking along the York River, planning on  taking some long exposure shots of the rapids when this mink appeared among the rocks. He tried real hard to avoid me seeing him and I found myself dodging and weaving between the rocks to get a clear shot of him. At one point he even went into the rapids and was briefly washed downstream, where he eventually came to shore (that’s why he’s wet). Fortunately for me, my wife, who was also along for the photo shoot, happened to be on the shore and that forced him to come back towards me. After lots of hide-and-seek, he eventually popped his head up long enough for me to get this shot of him, before he disappeared for good.

It is so nice to see wildlife around me and to be able to share those moments and experiences through photography.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/60 sec @ f/3.0, ISO 200

7 Young Ducks – Marble Lake

7 Young Ducks - Marble Lake

More waterfront wildlife. This photo was made last summer while at our camper. We were visiting my sister at the waterfront and this family of duck, which had been swimming back and forth along the shore, decided it was time for a break and settled in within a few meters of where we were sitting. I had my camera with me from an earlier excursion and they did not seem to mind i the least that I captured this moment. I playfully called it “7 Young Ducks”  because I always find myself counting them to make sure, since one is hidden a bit.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 165 mm
1/60 sec @ f/10, ISO 3200

“Mink on the York River”

Mink on York River II

Now this little fellow was one of this shots you get that you had no idea was going to happen.

Last summer I went for a drive to High Falls, near Bancroft, Ontario to get some waterfall shots. On my way out I noticed a nice little pull-off where I could shoot some long exposures of the river and rapids below the falls. As I was setting up, I noticed a flash of movement from the corner of my eye and spotted this mink darting and weaving between the rocks. He was pretty elusive and it took many attempts to get a good photo of him. At this moment in time, he got distracted by something other than me and struck this beautiful pose.

The lesson for me, is always be prepared for the unexpected and know your gear well enough to switch over should a situation like this present itself. I was all set with my wide angel to shoot the moving water but quickly switched to my fast telephoto to capture this image.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
1/60sec @ f/288, ISO 220