Saturday, December 31, 2016


This fall I built a birdhouse for the north-side of the berm. It is close to a duplicate of a successful birdhouse in the backyard where many generations of house sparrows have been raised. I placed it about 7 feet up on top of one of the posts I had planted earlier in the year to protect the young trees from the mower. The long grass mower had run over about 5-10 trees in the early summer but some of them were coming back from the inadvertent coppicing. The posts did the trick of convincing the mower to not follow the path taken in the summer when remowing the area in the fall.

I took the above picture on the 7th and it has stayed cold and snowy all December. In the poplar trees on top of the berm were a bunch of crows making a racket as I was taking this picture. They were a small part of the large flock that heads East each evening back to their roost on the Rideau.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Roadside Test Plots

Someone is conducting an experiment on a patch of ground adjacent to the road in front of the crabapples. Early in the summer (when I took the above photo) they sprayed herbicide to kill all the vegetation and spread clover seeds. Unfortunately for their experiment a heavy rain storm wash their seeds into puddles and what mostly grew up was ragweed except in the patches where the clover germinated. They then in the late summer repeated the experiment further along the road with much more success. It will be interesting to see how the clover handles the salt over winter.

This evening on my walk it felt like winter was coming at last. There was a strong wind out of the west and hundreds of crows were racing east overhead back to their roost on the Rideau.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Caught Cicada

This banded argiope, one of the common orbweavers has got super lucky; it has caught a cicada in its net. The poor cicada was still struggling when I noticed it.

I took this photo in September but the quality is disappointing. My camera bit the dust earlier in the summer and the camera on my phone just isn't up to snuff.

Friday, September 9, 2016


His sisters were busy biting me as this little male mosquito only had eyes for the goldenrod flowers.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Black Locust

Here is the black locust I transplanted last year. It is growing strongly and is now about 4 feet tall.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trembling Aspen

The purple line is to the right of a young 8 trembling aspen sapling that got its chance here on the north side of the berm when they stopped cutting the grass in 2009. The purple line goes from the ground up to a branch that was at my shoulder level (5ft). The yellow line is as high as the sapling and is over 6 times as long as the purple line indicating the sapling is a little over 30ft tall. The trunk has a circumference of 12 inches. Not bad for 8 years of growth.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Spring 2016 Updates

Invasive Honeysuckles

The Trilliums did well this spring with 11 flowers. I'm not sure I could say that any new plants have developed but the existing plants are larger and more vigorous than previous years. I visited the trilliums in Ben Franklin wood as well this spring and they are doing ok. There are more red trilliums in the woods than I remember seeing before.

There doesn't seem to be very much field mice damage to the trees this spring compared to previous years. A few trees that had been girdled the previous winter but had still leafed out last year didn't come back this spring but I don't notice any damage that I can say for sure occurred this winter.

The white pines took a hard knock on their inventory of older needles over winter. Some of them look quite sparse except for the buds growing with the current year's needles.

The patch of dog strangling vine (at the end of Newhaven) I hand removed last year has come back strong. I have already removed 200+ stalks of dog strangling vine from the patch this spring.

Most but not all ash trees on the berm have been killed by the emerald ash borer. There are a few smaller trees that haven't been attacked yet and the smaller seedlings are growing especially on the north side of the berm.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Being Watched by Song Sparrows.

This little song sparrow is keeping quiet as she sits on her nest in the long grass just a few steps from a path. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, the previous day I was surprised by her rising from immediately below my feet. Fortunately I didn't step on her nest with four small eggs in it so the next day I came back and took her photograph. A couple of days later when I passed by there was at least one baby chick in the nest, but I just caught a glimpse as I didn't want to unnecessarily perturb the mom. I don't know what happened to the chicks but a week later the nest is empty except for a broken shell.

Below is another song sparrow (or perhaps the same one with a new nest) keeping a watchful eye as I pass in the vicinity of her nest. Hopefully, it is well hidden. She and her mate keep a continuous chirp going as long as I am in sight but it is so brief it is hard to pin point which direction the chirp is coming from.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Roadside Cleanup

Well it is spring again and I went out and picked up some garbage along the bike path and berm. It is interesting what sort of things you find. My impression is that there are fewer grocery bags than there were 6-7 years ago. It used to be I figured you could always find enough bags amongst the garbage to clean-up the garbage itself but now I mostly rely on bags I get from the city's Clean up the Capital program. It's good exercise, and feels more productive than just going for a walk or a bike ride.

It is daffodil time now. Spring started quite early in March with midges out the weekend before Easter and mostly bare ground for Easter but then we got some more snow in the first half of April to cover the bare ground. The bloodroot was out last weekend which is a bit earlier than previous years, but the past few days have been coolish so spring blooms are probably right on schedule now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Winter Storm

There was a record snowfall on Tuesday. Trudging out to the trees yesterday the fluffy snow was up to my knees and it was hard work just to go a few hundred meters to take this picture. The rabbit below was having a hard time getting through the snow as well. Here he is at the entrance to his bolt hole.

I heard a chickadee announce that "tea's ready" yesterday, a sure sign that spring is coming. Winter started quite late this year (there were dandelions blooming on Christmas Day). I wonder how much more of it we have to see.