Sunday 28 June 2020

The Sanctuary -ein Spaziergang mit Freunden

Liebe Angela, Lieber Peter,
Yes, if it weren't for Covid19 we would probably have walked together, an den Freitag, around the source/Quelle of Bass lake, its outlet, the North River which actuall flows North some distance before finally turning West into Matchedash Bay and Georgian Bay. So. since you cannot be here personally - social distancing in the extreme!
Please join us as we share what we saw sequentially/chronologically - it was a very good day.

The sanctuary is called the Langman Sanctuary

It is about 300 - 400m across the North/bottom of map, and the total circumference will be approx 1.5km. We'll start at the bottom right and go counterclockwise around the marsh on trail #1.

We'll start with the Summer Triangle

And what a pair of Trumpeters sound like when they are in Spring Fever - as opposed to Cabin fever

Our route is dangerous, there be Dragons  - Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly (Family Libellulidae)

And on a warm day what might be better than vanilla ice cream?
Showy Lady Slippers

also known as the moccasin flower  - a beautiful sad haunting story

And Wood Lilies

Now for the shutter bugs, composition is not everything - luck is  and it favours those who are outside looking for a shot. The butterfly is a Northern Crescent

I think I'll pause this walk on the East side near Line #14 with another "orange subject,
a Baltimore Oriole

There is a bench here where we can rest  - and I can go ahead and see if I can identify a few more birds and plants,

And drink lots of water!


Saturday 20 June 2020

Two Mornings in June

Months ago our photographic leader - you want me to write photogenic? - suggested "shooting" the Moon as a photographic exercise in light management, and maybe the appreciation of using a tripod and then maybe considering composition ,,,

I began with
The Moon and the Turtle
followed by New Moon
The Moon and the Raven
and then the opposite idea
The Moon and Christopher Columbus

I am not the quickest so this entry will be the last in that series - I have 100s of photos of the Moon going back to 1960s - one with an historic telescope in the North dome of the DDO administration building. That telescope has now been "saved" from astronomers who might use it and has been safely stored away in Ottawa. That was to have been an entry. I'll think about it.

"God, is it true that a million years is like a second for you?"  "Yes-"
"And is it true that a $million dollars is like pennies?"  "Yes"
"I have been good, Would you please give me some of your pennies?" "Just a second."

So don't hold your breath!

On Thursday morning, about 4:30Am, an hour before sunrise I took the following series of photos:

While I was there I was visited by a Heron, twice probably, and 2 bats - but sadly no sonar, and by a dozen or more Fireflies. I tried to photograph them and if I can show beyond doubt which "lights" are theirs I may post them another time.

On Friday morning, just an hour or so after the end of the occultation of Venus by the Moon, I witnessed this beautiful sight - and the reason for yesterday's visit to locate the pair for today.

Maybe I was a little excited? Maybe the dense atmosphere - be polite!

I actually saw Venus before I could see the Moon.

The body of water is part of Lake Simcoe, For more on occultations, click here.


Tuesday 16 June 2020

Scout Valley Rocks!

Back in May, while walking with Vicki looking for Trillums,

A little bird, descendant of dinosaurs - as an egg, hard as a rock? A different kind of fossil idea?

I was quite surprised by this. And wondered. When what to I see:

This is the sort of thing I might have done for a Winter's rally. And maybe even written a poem. However, here?

So yesterday I thought I would revisit the Trillums and see if the pet rocks were still on duty. There were new ones - if a rock can become "new":

This one was on a side trail and I wonder if it was serving to mark out a hike? The next one was more difficult to see - it is hard being "green"!

This had a different style - maybe a Leprechaun?

This next one I walked by before realizing I had just seen a turtle !

 Do you see a turtle looking at you`? There is a bridge to the right over the Mill stream and it was from there that I saw "it".

It has the right number of scutes, 13.
This is getting very interesting. I sat t´down on Bob Bowles'  bench  to think. Some effort by one or more naturalists and Indigenous, maybe?

I was on my return when this patch of colour caught my eye.

Thank you for a wonderful outing."miigwech"


King? And Vice

So on Sunday Vicki spotted this on Concession 8:

It looks like a Monarch butterfly - but on June 14? At latitude 44° ++

And then the next day in Scout Valley:

Here is a separate page to help identify

Any insight?


Sunday 14 June 2020

Why - how it happened, and the wild connections of the wise old bird

Connections - Reaction times, Lyme Disease and the  photos.
I thought I might offer an explanation for the photos of the Barn Swallow

Was it luck? No, although I am still waiting to get the Osprey splashing in front of me. It comes with an idea. And so it was not luck but planning that enabled me to get the comet Hale-Bopp over the church in Odendorf on "Green Thursday"

or over the Effelsberg 100m radio telescope on Easter Sunday in 1997.

(These photos were on film and then digitized.)

Let me break the elements down.

1. Composition. I wanted the swallow scooping up water from the puddle. I saw it doing so several times and thought I should be able to manage a shot. But how?

2 Focal length. The bird flies very quickly so I estimated that I need a field of view comparable to the size of the puddle, about 7m long. Choose a lens or zoom focal length that includes about half the puddle. (Substitute your own noun for your shot.)

3 Focus. The event happens so quickly that the camera will not usually be able to follow the motion of such a tiny object - not necessarily always in the centre! You see the stone at the left edge of the puddle? I zoomed in on it and used the auto focus for it and then switched to manual and increased the focus to a  distance a meter or so beyond. Then I returned to the focal length covering half the puddle.

4. I didn't do the following but I would another time: set the ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

Now I must confess that the first image was a "frame grab" from a video.

However, I caught the bird in the first frame and then never again. That was on day 1. That was when I started thinking!

How fast is the bird flying? I don't know but let me pull a rabbit from the top of my head: 72kmh or 72000 meters in 3600 seconds (meters per hour). I get 20m per second, or a flyover the
puddle in circa .25 seconds.

An aside, I. At the European Southern Observatory, telescope domes were closed at wind velocities over 18m/s because dust was being picked up by the wind and was blown against  optic surfaces. I experienced such high winds in June 1972.

An aside, II. Human reaction time is approx 0.2seconds - the reason for fail starts in sprint events when the reaction of the sprinter is faster than that. Last year at Science North, Sudbury there was an experiment set up for visitors  - and staff! - to try out their times. I actually had mine measured in 2004 and that lead eventually to discovering I had Lyme Disease.
(The Lyme-related Borrelia species are collectively known as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and show a great deal of genetic diversity. )

 An electric shock was applied to my head and the time taken to reach my toes recorded. The speed ought to have been 50m/sec,  and hence the reaction time for a 2m tall person of 0.2 sec. - science!. In my case the speed was 15m per sec - so I would have been  a slow starter. (Actually in High School, Grade XII, I ran the 100m sprint in 13 sec, and the 200m in 24sec, faster over the 2nd 100m  because there was no 2nd start which would be "slow".)

Pan. Track your target through the camera lens and shoot when it is nearly at the composition centre - allow for reaction time and  camera shutter "delay" or inertia and your object will be very close to "spot on" as seen by the swallow, mouth open over the water. Panning is not obvious in this crop but in the next shot there is considerable motion blur in the background while the swallow is nearly sharp.

Here are the 2 cropped shots followed by the original, just resized:

Hope this has helped demystify the shots and not been a conceit?

Wise old bird

Saturday 13 June 2020

What happened next - seeing stars at the ol' drinking hole

So, dear Kim, I saw so much, too much for a single blog, and so much variety for even a single theme, like a bird bath. It would be easy to pass and pause on it. However, I am sitting just 4-5m away, a ring-side seat as it were, and the photos are mostly in focus although I am excited.

Let us start by seeing the  "stars".

Round 2

Some ruffled feathers

And then the others wanted to get into the action,

A Dove -

A pair of Cowbirds -

An American Robin -

It survived!

And then a special fly-over -

So, Kim and Jens, that is a part of all that I saw. I won't show the Osprey, the Heron, or the Turkey Vulture, or the other birds I could not identify. Leave something for you when you can visit us. Hope everyone is safe and healthy.