Welcome to my new website! It’s a nature blog , and it also houses galleries full of the amazing wild things I have found in my beautiful area of Eastern Ontario.
My first blog post is about something I have been fascinated with since I was a little kid: camouflage! Animals have two reasons to try to avoid detection- either they want to avoid being eaten, or they want to sneak up on something and eat it. Or both! They have developed feather and skin patterns, body shapes, and behaviours that allow them to hide so effectively, we most often pass them by. That’s why it’s so fun to find them!
Heads up! This American Bittern is hiding in the spring marsh at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. He puts his head straight up when he senses danger (me). Notice how the stripes on his neck match the vertical pattern of grasses and cattails where he’s hiding. How did I know he was there? Bitterns make an incredibly loud pumping sound in the spring to announce territory.
Ah, the Ambush bug. A couple of years ago I didn’t even know these creatures existed. Looking like a mini-Triceratops, these tiny insects wait motionlessly on flowers for unsuspecting insects to land. They are only the length of a grain of rice, but are incredibly strong. I have seen them capture bumblebees. If you want to find one, look closely on wildflowers in July and August. They especially like daisies and yarrow.
These two photos are of snowy owls on the ice and snow out on Lake Ontario. I walked right past this first owl without seeing it. All tucked in sleeping, it looks just like a mirror image of the ice chunk next to it.
I have heard grey tree frogs singing their mating calls lots of times, but rarely see them, due to their nocturnal habits, changing skin colour, and the fact that they live high up in trees. One day I was walking the dog and came home to find my husband on the roof in his housecoat. Thinking I lived in the loony bin, I asked him what he was doing! Turns out, he saw a grackle fly over our house with a tree frog in its mouth, then drop the frog on our roof. It was a rescue mission. Once he handed the frog down to me, I put it down on a log to get a couple of photos before it hopped away into the grass.
I wonder how many times I have walked right past an owl without seeing it? Look at how this barred owl’s feather patterns resemble the tree bark, and how the shape of its body just blends in with the crook of the tree.
Look very closely and you can see a mother barred owl peeking out of her nest in a tree snag. Her tail looks like a piece of shelf fungus. The curve of her head and her eye look just like the bark of the tree. I put this photo last, because it is the most exciting discovery of a hidden creature I have ever made. Not only did I find the mom and her nest, I got to see two owlets being raised. Incredible!