Steller’s Jay

Steller's Jay 2_watermarked

Steller's Jay 1_watermarked

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Dragonflies

Dragonflies are always welcome around our place as they are fierce predators and their primary victims are mosquitoes, of which they eat huge quantities.  They are wonderful to watch in flight as they are very manoeuvrable and yet graceful at the same time.

Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae)

Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae)
Sitting on my knee

Biddy (2)_watermarked

Dragon Fly 01_watermarked

Dragon Fly 02_watermarked

Dragon Fly 03_watermarked

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove Tower

Foxglove Tower

Foxglove is a magnificent wildflower that grows all around our acreage.  It can grow up to 5 feet (150 cm) tall and in bunches can look quite dramatic.  Foxglove is the source of the drug digitalin, a heart stimulant, but is poisonous if you take too much.  When we were small we would pull off the flowers and stick them on our fingers to make our hands look like claws (or so we thought).  I guess we didn’t lick our fingers afterwards as we are still here.

Foxgloves

Foxglove

 

Broadleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)

Throughout our acreage we have some magnificent Broadleaf Maples, many nearly 90 feet tall.  They are beautiful trees usually covered with moss and on the higher limbs and trunks, licorice ferns.  This grove is located quite near our house.

Broadleaf Maple Grove

Broadleaf Maple Grove

  

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

We have lots of garter snakes on the acreage and we enjoy having them around.  They are usually quite timid and are non-venomous.  They grow to between 16 – 40 inches (40-100 cm) and can vary in colour though they normally have yellow and dark stripes.  

Hiding under the shakes

Hiding under the shakes

Garter snakes are carnivorous and are useful around the garden eating ants, small rodents and slugs.  I didn’t include my snake eating a slug photo in case you are eating while reading this – not a pretty sight.

Enjoying the warmth

Enjoying the warmth

The snake below however was quite agressive.  In this photo it is in our very small pond trying to catch our two goldfish and it didn’t appreciate me moving it to another locale, actually going through striking motions.

Hunting

Hunting

Close encounter

Close encounter of a gentler kind

Robin & Towhees

A couple of days ago I told myself that I needed some better photos of Spotted Towhees and yesterday they were quite cooperative.  Spotted Towhees stay around here all Winter and are always rustling about in the underbrush.  They come to the feeder but prefer to eat the seed other birds throw down.

Spotted Towhee 3

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

Spotted Towhee 1

Spotted Towhees used to be grouped with Eastern Towhees and were called Rufous-sided Towhees. Recently they were found to be of a different species, hence the name change.

Eating a fly

Eating a fly

This robin was feeling left out so I’ve included it.  They have been back from the South for about a month now.

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American Robin (Turdus migratorius)