Fragile Forktail: The Most Elegant of Damselflies

Feature image for the Forktail post.

All damselflies—the tiny, slimmed-down cousins of dragonflies in the order Odonata—are elegant creatures, but the Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) is in a class by itself. Is it the name alone that makes me think so? Fragility can make anything—whether it’s a bug or a piece of furniture—seem more graceful and refined; and the Fragile Forktail’s … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

Green Is the Color of Hope: Stalking the Black-legged Meadow Katydid

Feature photo for Katydid post.

I.              The photo This all started at the end of September 2019, when a friend emailed me a photo she’d taken of a Black-legged Meadow Katydid. My friend and I are birders, and we share a subsidiary interest in butterflies and dragonflies. But katydids? I’d never seen one, so had never felt the urge to … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

Butterflies of the Carden Alvar: Part Two, the Commas

Feature image for Commas post.

My problem with Commas is one of disappointment. Three species of Comma—the Eastern, the Gray, and the Green—appear in Southern Ontario; but in Toronto, where I do most of my butterflying, I’ve only ever seen the Eastern. Each time I find another Comma, I hope it’s something different. But when I come home and examine … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

Winter Birding: A photo essay from Algonquin Park

Feature photo for Algonquin post.

Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the finest places in North America to see winter birds, those boreal species that rarely come down to more southerly locations. Situated in central Ontario, the park is a three-hour drive north of Toronto and about the same distance west from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. I spent two days … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

Summer Sightings or Random Thoughts on the Sacred Quest

Giant Swallowtail on the Leslie Street Spit.

Every summer, I stop birding and turn my attention to butterflies and dragonflies. Now, as the season draws to a close, I feel an urge to summarize it somehow, to list its highlights and express its character. Was there anything strange or unique about this particular summer, any surprising development, that set it apart from … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

Courtship Behavior of the Orchard Oriole: A photo essay

Male Orchard Oriole--Featured Image.

On a hike through Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto near the end of May, I noticed a bird sitting in a tree. It was small in size and yellow in color: a female Orchard Oriole. She sat on an exposed perch with a long piece of grass in her mouth. Was she collecting nesting material? … Read more

Like this post? Please share!

The Wounded Mink

A few years ago, I was having a slow day on the Leslie Street Spit, the reclaimed landfill and Important Bird Area that juts into Lake Ontario just east of downtown Toronto. Over the years, I’ve seen more than 240 species of birds on this five-kilometer-long peninsula, including such local rarities as Connecticut Warbler, Northern … Read more

Like this post? Please share!