Two Thirds Water: Blog http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog en-us Brian Lasenby (Two Thirds Water) Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:04:00 GMT Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:04:00 GMT http://www.brianlasenby.com/img/s/v-5/u239328409-o1067538754-50.jpg Two Thirds Water: Blog http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog 120 76 Roatan - December 2014 http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2015/1/roatan---december-2014 Back to the reality of Canadian winters after a blissful week of diving on the Honduran island of Roatan. No flooded cameras, no lost luggage, no flight delays... and my wonky back managed to hold up for the most part. All in all, a great trip....

Gray Angelfish and Foureye Butterflyfish Hanging out on the "Mr Bud"     Diving the "Mr Bud", a 75' cargo ship sunk in 1995.

Jayne peering through an opening in the Prince Albert's hull

Jayne peering through an opening in the Prince Albert's Hull.  The tanker's last cargo was a group of Nicaraguan refugees escaping their war ravaged country. After arriving in Roatan, the ship was abandoned and eventually sunk.

Bearded Fireworm on Sea FanCloseup of Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata) on Sea Fan Bearded Fireworm on a Sea Fan

 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2015/1/roatan---december-2014 Mon, 05 Jan 2015 14:41:41 GMT
Upper Texas Coast http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/5/upper-texas-coast A trip in late April to the Upper Coast of Texas was a welcome diversion from the cool weather in southern Ontario. The city of Beaumont made an ideal home base for 9 days of great birding and superb photography opportunities. Our daily jaunts took us to a number of birding hot spots.... High Island, Bolivar Peninsula, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Big Thicket National Preserve, Sea Rim State Park, and McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge.  One of the birdiest places of all was Cattail Marsh on the outskirts of Beaumont, where we had the good fortune of meeting up with city employees Elizabeth Eeddins and Stephanie Molina who were taking part in The Great Texas Birding Classic's "Big Sit." Both went out of their way to make us feel welcome and were terrific ambassadors for the state of Texas and the city of Beaumont. Our visit to Cattail Marsh turned up numerous white-faced ibis, sora, tricolored herons and purple gallinules. Other species included roseate spoonbill, tricolored heron, bald eagle, snowy egret, great egret, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, sora, marbled godwit and Wilson's plover to name just a few.

Tricolored Heron in Breeding PlumageCattail Marsh

White-faced IbisCattail Marsh

SoraCattail Marsh

American AlligatorCattail Marsh

Roseate spoonbillHigh Island

Scissor-tailed FlycatcherBolivar Peninsula Black-bellied Whistling DucksMcFaddin National Wildlife Refuge Great Egret in FlightHigh Island American OystercatcherBolivar Peninsula Great Egret in Breeding Plumage High Island

Common NighthawkMcFaddin National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) Beaumont Cattail Marsh birds great texas coastal birding trail marsh nature photography texas http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/5/upper-texas-coast Sun, 18 May 2014 15:48:28 GMT
Welcome Back http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/4/welcome-back A welcome sign of spring after a harsh winter, tundra swans stop to rest in southern Ontario wetlands before continuing their journey to their Arctic breeding grounds.  Tundra Swan in FlightTundra Swan in FlightTundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) in Flight Against a Blue Sky - Ontario, Canada Group of Tundra Swans in FlightGroup of Tundra Swans in FlightGroup of Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus) in Flight Against a Blue Sky - Ontario, Canada Tundra Swan in FlightTundra Swan in FlightTundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) in Flight Against a Blue Sky - Ontario, Canada Tundra Swan in Flight Against a Deep Blue SkyTundra Swan in Flight Against a Deep Blue SkyTundra Swan Flying Overhead in Spring Against a Deep Blue Sky - Ontario, Canada

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) Canada Ontario bird swan tundra waterfowl http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/4/welcome-back Sat, 05 Apr 2014 15:47:00 GMT
Easy Pickings http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/3/easy-picking An all-you-can-eat smorgasboard of dead perch, catfish and carp in the Old Ausable Channel proved too tempting to resist for this great blue heron. The fish likely succumbed to depleted oxygen levels in the river resulting from a particularly harsh winter. 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/3/easy-picking Fri, 28 Mar 2014 05:14:00 GMT
Spring is on the way. http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/3/easy-pickings Like the rest of us, a pair of Canada geese wait for the return of warmer weather to southern Ontario.  

a large die-off of fish has occurred in the Old Ausable Channel.   

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/3/easy-pickings Sun, 23 Mar 2014 05:14:00 GMT
Masters of Disguise http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/masters-of-disguise Spotted Scorpionfish Waiting to Ambush its Prey - BonaireMaster of DisguiseSpotted Scorpionfish (Scorpaena plumieri) Hiding on a Coral Reef Waiting to Ambush its Prey - Bonaire Spotted Scorpionfish (Scorpaena plumieri) Hiding on a Coral Reef Waiting to Ambush its Prey - Bonaire

Longlure Frogfish Hiding on a Sponge - BonaireLonglure Frogfish Hiding on a Sponge - BonaireYellow Longlure Frogfish (Antennarius multiocellatus) Hiding on a Sponge - Bonaire A Longlure Frogfish lies motionless in a colony of sponges. A modified dorsal ray is used as a fishing lure to attract its prey.

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/masters-of-disguise Wed, 08 Jan 2014 18:45:00 GMT
Gentleman's Agreement http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/bonaire Gentleman's AgreementA Yellownose Goby cleans a Trumpetfish over a coral reef in Bonaire. A trumpetfish pauses for a quick hygiene appointment, courtesy of a yellow nose goby. A voracious predator, the trumpetfish has no interest in making a snack of the goby, one of several species of cleaner fish in the Caribbean. In a classic example of mutualism, both species benefit from this arrangement. The trumpetfish gets rid of some annoying parasites, while the goby gets a free and easy meal. 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/bonaire Sat, 04 Jan 2014 18:30:00 GMT
A Snowy Winter http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/a-snowy-winter

Winter in southern Ontario has been snowy in more ways than one. An irruption of snowy owls into southern Canada has resulted in an unusually high number of sightings of this spectacular bird from the tundra. This immature bird was scouting for prey on a Lake Huron beach after a late November snowfall.

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2014/2/a-snowy-winter Thu, 05 Dec 2013 18:00:00 GMT
Gone Fishing http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/9/breakfast The common loon (Gavia immer) is a familiar sight on most Ontario lakes, and has become something of a wilderness icon over the years. Loons pursue their prey (primarily sunfish and perch) underwater, using their powerful webbed feet to propel their torpedo shaped bodies underwater. Sharp spines on the roof of the bird's mouth and tongue prevent a captured fish from slipping free of its grasp.

Common Loon (Gavia immer) Feeding a Fish to its BabyCommon Loon (Gavia immer) Feeding a Fish to its BabyCommon Loon (Gavia immer) feeding a perch to its baby - Haliburton, Ontario

This loon chick eagerly awaits its freshly caught breakfast.

 

At 8 days of age, this chick's days of hitching a ride on Mom's back are almost up. 

 

Common Loon Catching a SunfishCommon Loon Catching a Sunfish

This pumpkinseed's day is about to go from bad to worse.

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/9/breakfast Sat, 10 Aug 2013 19:50:00 GMT
Damsels and Dragons http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/7/an-ode-to-odes We're fortunate in southwestern Ontario to have such a diversity of Odonates, the order of insects that includes dragonflies and damselflies. Gram for gram, they are some of the world's most efficient predators as they track down and intercept their prey in midair. Their excellent vision and impressive aerial gymnastics make for a deadly combination. 

A male blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) perched on a stalk of Viper's Bugloss. Dragonflies are considerable larger and much stockier than damselflies.

Skimming Bluet Damselflies (Enellagma geminatum) Mating on a Lily Pad. Male is on the left.

Familiar Bluets mating. The red circular objects are parasitic mites attached to the abdomens of both damselflies.

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/7/an-ode-to-odes Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:09:00 GMT
A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/6/a-sheep-in-wolfs-clothing  

....Or in this case, a fly in bee's clothing. Mimicry is a common theme in nature, where appearing to be something you aren't can pay big dividends. For this hover fly (also known as a flower fly or syrphid fly), bearing an uncanny resemblance to a bee gives it instant respect and protection from would-be predators.  And not only does the fly look the part, it also plays the part by feeding on nectar and pollen. Closer examination reveals its true identity... Unlike bees and other insects, flies have two wings rather than four. Other clues include short antennae, sucking mouth parts, and a huge pair of eyes that make up most of its head.

Hover Fly Pollinatiing an Alternate-leaved DogwoodHover Fly Pollinatiing an Alternate-leaved DogwoodHover Fly that mimics a bee pollinates an Alternate-leaved Dogwood - Ontario, Canada

Hover Fly Pollinatiing an Alternate-leaved DogwoodHover Fly Pollinatiing an Alternate-leaved DogwoodHover Fly that mimics a wasp pollinates an Alternate-leaved Dogwood - Ontario, Canada This species of hover fly mimics a wasp. To the untrained eye, it's a brilliant and highly convincing disguise. 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) bee deceive deception fly insect mimic mimicry pollinate predator prey syrphid yellow http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/6/a-sheep-in-wolfs-clothing Wed, 12 Jun 2013 23:54:00 GMT
Red-headed Woodpecker http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/5/red-headed-woodpecker

The red-headed woodpecker has long been one of my favourite birds. We were fortunate to have this one spend much of the day in our backyard, making frequent trips to the suet feeder.  With its red head, black back and large white wing patches, it would be difficult to mistake this bird for any other species. 

Recently listed as threatened by both COSEWIC (Committee On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and SARA (Species At Risk Act), the red-headed woodpecker's numbers have plummeted in Ontario and southern Manitoba since the 1970's. With its population decreasing in the United States as well, the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists this species as "Near Threatened." One of the primary reasons for its decline is likely a loss of habitat. Red-headed woodpeckers require dead standing trees in which to excavate their nesting cavities. There is some hope that dead ash trees left in the wake of the Emerald Ash Borer might lead to an increase in the population of this attractive bird. Perhaps every cloud does have its silver lining.

 

 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) COSEWIC SARA balck bird d dead tree endangered nature photography red red white and black red-headed woodpecker threatened species white wildlife woodpecker http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/5/red-headed-woodpecker Mon, 27 May 2013 13:30:51 GMT
Spring is in the Air http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/3/spring-is-in-the-air 20150805_183619_014 A sure sign of spring in southern Ontario is the sight of large flocks of tundra swans passing overhead. One of the best places to view them is near Pinery Provincial Park, where thousands gather in March to rest and refuel before continuing their journey to their Arctic breeding grounds. This annual pilgrimage has been described as one of the last great wildlife migrations. 

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/3/spring-is-in-the-air Fri, 22 Mar 2013 06:29:00 GMT
Texas in March http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/3/texas-in-march Due to its location, the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas has an astonishing diversity of birds, including a number of Mexican specialties that occur nowhere else in the United States. This immature white-tailed hawk was photographed near Edinburg at the Laguna Seca Ranch.

White-tailed Hawk in Flight- Texas

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/3/texas-in-march Thu, 21 Mar 2013 04:15:00 GMT
Pileated Woodpecker http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/2/pileated With its large size and flaming red crest, the Pileated Woodpecker is one of North America's most spectacular birds. Its loud call and drumming can be heard echoing through mixed and coniferous forests. With its large chisel-shaped beak and powerful neck muscles, it is capable of drilling deep holes in a tree in its quest for insects. Like other woodpeckers, dead standing trees are a crucial component of its habitat. Thanks to the maturation of second-growth forests in Ontario, the Pileated Woodpecker's population in Ontario has been increasing in recent years. 

 

Pileated Woodpecker on an Oak Tree

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/2/pileated Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:27:00 GMT
Red-bellied Woodpecker http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/1/red-bellied-woodpecker Once confined to extreme southern Ontario, red-bellied woodpeckers have been expanding their range north for several decades. This may be in part due to milder winters and the proliferation of birds feeders. 

Red-bellied Woodpecker

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2013/1/red-bellied-woodpecker Sat, 12 Jan 2013 05:47:00 GMT
Late Bloomer http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2012/10/late-bloomer---october-19-2012  

Black-capped Chickadee in a Witch Hazel Shrub The vivid yellow blooms of witch hazel provide a colourful backdrop for this black-capped chickadee. Witch hazel is one of our more unusual shrubs, flowering in mid October after its leaves have fallen. This reproductive strategy, fine-tuned over countless millenia, ensures its genes will be passed on to the next generation by attracting pollinating insects with a last ditch source of nectar before winter sets in.

]]>
(Two Thirds Water) autumn bird black black-capped chickadee canada chickadee flower ontario shrub tree white witch hazel yellow http://www.brianlasenby.com/blog/2012/10/late-bloomer---october-19-2012 Thu, 18 Oct 2012 14:59:00 GMT