Spruce Grouse

Fool Hen

I had no idea Canada had things like this; I’m more used to the idea of grouse living in the highlands of Scotland or similar, being shot at by inbred members of the aristocracy… This splendid chap is a Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis); according to my bird book, it is also known as the Fool Hen, due to its habit of allowing people to…

Alces alces. The Moose.

Alces alces, the moose, is the largest of the deer family (that hasn’t gone extinct). Seeing a wild one was very high on my list of things to do in Canada; after two and a half years, I was still failing miserably. This all changed on a visit to Algonquin Park, as the winter snow was in the process of melting; the main road…

Niagara Falls, Niagara, waterfall

Niagara Falls – not blasé yet

When one lives about an hour’s drive from Niagara Falls, one tends to end up visiting the place quite a lot, with extra visits whenever one has guests from out of town. The first time I saw the falls with adult eyes, I was expecting to be a bit underwhelmed: as has been frequently observed by others, the world’s greatest wonders are prone to…

Groundhog

Groundhog

I think groundhogs (Marmota monax) are brilliant! If you’re from North America, these things are relatively unremarkable, apart from their alleged weather-predicting abilities (!); not having anything like this back home, they’re rather more impressive to a Brit. Groundhogs are essentially enormous squirrels (Sciuridae); Europeans will be familiar with their more extreme relations that live up mountains – the marmots. Groundhogs prefer to live…

Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura

Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a frequent sight over Ontario in the warmer months; soaring with their characteristic tipping motion as they look for lunch. Whilst not exactly beautiful birds, in a conventional sense, they are still impressive: their olfactory sense especially, which is primarily how they find food. According to my bird book, gas companies take advantage of this, by putting attractive-(to…

Toronto, Skyline, Night

Toronto Skyline At Night

This was taken from Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands, utilising an ND filter to allow a longer exposure; Toronto at night is almost verging on pretty… Unfortunately, I’d missed that last ferry back from this end of the islands and had to walk back to Centre Island to catch a later ferry, with a scavenging raccoon (who seemed especially keen on pizza) to…

Mink

Mink

The Toronto Islands are a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto and are usually a pleasure to visit – the little cafe at the eastern end of the islands is a fine spot for a bite to eat or a drink. On this occasion, I was on the islands with a view to getting some after dark shots of the Toronto skyline. Arriving in…

American Toad, Toadlet, Toad, Young

Toadlet

In the middle of summer, the Spring’s generation of baby toads start getting adventurous and venture forth from the ponds in which they were spawned. One has to be careful where one puts one’s feet whilst out walking, as the paths are often crawling (hopping?) with loads of these little chaps. This makes me happy: in the UK, toads are struggling (the usual human…

American Toad, Bufo americanus

Hello, lady toads…

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single toad in possession of a good pond, must be in want of a wife. Despite having been interested in, and looking out for, frogs and toads since a young age, I’d never actually seen a male Anuran calling; whilst walking in a park in Oakville, I found this enthusiastic chap parked on the edge of…

Black Bear, Bear, Ursus americanus

You don’t get this stuff at home

This sighting was one of the highlights of my time thus far in Canada; whilst exploring a path from a rather splendid B&B (Shambhala, in Buckhorn), I found this bear just strolling towards me. After contemplating me for a few moments (and kindly refraining from eating me), it wandered off into the bushes; just enough time to get a few photographs. I love the…