Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Objects that appear to be faces

Chrysalises of predatory Harvester Butterflies.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Woke up to a big dump of wet, heavy, sticky snow this morning. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Don't mess with me.

Black Bear territorial markings on trunk of White Birch tree.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I am so not ready for this!

Even tho' I kinda look forward to winter when there are fewer distractions to keep me from my image editing pleasures, I can get along without even the lightest snowfall in October.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another View

Saints Peter and Paul Ukranian Catholic Church, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BRrrrrrrrrrr - and lottsa Juncos

The frost is on the punkin this morning here in Lanark Co. -2C. But some good news as well.

Large flock of Juncos back of the house yesterday, cleaning up the scratch grain I threw out there, hoping to see a White-Crowned Sparrow this fall. No sparrow but there must have been 30/40 Juncos which is really a lot, and early.

I do hope they stick around. Not too likely, however.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Portrait/Wedding photo service for NCRegion

My new business is now up and running.

(The studio is still a-building, looking at early November for that opening.) Please have a look:

The Almonte Photographer

Monday, October 4, 2010

An interesting structure.

Saints Peter and Paul Ukranian Catholic Church, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. September, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Co-operation of Thieves

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

From The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

Photo courtesy of Allen Russell

Early on a bitter morning in winter I sit in the window of a room high up in the Yellowknife Inn, coffee in hand, taking in the scene below. Stark and frigid, and the paleness of the low Arctic sun offers no comfort to the scene.

From a house down the road appears a person, huddled in a dark parka, bearing a bowl. From a kennel in the yard emerges a sled dog, large and furry. The bowl placed on the ground, the person returns inside. Dog begins breakfast.

Now from down the way emerge two large black ravens to land on the ground some little distance from dog. Dog eyes them warily, begins eating faster.

Does he know what is about to occur?

One raven approaches the bowl. Dog lunges to the end of a heavy chain. Raven lifts as a feather, carefully just out of dog’s reach.

Raven two dashes to the bowl, gulps a beak of food.

Dog lunges. Raven two lifts.

Raven one darts to the bowl, gulps a beak of food.

Dog lunges. Raven lifts.

Raven two dashes to the bowl.

The scenario continues. Ravens eat. Dog lunges.

The telephone rings. The meeting is beginning.

I wonder to this day if the final sharing of the food was equitable.

Allen Russell photographs what he knows best, "Life in the American West".

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still Growing Strong

Day 5 - growing larger.

Then, there's another hiding down in the bushes . . .

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The biggest puffball mushroom in the world

That's what I'm gonna have in a few days - right outside the kitchen window. It's only three days old now.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

170 dead frogs per mile

We had a good shower here Friday evening - a guarantee to bring the frogs out. Saturday morning my wife and I went for a power walk. I counted 19 dead frogs in 200 yards along the gravel road in front of our home.

They were of a size - small - and all seemed to be young Green Frogs (Rana clamitans melanota). Precise identification was difficult, given the poor condition of the remains.

Most years we have good numbers of these guys - the adults are calling now, July 11, in the beaver pond behind the house

Some years they almost disappear from the pond. There are many ideas why this happens, including pollution and acid rain. I believe it's a function of how many otters we have living in the pond. Following a year when I see evidence of an otter family in the pond, the Green Frogs seem to be very scarce indeed.

These are colourful, large animals, second in size only to the Bullfrogs around here.

I have some fine stock photos of Green Frogs (and other species) available in my on line photo catalogue.

John T. Fowler

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How Quickly They Grow!

Day 1. Freshly hatched American Robins.

I discovered this year, by chance, a robin’s nest, just at eye level, in a lilac bush at the edge of my lawn.

The nest was quite exposed (not a very smart robin?) I was able, then, to catch the development of the young birds and photograph them without disturbing them in any way - other than a little psychological trauma to mother robin.

Day 3. Growing already.

I photographed the nest only briefly every other day to keep disturbance to a minimum, and kept careful watch over it all the time, to protect it from the marauding red squirrels who like nothing better than a feast of young songbird nestlings.

Day 5. Looking like robins already.

There was one close call but I happened to be nearby when the parent birds put up a ruckus to wake the dead, so I was able to drive the squirrel off (little gratitude received, btway.)

Day 7.

The rate of growth of the young birds was nothing short of phenomenal!
On the tenth day after hatching they were fully fledged and left the nest.
I was very happy to be able to photograph this development (using my new 300mm Nikon telephoto part of the time to keep a good distance from the nest).

Day 9. Not much room in the Inn now.

Day 11. Hello world. Are you ready?

A full set of the images are now available for downloading from my on line stock picture catalogue.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spring Flowers in Abundance

I'm really enjoying the spring flower profusion this year, both because of the early spring weather and the pleasure of using my new top-of-the-line Nikon SLR. Here are a few examples:

Wild Strawberry


Bleeding Heart

Barren Strawberry

These images, and many other wildflower photos, are available for viewing and downloading at my on line stock photo catalogue.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Back Of The House Photos

The wildflowers are enjoying our early spring and bloom in profusion. It seems the "early" part is over now, though and things are slowing down to a more normal rate of progression.

The Starflowers are especially abundant.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ad infinitum

"So nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum."

Jonathan Swift

About parasites, saprophytes, epiphytes
and other living things.

This newsletter is to introduce some of my favourite images of interesting animals and plants, and the ways they succeed in the natural world. All these images and more, of course, are available from my on-line image catalogue (click here), where 600 pixel files can be downloaded at no charge for review and comping, where 50 meg files can be purchased with payment via Paypal, or ordered for delivery with payment later via invoice.

I hope you enjoy looking at and learning a little about these interesting natural phenomena.

An ichneuman wasp, Trogus pennator, emerging from the chrysalis of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio polyxenes. An adult wasp deposited an egg on the butterfly larva. The wasp egg hatched after the butterfly larva pupated, then consumed the butterfly larva, reached maturity and changed to an adult wasp to emerge from the chrysalis shell. Note emergence hole at upper left.

Indian Pipe, Monotropa Uniflora - the Ghost Plant. A parasitic herbaceous perrenial without chlorophyll, hosted by certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.

Earthworms and millipedes are detritivores.

Saprophyte is a botanical term now considered obsolete. Plants that were once known as saprophytes, such as non-photosynthetic orchids, are now known to be parasites on fungi.

Saprophages or detritivores obtain nutrients by consuming detritus and are important to many ecosystems. Saprophages include earthworms, millipedes, wood lice and other small animals.

This large African Millipede, Archispirostreptus gigus, is infested with mites (not identified).

This House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata, is neither parasite nor detritivore, but an insectivore. It kills and eats arthopods - insects and spiders.

A dragonfly, Sympetrum sp., very heavily parasitised with water mites. a common affliction of dragonflies. One wonders how an animal in such condition can survive.

A heavily parasitised Sphingid Moth (Hawkmoth) larva and, below, an inchworm (Geometrid moth) Phigulea titea.

The larvae of many flies, beetles and mites live on and in the foliage of many plants and trees, sometimes between the very surface layers of leaves like this Burr Oak.

I very much enjoy photographing interesting things in the natural world and will be working diligently to add to my image files now that a new growing season is upon us. If there is something special you need, or have been trying to find without success, please let me know via email. I'll try my best to find it or shoot it for you at regular stock photo rates.

Thank you for taking time to read this newsletter. Please be assured that any request for imagery will receive my best efforts to help you find what you need.

PS. For a visual index of my complete on line catalogue, organized into 28 gallery collections by subject matter,
click here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is Getting Closer!

The surest sign of approaching spring in Lanark County where I live is the great clouds of steam rising from the sugar shacks.

They started a few days ago.

The sap is running, the tapping is done and the golden amber first-run syrup (the best of the crop) is coming out of the evaporators.

This is a highly mechanized, stainless steel industry now. Far from the old days of large iron stoves containing great piles of flaming wood.

I’ll be following the process this spring at my neighbour’s operation, the Fortune Farm. I’ll be documenting the process step by step, and will be posting fresh images to my website here regularly.

Please check in here from time to time?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Now On Facebook

I've started a page on Facebook - devoted mostly to promoting my commercial/corporate photography. You can see it here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is That A Taser In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

If it's a taser you'd better take it out, because static electricity could give you a shock.

That's what the Winnipeg police are warning - if you should find the missing taser part thay lost. (Police tend to lose things from time to time - it's happened before they say.)

The lost cartridge can't be fired, but if you put it in your pocket, lookout!

50,000V. Yikes!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy New Year! Again!

Baseball spring training begins today. First official workout Monday.

Click here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wild Turkeys At The Kitchen Window

200f/4 Nikkor Macro

Click Here for My On Line Stock Photo Catalogue

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Promise Of Spring

Every year about this time I notice a dramatic lengthening in the day, morning and evening both, and then announce my joy at the promise that brings.

Today is such a day. Reading my paper in bed and watching the dawn break over a crystal clear sky, here was well more than two hours of bright light on the snow before the first rays of the sun appeared at 8 am.


Just to keep things in perspective, however, the current temperature is -35C (15 below) and there's enough breeze to produce a wind chill of of about -40.

Spring will be a while yet. Put some more wood in the furnace and start the oatmeal cooking!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


It won’t be long before we begin watching for the return of our summer birds.

Robins, redwings, bluebirds. And ducks.

You may be surprised to learn that an important place to watch for wood ducks in spring is in your furnace.

It is also important that you do watch there, ‘cause it’s a very dry, dusty place, unhealthy for a duck.

Wood ducks are hole-nesters. Which means they nest in holes in old dead trees - and in the many nesting boxes that sportsmen’s clubs and naturalist associations erect for the ducks to use. Surprisingly, these nesting spots don’t have to be close to water.

A prospective mother wood duck can be quite creative when searching for a new home. She wants a deep, dark hole, where she and her nest can be protected from marauding crows, blackbirds, raccoons and other predators looking for an easy lunch.

Chimneys can be quite attractive to female wood ducks. At least, mine seems to be.

On two occasions I’ve had to retrieve these ducks from my furnace and release them back to the wilds.

I live in the Wolf Grove of Lanark County in eastern Ontario. It’s a large, rough area of limestone ridges, dense mixed forest and many beaver ponds. Ideal wood duck nesting country.

I found the first wood duck in my furnace quite by accident. In our passive-solar efficient house we no longer need to use the wood furnace for heat by early spring. But on a couple of occasions a couple of days apart I heard metallic noises from the furnace room. I put it down to my two cats, who liked to clamber around on the air ducts in search of adventure.

Then, one morning, I was passing the furnace door and heard the sound again. I knew both cats were outside and couldn’t imagine what the sound might be. Soon I heard it again, coming from inside the firebox.

On opening the door I found one very dry and dusty female wood duck. How long she had been there I have no idea, but I had no difficulty catching her and releasing her outside. She seemed strong enough, able to fly well, and headed directly down my long driveway and into the woods.

I passed the experience off as unusual and thought no more about it. For a couple of years.

Then, one late March morning, I heard that metallic noise again. I knew it wasn’t cats, because my allergist had some time earlier directed me to find other good homes for them.

“Surely not another wood duck,” I thought and headed for the firebox door.

Wrong again. There was a second would-be-mother wood duck, equally dusty and disoriented, but certainly not as dry as the first one. This one was able to get out of the firebox, and we had an energetic game of tag through a large cloud of wood ashes before I finally pinned her in a corner of the wood pile by using my butterfly net.

She also flew strongly down the driveway and out of sight into the woods.

I’ve often wondered if it was the same bird. I even thought of applying for a federal bird-banding licence, just in case she came back again. In the end, I decided a screen over the chimney was simpler, and I haven’t had any wood ducks in my furnace since.

But if you use a wood furnace and don’t have your chimney screened, I suggest you watch your furnace for wood ducks as spring arrives.

The maternal instinct leads us all into some strange adventures - even for wood ducks.

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