Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Axanthic Northern Leopard Frog

Recently when walking along a trail near a river, I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful leopard frog!  There are dozens of these frogs that nerve-wrackingly leap across the path but I immediately knew that this one was special. (You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it).

After doing some research, I discovered that there are various species of frogs which can have blue colored skin.  They are called "axanthic" and this frog is "partially axanthic". Frog skin has two pigments, yellow and blue, which make the green color normally seen.  In axanthic frogs the yellow is missing revealing the blue. Interestingly, in this animal, the pigmentation is not uniform so only blue patches appear.

My first thought when seeing him was that he looked like a FabergĂ© frog or a CloisonnĂ© frog ornament.  If you Google these things you will see the resemblance.

For comparison, here is a photo of a more normally colored Northern Leopard Frog.

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Great Blue and a Great White

On a recent trip to a nearby marsh I suddenly spotted a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret (sometimes referred to as a Great White Egret) standing in a tree together. 

Their close proximity and almost identical pose struck me, as did the fact that they stood side by side for several minutes.  Then, at the identical moment, they took off and flew in unison across the marsh to another shared tree.  

I felt they shared a kinship greater than that determined by their genetics ... perhaps a friendship. 

Perhaps I am being fanciful ...

Friday, July 20, 2018


This photograph of the beautiful eyes of my cat Darcy was taken 10 years ago.  I had to say goodbye to that lovely face yesterday.  We were together for seventeen precious years.  In the last few years he was diagnosed with kidney disease and I realized that in these last few days it had reached a stage whereby his quality of life was diminishing rapidly.

I am always worried about the timing of euthanasia being too early or too late.  I would rather err on the side of too early.  I know Darcy could have lived another few weeks but I could see a change in his expression and his body was losing weight rapidly and weakness was setting in.  

A few words about this handsome cat...

Darcy came into my home as a kitten rescued from the outdoors along with his two sisters.  The sisters were adopted out but Darcy was not, so he became my cat.  

He was a fellow of strong emotions - he loved and he hated.  

His big love was for one of my other cats - a beautiful, gentle tabby named Sweet-Young and he cuddled with her every chance he got.  You could almost see the love in his eyes.

His "play-fighting" mate was Cricket and they had "fierce" wrestling matches (that he usually lost to the smaller Cricket)!  He also would cuddle up to her on occasion as shown in a photo below.  

His hatred was saved for Willow and I don't know where it came from but it necessitated a constant separation of the two.  It was his only fault. :-) 

I would like to try to show the beauty of Darcy in these few photos.  

Darcy with Cricket

Those amazing eyes again!

This is my last photograph of Darcy, taken nine days ago.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fire Rainbow

On June 10, 2018 near South Lancaster, Ontario in a conservation area called Cooper Marsh, my cousin Blain and I were treated to a rare and very beautiful atmospheric phenomenon called a fire rainbow.

After researching it on the Internet we learned that certain conditions need to be met for the formation of fire rainbows. 

These conditions are as follows:  the sun must be more than 58° above the horizon; cirrus clouds need to be present; and the hexagonal ice crystals in those clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.

Here is a picture that Blain took of me photographing the amazing sight!

The following shots are a selection of many that I took that day.  
(Note: colours have not been adjusted but the images have been slightly darkened to compensate for over-exposure).

I have made two other blog postings of atmospheric phenomena (iridescent clouds and ice halos).  They can be found by clicking on the following links:

Friday, June 1, 2018

To Everything, Tern, Tern, Tern ...

The Common Tern

Rather than write about these amazing, sleek birds,
 I will simply show you their aerobatics in the following images:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Leucism in Animals

I've come across some interesting creatures while out with my camera!  

In the process I have learned of a term called "leucism".  Wikipedia describes it as follows: "Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.  Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin."

More about leucistic birds can be learned at this site:

Here are my photos of birds (with a couple of mammals thrown in at the end).

American Robin

Canada Goose

Slate-coloured Junco

Gray Squirrel


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Some interesting photographs!

I was looking over many of my photos recently and came across some that I thought I would share here.  They illustrate interesting phenomena and are not photo-shopped!

A few years back I was visiting Toronto for a four day stay and went to a particular park each day to see what I could find to photograph.  The weather turned extremely hot and humid. I was struck by the beautiful evergreens in the park and photographed a tree on my first and last days there.  I was astonished to see the change in the needles that the humidity created!

Another interesting shot was of a Focolvert Duck which is remarkable in that it constructs a very large conical shaped nest (as seen below) and, as an evolutionary co-development, the eggs of this duck are "square" shaped to prevent them from rolling down the sides of the nest and into the pond.

Now this next one was very disturbing!  I found a Red Squirrel the other day that was very excited about the sap dripping down a branch.  It got so excited in fact that it LOST ITS HEAD!

Well ... you may have guessed by now that this is an April Fools' Day posting!

To end on a sweet note, check out the following:

I call this picture

" Two little birds sitting in a tree, k--i--s--s--i--n--g!"