Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Rock Pile

Sometimes when wandering around the neighbourhood one can find oneself on the "wrong side of the tracks".  Such was the case recently when I came upon a bad-boy establishment known as "The Rock Pile", just next to those very tracks.

Local tough guys (introduced below) hang out there and this is an account of one afternoon in their company.

There are the two brothers, Dekay and Brownie who pretty much dominate the place - lounging about wherever they please.  Then there's Spider, a wannabe tough guy, who cozies up to Dekay every chance he gets.  Jumpy, Spider's cousin, is too afraid to get so close but sits on the outskirts watching the action.

While I observed the goings-on, Dekay made a sudden move which sent Spider (who had been at his side) bolting across The Rock Pile and running smack into Jumpy.  Jumpy, being … well … jumpy, panicked and likewise bolted.  Once the action all settled down, the various hangers-on came crawling out to enjoy a few vicarious thrills.  There was Beetle Boy (a derisive nickname bestowed by Dekay) who got his kicks by walking all over Dekay daring him to react; then there was Woolly Bear who liked to live on the edge; and finally Tiny whose biggest thrill was to get right up in Brownie's face!

The most memorable moment of all was when a stranger arrived on the scene.  Tall and lanky but with a fierce glare, he surveyed the place and looked for potential prey.  Dekay and Brownie were passed out at this point so there were no major skirmishes on that front but everyone else became fair game as the stranger (known as The Preyer) advanced slowly and methodically.  His attention became focused on a member of the Grasshopper Gang who frequented the place and I was transfixed by the unfolding drama.  I was expecting a rumble!

All of a sudden the whole place was subjected to a violent rumbling as the afternoon freight train passed and all the inhabitants scattered.  In a matter of seconds the place was deserted, the train was fading away in the distance, and I turned and walked away.

Just another afternoon among the denizens of The Rock Pile 

Cast of characters:

Dekay (Dekay's Brownsnake)

Brownie (Dekay's Brownsnake)

Spider (Ant-mimic Sac Spider)

Jumpy (Bold Jumper, jumping spider)

Beetle Boy (walking over Dekay)

Beetle Boy (close up)

Woolly Bear (living on the edge)

Tiny (right up in Brownie's face!)

The Preyer (Praying Mantis)

One fierce dude!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Interesting and Funny Sights in the Neighbourhood

During these serious times, it is important to find some humour where we can.  So here are some interesting sights that I have come across during my neighbourhood outings. (Captions are below each image).

A novel way to social distance. (Student on a college campus)

This is a fire hydrant just outside my apartment building on which someone put a Provigo (supermarket) shirt.  One dark evening, with no working streetlight, I mistook it for a kneeling person and talked to it.  It did not answer me ...

On the back of a parked car.  I love this!

I'm not sure what is the story of this little, forlorn looking guy.  He is sitting outside the doors of a closed day-care center.  He sat there overnight and was gone the next day when the center opened.

Now this was a surprise! Our weather has been unseasonably warm so this fellow was not the result of a freak snowstorm but was actually "snow" scraped off a local indoor hockey rink and dumped at the edge of a parking lot.  I have to confess that I was the one to give him eyes and a smile. :-)

Now here is a very strange creature that has been spotted prowling about!  You probably guessed that it is the blogger herself - all decked out in a ball cap to hide my gray roots, sunglasses to protect my eyes and a "raccoon" mask to protect from COVID-19!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Dragonflies in the Neighbourhood

 I have been astonished by the variety of dragonfly species inhabiting a fairly small tract of land here in St-Laurent, Quebec.  I present them here with their common and scientific names:

Female or immature male Dot-tailed Whiteface, leucorrhinia intacta

Belted Whiteface, leucorrhinia proxima

Immature male Twelve-spotted Skimmer, libellula pulchella

Female Twelve-spotted Skimmer, libellula pulchella

Male Twelve-spotted Skimmer, libellula pulchella

Immature male Common Whitetail, plathemis lydia

Male Common Whitetail, plathemis lydia

Four-spotted Skimmer, libellula quadrimaculata

White-faced Meadowhawk, sympetrum obtrusum

Immature male or adult female Widow Skimmer, libellula luctuosa

Lance-tipped Darner, aeshna constricta

Canada Darner, aeshna canadensis - mating

Wandering Glider, pantala flavescens

Wandering Glider, pantala flavescens

Male Elusive Clubtail, stylurus notatus

Female Elusive Clubtail, stylurus notatus

Spot-winged Glider, pantala hymenaea

Ruby Meadowhawk, sympetrum rubicundulum

Immature Common Green Darner, anax junius

Female Swift River Cruiser, macromia illinoiensis

Male Swift River Cruiser, macromia illinoiensis

This last dragonfly inspired me to write the following verse:


With emerald eyes
they scan the skies
And as they rise
I realize
with no surprise
what this implies - 
they're dragonflies!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Even More Moths in the Neighbourhood

I have found several new moths since my last "moth" post.  

I was very happy to find a Primrose Moth as, although I have seen these before, this was the first time I was able to see and photograph its funny little face. :-)

Here are three views of the beautiful Primrose Moth (schinia florida):

And here are some more lovely moths:

Salt-and-pepper Looper Moth, syngrapha rectangula

A type of Engrailed moth

Briseis Underwing Moth, catocala briseis

White Underwing, catocala relicta 

Possible Once-married Underwing, catocala unijuga

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Four Young Hawks - final post

As I've been photographing the young hawks and they have become more independent, I don't always see all four of them together.  On Saturday (August 1st), however, I was lucky enough to find them together at the same time, allowing me to get a shot of each separate individual.  

So I thought I would post a July 8th nestling shot (all four in the nest) and then their individual portraits as young adults.  I feel like a parent documenting the "graduation" of my children!  And I will now deal with the "empty nest" syndrome (literally) ...