Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A wildlife week-end

It’s interesting how things happen. On Saturday I went with a friend to the nature park in Ile Bizard and being November I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of wildlife to see but maybe a Muskrat or Beaver and possibly the Owl that is often sighted in the woods.

Well, I strolled the boardwalk for any sightings and my friend went off on another trail for a power-walk. At one point she came hurrying back to tell me that a Woodpecker was in full view and would make a good photo opportunity. I followed her but unfortunately only saw it as it flew further into the woods. I recognized it as a Pileated Woodpecker – quite the handsome bird! Well, no Owl and no Woodpecker photos for me but … just as I paused to photograph a mossy log on my way back to the boardwalk, I saw something I have never, ever seen in my life – a Salamander!!

I knew they existed and I also knew that one had to search carefully in wet areas under rocks and leaf litter to find them so I relegated that to a “probably won’t ever happen” category of life events. But this little guy was right out in the open and very nearly under my foot! Luckily I saw him in time and I think I stood for several seconds unable to believe my eyes. (I am sure you have noticed by now that these types of sightings get me very excited : -)).

So, to reiterate: no Owl, no Woodpecker but a Salamander on Saturday. By the way, this is a Blue-spotted Salamander.

Well, on Sunday I went to Mount Royal and while passing a large evergreen tree I noticed that a Crow flew around it once with a loud “caw” and then left. It made me wonder if something was in that tree. So I walked up to the tree’s trunk and looked straight up. I didn’t see anything until suddenly I noticed movement and there was a Long-eared Owl staring down at me! Yay! – an Owl – and a new species to add to my list to boot!!

A little while later I heard a “knock – knock” on a tree and there to my astonishment was a Pileated Woodpecker!

It’s almost as though the Owl and the Woodpecker were deferred to the next day so that the Salamander could have my full attention on the Saturday.

Then just to add icing to the cake, I spied this lovely and unusually marked Squirrel. Its coat was a soft blend of white and gray and he posed quite nicely against the fall foliage.

Not at all bad for a week-end in November - a time when one feels Nature is entering its dormant stage.


  1. These are incredible Doris, especially the owl. I suspect there will be a coffee-table book full of your pictures before long at Chapters.


  2. Wonderful!! How exciting to see the owl seeing you!

  3. Love the owl.

    When I first moved to Toronto from Montreal way back when, I was surprised that the squirrels were black and not gray. Apparently, however, it's the same species(or whatever the right word is).

  4. Just reading what Georges said. You could easily publish a book through Blurb or a similar site.

  5. What a great weekend you had! I can't believe how clear the owl photos are as I expected the owl to be in shadow deep within the tree. Any news on that coffee table book?

  6. Lucky you seeing, and photographing, such wonderful wildlife!
    I find owls fascinating but it's been years since I last saw one in the wild.
    Flighty xx

  7. Thanks everyone for all your encouragement.
    AC, I will look into "Blurb". I have already published small books through Astral and Photo-In-Press but I am always interested in new companies.
    Didee, the second owl photo was done with a flash just for that reason (the owl was in shadows deep within the tree).