A blue-gray gnatcatcher perches on a branch next to the Grand River in Kitchener. These tiny birds have a huge range, from Central America to southern Ontario. The four I saw in a woodlot near the end of Ottawa street were smaller than the song sparrows that were harassing them.
A pair of paddlers make their way down the Grand River near Glen Morris. I hung out on a high bridge for about an hour, waiting for the thunderstorms Environment Canada promised. Possibly not the best place to be when there is lightning about, but the view of the river from high up combined with the oncoming thunderheads would be nice picture. At least it is in my head. The rain didn't come but, luckily, these two did.
There's a stretch of riverbank in Cambridge where plants are covered in Japanese beetles. I was walking through the area looking for something to shoot when I saw this section of flowering plants twitching from bugs making heavy landings. I thought I'd found myself close to a beehive and, not knowing where it was exactly, I decided to back away and avoid the stings.
That's when I noticed a group of beetles wrapped in a ball and hanging off an eaten leaf. A quick survey of the other plants showed more beetles and only a few bees.
I later learned that the beetles were probably mostly male, and had recently emerged from the soil where they spent the grub stage of their lives. They will wait around until a female lands near them and then they all do their best to be the lucky one who gets to mate with her. This process is called "balling." No, I'm not making that up.
This process continues until all the females have emerged from the soil.
I saw this fly fisherman in Cambridge but couldn't get a good angle from the side of the river I was on. I jumped in my car and drove around to the Blair side of the river and found a better look. There is an element of relection, which I've done a couple of times lately, but I liked the way things came together so I decided to go with it.
As I sit writing this post, thunder is rattling the heavens and rain is pelting the region with some long overdue precipitation... just kidding. It sure makes me thankful for the beautiful morning and afternoon I experienced on a stretch of the Grand River from Paris to the Brant Conservation Area in Brantford. This was all made possible thanks to Bob Fraser and the rest of the fine members of the Ancient Mariners Canoe Club. I was invited to join the club's Tuesday paddle to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Grand River Conservation Authority. Since starting over 20 years ago the club has had close ties to the GRCA and wanted to honour the relationship with a tribute paddle. I had a middle seat as Fraser and club member Merrily Walker guided our craft through rapids and around rocks as osprey soared overhead. Twenty-five other canoes with 55 people were part of this trip. One grandfather brought his two young grandsons along for their first canoe trip. The smiles on their faces said it all when I asked them if they enjoyed it. Thanks Ancient Mariners The Ancient Mariners I enjoyed it too.
I was heading for home after another fruitless search for a deer photo near the Grand. I had actually come across a young deer while walking through head high grass near Bridgeport. It must have been lying in the grass and popped up at the sound of something approaching it. I was a bit startled myself and for a moment we locked eyes and just stared. As soon as I started to raise my camera it was gone and all I could do was admire the stealth and grace with which it disappeared. On the way back to my car I came to an area where teasle was blooming. I noticed something moving and was ecstatic to see a ruby throated hummingbird flying from bloom to bloom. Eventually it landed in a tree branch and I was able to get this picture as it looked up. It has been rare for me to see hummingbirds in the wild. I am used to seeing them at a feeder drinking sugar water. So it was a treat to see this little bird actually gathering nectar. I found out later that this bird is an immature female.
Hamilton artist Alfie Smith belts out a tune as a kayaker floats by on the Grand River. Smith was one of the talented artists performing at the annual Mill Race Festival. Thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers, organizers and performers this free festival has become a must for local folk music fans. The picturesque surroundings of the mill race stage provide the added bonus of musical accompaniment. I photographed several acts here and noticed that during quiet times or pauses in the music the sound of the river is constant.