Category Archives: READERS IMAGES

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Information on Dragonflies,Oiling of eggs Hamilton

Information on Dragonflies Hamilton

Thursday July 12 2012

Dragon Flies so colourful

Wildlife This year at Harbour-front Trail, Cootes Paradise and the great lakes are few and far between.The lack of snow-pack , Spring rains has left the water level three feet less than last year, therefore less wildlife and fewer Images. Last year there was over 12 Signets born in Hamilton Harbour, this year due to the City of Hamilton Oiling Swan eggs and Canadian geese eggs there was only one signet born, all because they say the swans are causing e-Coli Bacteria and making it dangerous for people to swim in the water. I am against the oiling of eggs because the swans sit on the eggs for three Months without any offspring. People complain to the city that there is too much Canadian geese  droppings where they walk. The wildlife was here before us, please leave Mother Nature alone, Humans think they can control everything they come in contact with. Now look at the world we live in, nothing for children too be amazed and nothing to learn, It is like a Silent Spring-Shame- Shame

eight eggs and only one signet-city oils eggs Hamilton

Readers at pics4twitts send me images quite often, Lois McNaught also walks the Harbour-front trail  Daily and has the same observations as most regulars, “where have all the wildlife gone?”

Morning Hamilton Harbour

Doug Worrall

Information on dragonflies. Did you know that they eat mosquitoes, have over 20,000 eyes, have been the subject of an old wives tale, and have even been mistaken for fairies? Find out many more interesting fact…


Usually living near water, the dragonfly is one of earth’s creatures that are not only very useful, but also beautiful. They belong to thee insect group Odonata. Dragonflies come in varied colors; their bodies often blue, green, purple, and even bronze. Their wings seem to shimmer as if made of silver, especially when under the moonlight.

Dragon Fly

Starting out life as small nymphs underwater, they grow to be approximately three inches long, with a wingspan averaging two to five inches in width. While this may seem large for an insect, keep in mind that as they have evolved from pre-historic times, they have gotten considerably smaller. Evidence shows that at one point in time they may have had a wingspan of over two “˜feet’! One very interesting fact of the dragonfly is his six legs. Each of the legs is covered in short bristles. Using their bristle-covered legs to form an oval shaped basket allows them to scoop insects, such as mosquitoes, right out of the air. Dragonflies not only eat mosquitoes; they also keep the fly population and other flying insects under control.


Surprisingly, dragonflies will spend only a very short part of their life span as actual dragonflies. They will live as nymphs for up to four years, shedding their skin up to fifteen times, yet when they finally mature into adults, the dragonfly stage, they will survive only a few months.

Gray catbird

Dragonflies have fascinated modern man for years. They have become the basis of both legends and old wives tales. One such old wives tale refers to a dragonfly as a “˜darning needle’. An old legend tells of people who would wake up after falling asleep outside to find their ears and eyes sewn shut by these crafty insects. If dragonflies were seen swarming over a doorway, it was said to foretell of heavy rains on the way.

Mangrove Tree Nymph

For as long as man and dragonflies have coexisted, people have mistaken dragonflies for fairies. “˜Fairy tales’ have been told of little people fluttering about worldwide. Upon closer inspection, the fairies are found to be groups of dragonflies.

Painted Lady Butterfly on Coneflower
Painted butterfly.

Facts about Dragonflies

Question Mark Butterfly


How fast can dragonflies fly? In excess of sixty miles and hour!

How many eyes does a dragonfly have? They have two main eyes, but each of these eyes are made up of approximately 20,000 to 25,000 tinier eyes, allowing them to zero in on the flying insects that are their daily meals.

Post and image Doug Worrall

Doug Worrall

Photos by Lois McNaught

Bird Watching Hamilton Harbour

Bird Watching Hamilton Harbour

Tuesday January 2012

Broad Winged hawk

Broad Winged Hawk

A small, stocky, forest-dwelling hawk of eastern deciduous forests, the Broad-winged Hawk is hard to see on its nesting grounds. It becomes more conspicuous on migration when it congregates into flocks and passes by hawk migration lookouts in the thousands.


Blue Jays

Blue Jay

This common, large songbird is familiar to many people, with its perky crest; blue, white, and black plumage; and noisy calls. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period.

Chipping or Song Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

A rich, russet-and-gray bird with bold streaks down its white chest, the Song Sparrow is one of the most familiar North American sparrows. Don’t let the bewildering variety of regional differences this bird shows across North America deter you: it’s one of the first species you should suspect if you see a streaky sparrow in an open, shrubby, or wet area. If it perches on a low shrub, leans back, and sings a stuttering, clattering song, so much the better.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

The active little Downy Woodpecker is a familiar sight at backyard feeders and in parks and woodlots, where it joins flocks of chickadees and nuthatches, barely outsizing them. An often acrobatic forager, this black-and-white woodpecker is at home on tiny branches or balancing on slender plant galls, sycamore seed balls, and suet feeders. Downies and their larger lookalike, the Hairy Woodpecker, are one of the first identification challenges that beginning bird watchers master.

The Female Northern Cardinal 

Female Northern Cardinal


The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird. They’re a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.

Black-crowned Night Herons

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Herons are small stocky, short-legged compared to other herons. They are handsomely attired in a tri-colour plumage of black, grey and white, with two long plumes on the nape.


Northern Cardinal

Nothern Cardinal

Song: Both sexes sing clear, slurred whistled phrases that are cabulary of several phrase types which it combines into different songs. One common song pattern sounds like purdy purdy purdy… whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit. Another resembles what-cheer, what-cheer … wheet, wheet, wheet, wheet.

Call: The common call is a metallic chip, given as a contact call and in situations of alarm.

 Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Male)

An intense bundle of energy at your feeder, Red-breasted Nuthatches are tiny, active birds of north woods and western mountains. These long-billed, short-tailed songbirds travel through tree canopies with chickadees, kinglets, and woodpeckers but stick to tree trunks and branches, where they search bark furrows for hidden insects. Their excitable yank-yank calls sound like tiny tin horns being honked in the treetops.


Information: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Wikipedia


Photographer Lois Mcnaught


New Section- Readers Images begins today

New Section- Readers Images begins today

Thursday November 24

Hello ,

As Site coordinator I am pleased to add this new section for the images that readers sent-in.

Steve Loker and Lois Mcnaught will be the major players in this field, all are  welcome. Please send images to

Thank you

Doug Worrall

Steve Loker shares a couple today :




Lois McNaught shares her latest images

Mangrove Tree Nymph Butterfly

This species was thought to have gone extinct from Singapore. Already a very rare butterfly even in Malaysia, Idea leuconoe chersonesia is a seashore species known to only make its appearance deep in mangrove swamp vegetation. Although there were several unconfirmed reports of its sighting at Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong in the late 80’s, no confirmed observation of its existence was obtained until recently, where this photograph of the species was taken with a digital camera. It was indeed a pleasant surprise to record the existence of Idea leuconoe chersonesia in Singapore.

The Fragile Forest at the Singapore Zoological Gardens in Mandai features a different subspecies of this butterfly – Idea leuconoe clara, which originates from Taiwan. The Taiwanese subspecies has been successfully bred by the Singapore Zoo and is rather common at the Fragile Forest enclosure. However, it is not endemic to Singapore/Malaysia and is different in appearance from the rare local subspecies chersonesia.



Zebra Finch

Many animal species communicate vocally, but most use hardwired, innately determined sounds. Songbirds are among the few animals that learn their communication sounds, as humans do, and songbirds are easier to study in the laboratory than other vocal learning species. Just like human infants, young songbirds must hear a tutor during a sensitive period in development and engage in extensive vocal practice that requires auditory feedback and gradually transforms simple sounds into copies of the model. Neuroanatomical studies have shown that song learning and production are controlled by a specialized set of interconnected brain structures highly developed only in species that learn their songs, such as the zebra finch. Among songbirds, the zebra finch is the dominant laboratory model system used to study the vocal imitation process, and a large literature describes the neural bases of song learning in this species. Zebra finches breed well in captivity and sing all year round. Their song is relatively simple and highly stereotyped once learned. Young zebra finches reach adulthood in ~3 months, enabling us to study the whole song development process in a short period of time.

There are many parallels between human and songbird vocal learning. In each case, the youngster must 1) select the conspecific signals to be imitated from a complex acoustic environment (a process that is enhanced by social interaction with the tutor); 2) remember those sounds as a reference to be compared to its own vocal attempts; and 3) make simple vocal sounds that are successively refined, differentiated, and sequenced through a feedback process until they match the tutor’s song or speech. Thus, although birdsong does not have the semantic and syntactic complexity of language, shared principles seem to govern both song and speech learning. Despite neuroanatomical differences between the avian and human brains, we believe that, at the circuit level, similar computational operations must underlie this form of sensorimotor learning.

Understanding vocal learning is important because it may yield insights into brain mechanisms of developmental learning, including human speech acquisition. In addition, by studying the dynamic relationship between multiple levels of motor control, these studies address how hierarchically organized circuits contribute to the production of complex motor behaviors. Song development provides an opportunity to examine how complex behavioral patterns emerge and evolve during development. Although the phenomenology of vocal learning in songbirds and its anatomical substrate have been described, there exist no electrophysiological studies of vocal production in juvenile birds during song learning; thus we know very little about the physiological mechanisms that enable sounds heard by the bird to sculpt its vocal output so exquisitely.


Ceanothus Silkmoth (Sequoia)


Latin nameHyalophora euryalis (Walker)
English name: Ceanothus silk moth
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae

Informations on distribution
This species occurs throughout southern British Columbia; it also occurs south to California.

Damage, symptoms and biology
The ceanothus silk moth is a relatively uncommon innocuous solitary defoliator.

Mature larva up to 90 mm long. Head, green with with two black spots on vertices (not prepupal larva). Body yellowish green (penultimate instar), bluish green (final instar) to bluish (prepupal); subdorsal row of orange to red tubercles each tipped with black spines; supra- and subspiracular rows of blue tubercles each tipped with black spines.

This species overwinters as a pupa in a sac-like cocoon attached to a twig. Adults emerge May to June and lay 250-350 eggs either singly or in small groups on host foliage. Larvae are present June to August and pupation occurs in August.


Photographers Lois Mcnaught-Steve Loker