Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Rare Sighting Of A Peacock

This posting is for my faithful fellow blogger, Flighty.  In his blog (https://flightplot.wordpress.com), he has occasionally mentioned the Peacock Butterfly.  In fact, his photograph of one made me familiar with its beautiful wing markings and made me wish that I would some day see one.  This was very unlikely because it is a European butterfly and, as far as I knew, was not to be found in North America.

Well ...

In late July I was strolling through the Montreal Botanical Gardens looking for anything to photograph and I came to a bush with lovely purple flowers with butterflies fluttering in large numbers all over it!  I saw Painted Lady butterflies and Red Admiral butterflies and then I noticed something unusual. I went in close and saw to my astonishment, the butterfly that Flighty has blogged about! It was gorgeous.  

In getting photographs I stalked this poor creature to the point that it finally perched high up in a tree and I'm sure it was giving me a stern butterfly glare!

After doing some reading on-line I have since found out that an individual Peacock butterfly was first recorded in the Montreal area in 1997 and, in the twenty years hence, less than two dozen have been recorded in eastern Canada.

Here is an interesting article: http://m.espacepourlavie.ca/blogue/en/a-european-butterfly-quebec

Thank you Flighty for introducing me to this beautiful butterfly and thus making my sighting all the more exciting!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I found my heart!

If you recall, I wrote a post in April of last year in which I mourned the loss of a heart-shaped stone which my Dad had given me several years ago:  http://dorispotter.blogspot.ca/2016/04/losing-my-heart.html

Well, I am very happy to say that I have found it! It was in my purse all this time (but deep within a zippered pocket).  I really don't know how I didn't find it when I was searching everywhere - including my purse (where I had originally put it)!

The unusual thing is that I had had a very interesting conversation with an artist/photographer earlier that day and she is known for "seeing" hearts in nature (for example, the way tree branches arc together).  

In fact, she showed me a beautiful image she captured of her reflection in a heart-shaped puddle and a series of photographs of a candle flame in which there is a clear image of a red heart at the center of the flame.  That very night I happened to go to my purse to retrieve earrings I had put in the pocket and lo and behold pulled out my precious stone heart!

I am thrilled to feel its cool, smooth surface again.  :-)

Saturday, August 12, 2017


On my way for breakfast this morning, I came across several writings on the sidewalks and intersections in my neighbourhood that touched me. 

In a two block area, someone named Flakito poured out his heart to someone named Lucille (a.k.a. Blue, a.k.a. Boo Boo) asking for forgiveness.

Some of the words had letters that seemed to fall off the edge of the sidewalks, one ("Do I still ...") was left unfinished, some were poetic, all were passionate and one was profane. 

Although I don't know the order in which they were written, I have given them an order here. The ones that might not be legible have captions.


I had a rainbow but I was color blind

I miss you Boo Boo (heart)

One Last Chance Lucille - Flakito

Hold your Hand One Last time on this walkway

Do I still

Blue and Flakito through Life

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rare and Unusual Bird Sightings

This winter has been exciting with several sightings of interesting birds.  Most were sighted in the Ile St-Bernard Nature Park (south of Montreal) and one rarity was found on Mount Royal (smack in the middle of Montreal)!

From what I have read, the Townsend's Solitaire is a western bird which rarely travels east of Manitoba. However it has been found on Mount Royal for a number of years now and I was very lucky to find it recently.  It is an active bird which helped to make it quite obvious to me and I managed a quick shot.

Townsend's Solitaire, Myadestes townsendi

There was great excitement for a few weeks as up to four Great Gray Owls spent some time at Ile St-Bernard.

Great Gray Owl, Strix nebulosa

The following birds were also found at Ile St-Bernard.  This is at the northern part of their range.  Many birds are expanding their ranges northward and will probably become more and more common.

Tufted Titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus

Carolina Wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus

Friday, January 13, 2017

Leonard Cohen - revisited

My previous post was illustrated with photographs of Leonard Cohen's house taken on November 25, 2016.  I revisited his house three days later and again on January 6, 2017 and would like to share more photos taken on those two occasions.  As you will see, many more flowers and oranges were left at the house.

Also, I want to mention a wonderful Christmas gift that I received from my thoughtful and generous sister, Diane.  The photograph above is of this gift which is her painting of Cohen superimposed with many of the words of my favourite song of his, "Alexandra Leaving".  

She painstakingly searched for a still image from one of his videos and then took on the arduous and time-consuming process of painting the image and merging it with the text.  I am so touched by the thoughtfulness of this gift and so awed by the final result.

I left a small copy of this painting within a gazebo in the park opposite his house where the tributes have been moved. 


This last photograph is of a tiny, clinging vine on the bricks of his house.  I'm sure there is a metaphor here and were I to have the talent of Leonard Cohen, maybe I could write a poem about it.  Perhaps it would deal with the tenacity and subtle beauty of this little hardy plant as it spreads itself in space and time. I think many of these qualities exist in Cohen's works.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Leonard Cohen - Thank you

Leonard Cohen died on November 7, 2016.

Leonard Cohen lived on poetry, music and love …

I had the privilege to see him in a live performance here in Montreal (his home town) almost four years ago to the day.  There was thunderous applause when he sang his amazing song “Hallellujah” and added a word as shown below:

“I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come home to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.”

I am consistently moved by Leonard Cohen’s songs more than any other poet/singer.  His music evokes emotions of love and longing but also joy.  

As a Montrealer, I am privileged to be able to easily go to his house and his gravesite.  I visited these two places recently and took these photographs.

“And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China …” lyrics from “Suzanne”

"Hineni" is said to mean "Here I am" 
and is repeated in his song "You Want It Darker".

A beautiful rose in the fog and cold.

Thank you dear Leonard for your generosity in sharing your gift with all of us.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Grasshopper laying eggs

While I was walking along a trail in a local nature park I found a grasshopper that wouldn't move even as I crouched down to look at it.  When I examined it very closely, I noticed that its back end was inserted into the soil.  I wondered whether it was laying eggs, so while standing watching it, I took out my phone and Googled "how does a grasshopper lay eggs".  It was then that I realized she was doing just that!

Since she was out in the open and very vulnerable, I stood by her to stop two young girls who were running up and down the trail from inadvertently stepping on her.  I didn't realize that it would take 35 minutes for her to finish the job!

Here is my half minute video:
 Grasshopper laying eggs

Wikipedia has the following description of a grasshopper's life cycle:

Grasshoppers lay their eggs in pods in the ground near food plants, generally in the summer. The eggs in the pod are glued together with a froth in some species. After a few weeks of development, the eggs of most species go into diapause, and pass the winter in this state; in a few species the eggs hatch in the same summer they were laid. Diapause is broken by a sufficiently low ground temperature; development resumes as soon as the ground warms above a threshold temperature. The embryos in a pod generally all hatch out within a few minutes of each other. They soon shed their membranes and their exoskeletons harden. These first instar nymphs can then jump away from predators.

Grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis: they repeatedly moult (undergo ecdysis), becoming larger and more like an adult, with for instance larger wing-buds, in each instar. The number of instars varies between species. At the final moult, the wings are inflated and become fully functional. The migratory grasshopper, Melanoplus sanguinipes, spends about 25–30 days as a nymph depending on sex and temperature, and about 51 days as an adult.

Males stridulate, rapidly rasping the hind femur against the forewing to create a churring sound, to attract mates. Females select suitable egg-laying sites, such as bare soil or near the roots of food plants according to species. Males often gather around an ovipositing female; in some species she is mated as soon as she takes her ovipositor out of the ground. After laying the eggs, the female covers the hole with soil and litter.