Damselflies in New Places

Violet Dancer

Violet Dancer

Damselflies are small odonates related to dragonflies, but belong to Order Zygoptera instead of Order Anisoptera. Unlike dragonflies, damselflies have very slender abdomens, and the forewing and hindwing are similar size and shape. Two of the three families found in eastern North America – the broad-winged damsels and pond damsels – hold their wings above the body, parallel to the abdomen, while perching. The third family – the spreadwings – do not perch horizontally with their wings parallel to the body, but typically “hang” from a perch, with the wings slightly spread at an angle. Adult damselflies are not strong fliers, and generally do not travel far from water. They are most often found in vegetation or on the ground near ponds, streams, and other bodies of water. Because of their small size they can be difficult to see, but the dark wings of the jewelwings and brightly coloured abdomens of some of the pond damsels help aid in observation.

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In Memory of Jango (2002-2020)

Jango, 2014

I really didn’t want to write another memorial this year. It has only been eight months since we had to put our beloved Phaedra to sleep, and even though we knew Jango was declining as well, he seemed to be doing as well as an 18-year-old cat with stage 3 kidney disease and an abdominal tumour could be. He was diagnosed with the kidney disease on his annual visit in November 2018 – then, in stage 2, he showed no other signs other than drinking more water than usual, though he’s always been a cat who loved his water. On his annual visit last year, not only had the disease progressed to stage 3, the vet also noticed a firm, abnormal mass in his abdomen. This was about the time Phaedra started going blind after her stroke in August. My greatest fear was that I would lose my pets at the same time, but when Phaedra passed at the end of February Jango still seemed to be doing well. If it weren’t for the fact that he had kidney disease and cancer I think he probably would have lived until his twenties!

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It’s been a long time.

I didn’t mean to take a break from blogging, let alone such a long one, but I realized that except for my post about owl baiting, I haven’t posted anything in almost a year.


I guess it started when I fell behind after our trip to Costa Rica. I’d also been sleeping badly, waking up ridiculously early no matter what time I went to bed. This past winter, I was waking up around 4:00 and feeling tired all day. I couldn’t concentrate, and kept forgetting things. I was starting to make mistakes at work. My mental state was permanently foggy – it was like when you get out of bed with only half an eye open and when you get in the shower you can’t remember if you just shampooed your hair or conditioned it so you start over. Worse, I can’t have caffeine, so chugging coffee or energy drinks was out. Eight o’clock or ten o’clock, it made no difference what time I went to sleep – I was awake again by 4:00 or 4:30. I work full time, and blogging was the last thing on my mind even though I kept going out on weekends and taking photos. I have to confess, some days I didn’t even much feel like going birding.

At some point I realized I wasn’t just tired, I was exhausted. When I went to my doctor to get an allergy shot one day in June, I left my jacket there and had to go get it at lunch time. Only then did I tell my doctor how I’ve been feeling. She immediately changed my sleeping pill prescription, and after a few months, I’m feeling like myself again.

My desire to blog hasn’t really come back, so I’m going to start with the present and work backward and see how far I get. I’ve got some lovely photos from Drumheller (Alberta), Las Vegas, Nova Scotia, and southern Ontario I want to share. I may not quite remember all the stories that go with them, so my posts might be shorter than usual, but hopefully I will be able to get on track – and stay on track.

Winter Finches Arrive

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Spring migration is under way, and while that means saying hello to breeding residents such as Red-winged Blackbirds, Turkey Vultures, and Canada Geese, it also means saying goodbye to winter residents such as American Tree Sparrows and Snow Buntings. Spring migration also means encountering irruptive species such as finches and Bohemian Waxwings more frequently as they head back up to their breeding grounds in the Boreal Forest. Pine Siskins were scarce this winter, at least in my part of Ontario, so I thought I was imagining things when I heard my first one calling as it flew over Jack Pine Trail two weeks ago on March 12th. Since then I’ve heard them at Old Quarry Trail and Sarsaparilla Trail, but today I hit the siskin jackpot when I drove down March Valley Road and came across a flock of about 30 birds picking at the gravel at the side of the road.

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Welcome to my Nature Blog!

As you can see, it’s looking a little bare right now.  However, I have hosted a nature blog (Blossoms and Birdsong) on LiveJournal since 2006 which details the evolution of my interest in nature, describes my outings, and showcases my photos. I am in the process of migrating from LiveJournal to WordPress and will be cross-posting my newest posts here; however, it may take some time before I get older posts transferred over. So stay tuned as there is definitely more to come!