Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Some birds are more ungainly than beautiful, like this pileated woodpecker who is certainly striking (literally and metaphorically). It was demolishing my bird pie the other day, when normally it will be destroying the trunks of half dead trees, looking for insects and other delicious edibles. Below you see one doing just that. Their beaks may be designed to be bashed into trees, but the tip of the beak on this bird looks as if it is rather the worse for wear compared to the one below. I wonder what caused the damage.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

And here you can see the results of steady assault by these voracious birds.

Pileated tree
Pileated tree

Spirea Japonica

Spirea Japonica
Spirea Japonica

Our neighbourhood holds so many hidden delights. This lovely Spirea was hiding behind a rose bush across the road from me (next to the marshmallow). As I was photographing it for A Flower a Day, a tiny visitor climbed over the top of one of the flower heads and went about her business. She seemed to be totally unaware that her colour should have clashed with the pink. But in the end I didn’t mind either. It was so lovely just to see a hint of normality going on in the natural world. I hope this helps to cheer your day, my friends. Clicking on the image below will take you to the Tiny Wildlife Gallery where there are many such little delights if you have time to take a look.

Spirea Japonica with ladybird
Spirea Japonica with ladybird

The Flower a Day Gallery with current content is below. Each day a new photo will be added. With today’s post there are now 31 to view. Click or tap to view full size.

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Winter Feathers

Feather - Ellie Kennard 2012
Feather – Ellie Kennard 2012

It is winter again and the birds are looking for feeders and for seeds and leftover harvest to glean. We have fed the birds for 20 years but now no longer do so. We had a warning about a disease spreading via birdfeeders among the finches in our Province of Nova Scotia. Although winter was apparently not considered a high risk period for this disease and many people began to put their feeders out again, we decided against it. We had too many fatal instances of bird strike and we just couldn’t bear it each time it happened.

We still see the birds, but in the trees and bushes around us, we just have to keep watching for them. 

This photo was originally taken in a snow storm in 2012, of a chickadee flying toward a feeder and about to land. I submitted it for a Scavenger hunt entry in that year for the theme “Feather”. It got awarded 1st prize from one of the judges, which I was delighted with, especially so early in my photographic journey. I have rescued the photo to 


Sci-Fi Insects?

Unknown insects found on a porch step of a tiny house in the woods - Ellie Kennard 2016
Unknown insects found on a porch step of a tiny house in the woods – Ellie Kennard 2016

This pair of insects appeared on the porch of a little house in the woods. While everyone was inside (it was a really really tiny cabin) I tried to get some photographs of them, to be able to identify them later on. The time was late afternoon and the trees were shading the area heavily, so the light was very low, making it more difficult, but I did get a couple of them. When I enlarged them I was able to see these amazing eyes and formation and markings of the bodies. They are so delicate looking with those long legs and fine wings.

If anyone knows what these might be, please let me know. They look like something from outer space!

Unknown insects found on a porch step of a tiny house in the woods - Ellie Kennard 2016
Unknown insects found on a porch step of a tiny house in the woods – 2 Ellie Kennard 2016


Serendipity and Monarchs

Update 2018

We have had a lot of monarchs on our milkweed in our own garden this year and I managed to get several more photos of the gorgeous caterpillars. They are all on the gallery linked to the monarch butterfly photos. Enjoy!

Here is one of the new caterpillar photos, taken with my phone:

2 Monarch butterfly caterpillars - Ellie Kennard 2018
2 Monarch butterfly caterpillars – Ellie Kennard 2018

Original post:

One Monarch butterfly has been teasing us for a couple of weeks. On our usual walks, along the edge of the woods, this orange beauty would dance about just out of reach, flying high up into a tree as soon as we got near. One solitary insect might not seem much, but with no sightings in the past few years, that single bright fragile creature flitting among the bushes was enough to give us a thrill. And we wondered at times if it was the same one, or if there were, perhaps two or three, in different locations around the trail.

Female Monarch Butterfly on wildflowers #3, Canning, NS - Ellie Kennard 2016
Female Monarch Butterfly on wildflowers #3, Canning, NS – Ellie Kennard 2016

What was it that prompted me?

What was it that prompted me to go for a walk with my long lens on this particular day? I was just about to lend this particular lens to my friend who was considering buying a similar one, so she could see if it would give her the kind of range she wanted. First though, I thought I would go for a quick walk and take a few photos to show her what she might expect. Joni was (as always) my first model  (turn the page or scroll down to keep reading…)

Continue reading


Northern Crescent Butterfly

Pearl Crescent Butterfly, Phyciodes tharos - Ellie Kennard 2016
Northern Crescent Butterfly, Phyciodes cocyta – Ellie Kennard 2016

Phyciodes cocyta

This is a common butterfly around here in the summer, but I was really pleased to get this photo of it as it rested on the path. The patterns on its wings are finely drawn and the tips of its antennae are tiny orange balls (hard to see in this photo, to be fair). Rupert (our Cornish Rex cat) tried to catch it and almost succeeded (which is what drew it to my attention) but I managed to save it and put it safely out of his reach (he is on a long leash) so it could get over the shock and fly away. Have a lovely week everyone, full of lovely butterflies!



Lost Baby Raccoons

Lost baby raccoons – Ellie Kennard 2016
Lost baby raccoons – Ellie Kennard 2016

A few weeks ago one night we heard Joni making a terrible racket, barking. When Steven went out to investigate he found that she had discovered these babies who were huddled by the door to his workshop. Once Joni was safely in the house we both went outside with our cameras to see if they were still there. Then we took turns holding the flashlight while the other took photos of the cute little things. Then we went to bed hoping that the mother would have come to rescue them by the morning.

The next day I saw the two of them wandering around, but after that they were nowhere to be seen, so I assume that they went off somewhere where they weren’t likely to run into an excited border collie. This is the one I took of them. (Steven posted his photo at the time. You can see his here )

Enjoy your weekend everyone!


Aerial Acrobat

Aerial Acrobat- Ellie Kennard 2016
Aerial Acrobat- Ellie Kennard 2016

This little fellow seemed to relish the idea of walking on the edge – and such a delicate edge, at that! The contrast of the pink petal that is almost like a swirling, silken dress with the yellow and black textured caterpillar body really appealed to me.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

See the full size image on my Tiny Wildlife gallery here



Hanging Out – There are More Where These Came From

Baby spiders in their web - Ellie Kennard 2016
Baby spiders in their web – Ellie Kennard 2016

This image, of a nest of tiny spiders (also visible on my Tiny Wildlife gallery https://elliekennard.ca/ekgallery/tiny-wildlife/) is a close-up of a nest I discovered when hanging out my laundry. At first I thought they were small bits of pollen that had got caught in the web which was blowing in the wind.

A closer look at baby spiders in their web - Ellie Kennard 2016
A closer look at baby spiders in their web – Ellie Kennard 2016

Then as I looked closer I saw that the ‘pollen’ was moving up and down on the strands of the web and I realized that they were baby spiders! A day later they were gone, either they were blown away on the wind or they had packed their bags and climbed down the pole ready for new spider lives.

Close-up of baby spiders in their web - Ellie Kennard 2016
Close-up of baby spiders in their web – Ellie Kennard 2016

I am planning content of a different kind, so watch for upcoming posts about this!