Your hosts Tiberius and Beaker are keeping a nature diary to keep you up-to-date on our adventures...
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The Rust Monster - Home of the Nature Nuts!
October 2002 - Tiberius - Travelled up to North Bay for a week to catch the last glimpses of the summer before snowfall.  I did some trail riding on ATV and had a bear scoot across the trail in front of me at one point!  That was my only glimpse of a bear, although we saw plenty of fresh tracks.  I also saw a lone partridge on the trail and the usual chipmunks, red squirrels, chickadees, crows, etc.  It was cold, clear and somewhat moonless for a few nights so we got some good views of the night sky.  I took a few rolls of film and will scan some of them and add to our Photo section.  One of these photos was used for the Nov/Dec 2002 Photo ID Contest.

Wednesday March 20, 2002 - Tiberius - It's the first day of Spring and there is not much to report on our activities over the past four months.   North Bay had little snow until the six weeks, and Toronto had warmest winter on record with snow staying on ground only twice during the entire winter!   We are greatly looking forward to the warmer weather and have a number of plans for the summer, including some Salmon fishing trips, a canoe trip to Algonquin Park, many more nature photos, and contests.  You may have noticed we are also renovating the site, and expect to be complete by the end of March.  Enjoy your summer!

Sunday November 18, 2001 - Tiberius - Stayed up all night to watch the much talked about Leonid Meteor Shower.  I wanted to see the predicted very large meteor shower as the Earth passed through the heart of the 1767 debris trail of comet Temple-Tuttle.  This comet orbits the sun every 33.25 years.  During a normal year, Leonids meteors are seen at a rate of 10-15 per hour, but this year predictions of 1000-4000 meteors per hour were predicted.   Well, it clouded over at about 1am after being perfectly clear for two days, and I saw nothing at all (other than a few skunks making their rounds of the neighborhood at 5am).   Media reports the next day indicated that up to 1250 meteors per hour were seen (in areas clear of cloud).  I had my tripod, 35mm camera with 800 ASA film, and video camera all ready to go.  Oh well, next good shower is predicted for 99 years...    :o(

Saturday October 19, 2001 - Tiberius - Spent a second day up in Red Squirrel Road area north of Temagami with Black Fly and Biffer.  It was slightly cooler, and we had to duck for cover when it rained briefly a few times.  Overall, another nice day in the woods!   We travelled through the same area as yesterday and saw the following wildlife: 15 partridge, 2 Spruce Grouse, 1 Weasel, several types of birds (ravens/Canada Jays/chickadees/ducks/hawk), and a few moles scurrying across the path. It should be noted that Biffer had a close encounter with a moose, who took off from a hiding place nearby and thundered down the path he had just taken. He did not see the Moose, but clearly saw fresh tracks when he went to investigate the noise.  The two-day outing was a great break from the city!  The weather was good, the air was fresh, and each day was a new experience.

Friday October 18, 2001 - Tiberius - Spent a day up in Red Squirrel Road area north of Temagami with Black Fly and Biffer.  It rained overnight, but cleared up in the morning and warmed up to a nice 12 Celcius.  We both walked and rode on ATV, and we saw the following wildlife: 19 partridge, 3 playful river otters, 1 Spruce Grouse, 1 Little Brown Bat, several types of birds (Canada Jays, Chickadees, Ravens, ducks), a mole, several red squirrels, etc.  As far as animal tracks go, we only saw fresh Moose tracks (several hours old).  We actually saw and watched the bat flying around in mid-day, catching flies along our trail for 15-20 minutes.  It was almost hovering at times right above our heads!  I don't doubt it is fattening up for winter, and it is too cold for it at night (plus no flies).  My fingers are crossed that the Otter and Bat pictures I took will turn out.  I also took many other pics!

August 25, 2001 - Tiberius - Took a trip to Ashbridges Bay (Lake Ontario) at east end of Toronto today.  Found lots of milk-weed in the sandy areas around the bay, but no Monarch butterfly caterpillars (did see several Monarch butterflies though).  The eggs that were laid in back yard plants were also either eaten or did not hatch.  The hot weather (up to 36 degrees Celcius) may have had a role, or else the Earwigs on the plants were eating the eggs and/or caterpillars.  Didn't see anything unusual on this trip.

August 10, 2001 - Tiberius - Just got back from a trip north to North Bay.  Weather was hot, but we still managed to get in some productive time in the bush.  Beaker found 3 salamanders (black with blue spots) while lifting boards looking for snakes!  We also found a very cool Gray Tree Frog (first I've seen), as well as a few baby Garter Snakes.  You can see all of them on our Amphibians and Reptiles Photo page.  The month-long dry weather had dropped the local swamp water levels by 3 feet in some places, and the fields and bush were very dry.  There was little animal activity in the bush.   Also note: Beaker's moth emerged and was identified as a relative of the White Tussock Moth.  My Skeletonizer caterpillars did not survive...

August 1, 2001 - Tiberius - The eggs that were laid by the Grape Skeletonizer moth 3 days ago have hatched into caterpillars already!  There are about 80 of them and they are very skinny and about 2mm long.  They seem to be eating lettuce leaves ok.

July 29, 2001 - Tiberius - Caught a female Grape Leaf Skeletonizer moth (black with narrow wings and orange collar).  I kept it in a bottle overnight and in the morning the maple leaf and jar had between 150-175 eggs on them.  The eggs were off-white in colour (slightly yellow), and were laid in rows of 5-8.  Eggs were 2/3 mm in length.  Stay tuned for the birth announcement!

July 23, 2001 -  Beaker - Coming back from a 3 day trip to Toronto and almost hit a deer!, it scared me but i'm ok!

July 22, 2001 - Tiberius - Snapped a few Monarch Butterfly pics in neighbors yard.  Finally realized it was laying single eggs on underside of milkweed leaves every few minutes.  Will watch eggs and caterpillars (book says 4 weeks until butterflies).

July 14, 2001 -  Tiberius - Went for a visit to Riverdale Farm in Toronto and caught two large toads, one of whom wouldn't stop "chirping".  Saw turtles, pond choked with duckweed, Mourning Dove nest, and I just missed catching a garter snake.

July 13, 2001 -  Beaker - While fishing off of government dock on Lake Nippissing in North Bay, an Osprey dived into the water right in front of us and quickly caught what looked like a rock bass or sunfish.  Cool!  I didn't catch anything by the way...

July 12, 2001  -  Tiberius - Went over to the neighbors back yard tonight to check the milkweed for caterpillars.  I then heard some cat-like purring and looked up to see 3 baby raccoons looking down at me from the roof.  I snapped some pics for site.

July 10, 2001  -  Beaker - The caterpillar that I caught earlier in the week has started spinning a coccoon.
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