And it can be a real opportunity to see wildlife when it is less inhibited. Just recently I was walking along the trail shown in the first two photos, Spicebush Trail, and there is at least one pair of Pileated Woodpeckers that have a territory overlapping this trail's area. I had been photographing wildflowers since there was a profusion of them, and during the middle part of the day the birds were quieter. So the only lens I had was my 100mm macro lens, on a full frame camera, which had very little telephoto effect. I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye and there, ripping into a rotting log, was a female Pileated Woodpecker. They are not typically tolerant of humans, but this one was an exception. She could see me, I was sure, but made no move to fly, so I cautiously crept closer, getting a few photos as I got closer. The one shown below was taken with my macro lens....I was no more than about 3 metres from this bird and as I got closer I wondered if I would have to use my macro feature! In all my years at Rondeau, this is the closest I have been able to approach.
After watching her for a few moments, she moved off to another rotting log a short distance away. And I went back to shooting wildflowers, which are abundant in this early spring season, but still revelled in the encounter with this magnificent bird.
Violets are extremely common, and there are several kinds. Some violets have flowers on the main stem that also has leaves, such as this Smooth Yellow Violet.
Other species have the flowering stem separate from the leaves, such as this Wooly Blue Violet.
Wildflowers didn't use to be so lush and abundant at Rondeau, due to the extremely high number of white-tailed deer. At one point there were about 600 deer overwintering in the park, and when the first bits of greenery showed, the by now ravenously hungry deer devoured the fresh plant material....it was a welcome change from dry twigs all winter! But it played havoc with the wildflowers. Back in about 1978 there were two deer exclosures constructed, to demonstrate the impacts of a high population of deer browsing. The response of wildflowers from no deer browsing pressure in those exclosures since that time has been dramatic.
This first photo shows typical spring wildflowers and greenery inside the deer exclosure.
For this next photo, I turned around 180 degrees and took a shot showing what the wildflowers looked like in the unprotected area.....same camera, same lens.
Some wildflowers are easily recognized by most people. Trilliums, for example. But these next few photos show trilliums that you probably have never seen before.
This is actually a Red Trillium. I don't have the Photoshop capabilities to produce something like this :-). I had never seen one with six petals before. I have seen trilliums with four petals on occasion, but never six. This individual occurred along the Spicebush Trail in 2013. It did not reappear in 2014.
This is also a Red Trillium.....very rarely a yellow colour form will occur. I have only seen this on 3 occasions. This one was growing right next to a typical Red Trillium as shown in the next photo. Interestingly I first found this individual in 2013, and the same one appeared at exactly the same spot in 2014.
Other typical spring wildflowers are as follows:
|Wild Blue Phlox|
As one gets a closer look, the intricate details become obvious.