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Sunday, 25 July 2021

Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Blooms

17 July 2021
Near Wallenstein, ON

     There was a time not so many years ago when Bricker School Line, a rural road, was home to several pairs of Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), but a couple of years ago a farmer upgraded his fences, removing the bluebird houses in the process, and even though they were eventually replaced the bluebirds have not been seen since.
     Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is quite common though.


     Miriam and I have remarked several times that despite suitable habitat we had never seen an Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) in that vicinity. You will understand our delight, therefore, when we spotted this individual far down a fence line.


     It was beyond what one might reasonably conclude was within camera range, so Miriam obtained exceptionally clear shots it seems to me under less than ideal conditions.



18 July 2021
Our home, Waterloo, ON

     The St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is doing exceptionally well this year.


     A little detective work by Miriam revealed the den from which the baby rabbits emerged, concealed in a dense patch of Periwinkle (Genus Vinca).


     I hope they are doing well in their quest for independence.

West Perth Wetland, Mitchell, ON

     We were on the way to Bayfield, on the shore of Lake Huron, for our first visit to Erin and her family since the start of COVID, and stopped off at the West Perth Wetland for a very brief visit.
     Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) have evidently had a good year and these young males are acquiring their finery (mother is off to the right).



     Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) is a very attractive insect, but a serious pest to a wide range of trees and shrubs.


     The adult form is capable of skeletonizing foliage and subterranean larvae feed on the roots of grasses.

20 July 2021
Our backyard, Waterloo, ON

     From time to time we have seen a Raccoon (Procyon lotor) in our backyard, but never a family of three which is what greeted us when we glanced out the family room window.


     One has to give them credit for being fully compliant with COVID regulations. They were all masked and maintained adequate social distance most of the time.


     It is an attractive animal, but it can inflict serious damage in a garden, and has mastered the art of opening even the most secure garbage can.


     It was interesting to observe them for several minutes but we were not sorry to see them move on.



20 July 2021
Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Waterloo, ON

     It was mid afternoon on a beautiful day, sunny, with the temperature in the mid-twenties, and a stroll at Laurel Creek seemed just what Mother Nature ordered.


     A couple of Eastern Kingbirds were busily engaged catching insects, and this one appears to have captured something quite formidable - exactly what, however, I am not sure.


     Common Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is a very attractive plant, believed by some taxonomists to be both native and introduced.



     Various medicinal properties are ascribed to this plant; based on what I have been able to discover, however, few of the claims have been scientifically proven.
     Evidently Sweat Bees (Halictidae) find the flowers attractive.


     It appears that Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) has had a very successful breeding season, and little froglets were constantly erupting from beneath our feet.


     Carrot Seed Moth (Sitochroa palealis) is quite common in late July.


     The Seven-spot Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) was introduced into North America from Europe, and has become the most widespread species in Ontario.


     It is generally welcomed by gardeners and horticulturalists due to its preference for feeding on aphids.
     Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) is a large, striking dragonfly that, pleasingly, alights quite frequently.


     Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae) is one of the Hesperiidae that can be difficult to identify, and the period of abundance is a helpful clue.


     As has been mentioned in other posts, Bluets (Coenagrionidae) can be extremely difficult to identify as to species, so I felt a special sense of satisfaction in correctly identifying the following individual as a Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum).


     Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on the other hand is unlikely to be confused with anything else.


     Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) is our latest flying dragonfly and may be seen in October; sometimes even in November.


     I know that Richard Pegler is quite taken with Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) so he will doubtless enjoy the following image.


     Perhaps he will equally enjoy a White-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum obtrusum).


     Common Red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) exhibit a preference for Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota) where they seem to spend most of their time in homage to Aphrodite as they engage in an endless round of sex!


     Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is much favoured by many insects.


     It was quite a meadowhawk day; here is our third species, Cherry-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum internum) female.


     Bees are not always easy to identify, but it is fun to take a picture and then embark on the research needed to clinch the ID, in the process learning a little about the lifestyle of the species.
     This is a Ligated Furrow Bee (Halictus ligatus).


     Marsh Snipe Fly (Rhagio tringarius) is a formidable predator of earthworms and small beetles.


     Groundselbush Beetle Trirhabda baxharidis) is an attractive species, a type of leaf beetle, but other than that I have been unable to uncover further information.


     Lest anyone think that I have moved over into the dark side, rest assured that the title of my blog, "Travels With Birds" is still valid - but who can resist these other joys of nature while the birds are busy with their young. Be patient, fall migration will be beginning soon!

80 comments:

  1. ...David, your have a fabulous collection of nature's details. Some I don't often see and some like the Japanese Beetles I have been seeing regularly this summer. Thanks for sharing the beauty that surround you!~

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    1. My pleasure, Tom. Thanks for looking at my blog.

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  2. Well, I'm glad you haven't decided to dwell permanently among the worms, I was getting worried there.... Your photos - or Miriam's photos are always superb, and you manage to see and identify so many species, kudos! And I love the frog, I've never seen one like that here. Have a good new week, stay safe! Hugs to you both, Valerie

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  3. I feel so sorry for Miram. First rabbits, and now raccoons. Will your the garden survive at all? The raccons are so pretty, but I'm very happy that they don't live here. Beautiful flowers, David.

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  4. How I love seeing this beauteous collection of b words. Thank you.
    I saw an article about bins and birds this week and thought of you. Sulphur crested cockatoos have been observed not only prying bins open, but teaching that skill to their young. Which didn't surprise me - but worried me. Much of what those bins contain will NOT be good for them.

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  5. Congratulations to Miriam on taking such lovely shots of the Eastern Meadowlark - the rich yellow colour against the white and brown makes for a very striking looking bird.
    It is a good job that the Racoons nature preseeds them - they are very attractive little creatures, but I understand that they can even catch birds and eat them.

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  6. It's quite normal here for bird enthusiasts to switch their allegiance to dragonflies or butterflies at this time of year. Even the "sightings" board on many bird reserves may include a section for insects.

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  7. Hallo David,

    Wat een prachtige verzameling van allerlei voor jullie inheemse soorten waarvan ik vooral de juffers en libellen heel mooi vind. Maar ook de luipaardkikker is een prachtig dier en heb je heel mooi gefotografeerd. Ik had hem nog nooit eerder op foto gezien en in het echt al helemaal niet.

    Groeten,
    Ad

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  8. I am really enjoying your posts with the insects and creatures as well as the birds. Love the racoons but I am sure you would rather they live elsewhere though the odd visits might be welcome.
    Sorry I am not keeping up with comments or blogs, I just seem extra busy in the garden and the house. To add to it our WiFi has now got the better of me. I see everywhere cables going in all over France, but our area seems to think it is not necessary Grrrrrrrrr. Max speeds of 0.5 is just soooo frustrating

    Keep safe, Diane

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  9. Fabulous sightings and photographs, lovely to see.
    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  10. I have to admit that I'm fond of raccoons. These ones are photogenic.

    My parents occasionally visited Bayfield.

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    1. I too am fond of raccoons, William, anywhere but in my garden or my attic!

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  11. I did notice you had documented fewer birds than usual, but completely understood why. And I was in such awe of your knowledge of the insect world I could never have been disappointed anyway.. Wonderful pictures all -- thanks to both of you.

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    1. Insects can be a challenge, Sallie, but lots of fun, and I am lucky that Miriam is willing to stalk a bug for twenty minutes if that's what it takes to get a picture.

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  12. I especially enjoyed the meadowlark. It really does bear some resemblance to the Dickcissel, and it was fun to see. Interestingly, St. John's Wort is an east Texas plant, as well. As for those raccoons? I know, I know... They can be troublesome, but they're cute as the dickens and probably smarter than me!

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    1. The first time I ever saw a Dickcissel I thought right away of a miniature meadowlark.

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  13. Hari OM
    Wings is wings and bugs has those things - mostly!!! I love all these. Meanwhile all I've seen of late is a spider or two... YAM xx

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  14. Didn't know you were an insect expert on top of everything else!

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    1. Thanks, Stew, but I am far from being an expert.

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  15. I cannot remember the last time I saw red clover.

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  16. The second bird is flirting with the camera, how cute!
    Oh, great, now I have that ABBA-song in my ear. Next Monday I´ll pass Waterloo Street again and the earworm never leaves me...
    The yellow flower is beautiful! And the raccoon, oh, so cute! We have some in our little zoo.
    I´ve never seen such a frog. Mines outside say hello.
    I hope you don´t mind I scrolled fast over the insects ;-)

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  17. Hello David,

    Your nature post and photos are just wonderful. I enjoyed each one, well done. The Meadowlark is a beauty, always a treat to see! Take care, have a great new week!

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  18. Hi David,
    raccoons are very nice to watch, but eh... not in your own backyard. I can imagine you were happy as they moved on.
    I like the diversity you show in this blog.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  19. So many different creatures you have shown us, all good to see.
    I have bluebird earrings given to me oh so many years ago, must hunt them out.

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  20. I liked St. John's Wort David. It's pretty. I also love dragonfly Twelve-spotted Skimmer, I really counted the spots. The raccoons are 'in mask' love your humor!

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  21. Congrats on the Eastern Meadowlark sighting! Enjoyed all of your Birds, Blooms, Beasts and Bugs, especially that Tule Bluet!

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  22. I love the look of that meadowlark. The insects are interesting, especially that last one.

    We whiz past everything on the trail on our bikes but when we stop, other than a few mosquitoes, I don’t see any insects. I wonder if the spraying on the fields kills them? I am too afraid of ticks to look through the grasses.

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    1. If insecticides are being sprayed it will affect the populations dramatically. The express intent of spraying is to kill the targeted organism(s). And the residues find their way into the food chain, and into the food we eat too.

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  23. Beautiful birds, raccoon and insects. I have never seen a blue dragonflies. Have a great new week.

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  24. Beautiful photos of the birds and insects . I would like to be in your backyard to see the racoon.

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  25. Buenas tardes amigo David, pues este reportaje me ha encantado y para nada pienso que te hayas pasado al lado oscuro, más bien todo lo contrario. Las fotografías han sido todas extraordinarias y he podido disfrutar y conocer alguna planta nueva que desconocía, así como insectos.
    Enhorabuena mi querido amigo.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo y tocayo Juan.

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  26. Great photos! The birds that visit here are all relatively common species, although we enjoy seeing the hawks, hummingbirds and the occasional western tanager. The peacocks scattered through our peninsula paid us several visits last year but have avoided us this year.
    Raccoons pay regular visits and, recently, so do rabbits.

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  27. Hi David! :) Oh that Eastern Meadowlark is beautiful! I love the bright yellow colouring. I love the raccoon shots, I giggled at your mask remark!! The Leopard Frog is gorgeous, you both take some really nice closeups!

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  28. Bien posan los pájaros en los alambres y en las ramas, mientras el mapache está vigilando desde el árbol, todo lo que ocurre a us alrededor y los insectos , entre las flores siguen su principal función.

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  29. The blue dragonfly is noticed by day.

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  30. Glad you were able to spot the Eastern Meadowlark and that Miriam was able to capture it so we could too! Japanese beetles are such a scourge to any flower garden. Funny comments about the raccoons being masked and fully compliant.

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  31. Le gros scarabée est très joli, les libellules aussi, les couleurs sont magnifiques. Très belle grenouille, encore de belles observations! Bonne soirée

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  32. Fascinating, colorful as usual including when it got buggy. Expect some may serve as dinner for some birds so not unrelated.

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  33. The raccoon has stolen my heart!

    You asked about the word rambler. It is a popular style here, a one-level home that rambles, or spreads out, across the property.

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  34. Lindas imagenes. Te mando un beso

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  35. Hi David.

    Beautiful what you show.
    The Meadow Lark is beautiful, as are the Royal Birds.
    How nice and beautiful those Raccoons in your garden.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  36. I've never seen a racoon but I understand they are highly intelligent, which can make them quite a pest. They are an attractive looking animal though, and your photos are great (as are all the other photos!)

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  37. Lovely photos, especially the Meadowlark, it looks like it's giving a little bit of attitude! It's funny some of the photos look like they could be taken here - the clover, the soldier beetles, the self heal, which I have in the garden! I do love to see a Racoon, of course looking from the UK they are cute mammals but I know how destructive they can be!

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    1. We are very fond of raccoons anywhere but in our backyard, Pam. And they can destroy the most rugged of bird feeders if I forget to bring them in at night.

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  38. As always you have beautiful photos.
    Nature can be nice and not so nice for us. Rabbits, Raccoons and Japanese Beetles for instance ;-)
    And we can be the same - hanging bird boxes in the trees or removing them. life can be difficult.

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  39. I liked the part about the raccoons being Covid compliant. :)

    I don't think that I have ever see a leopard frog, so that was good.

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  40. Beautiful bug shots! Haha … I now see how raccoons are complying with any mask mandates, although they are wearing them a few inches higher than what is fashionably safe. :)

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    1. Taking their cue from humans no doubt - they just pushed their masks in the opposite direction!

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  41. LOVE those Covid-conscious raccoons (as long as they're not in my chimney or garbage!) And I think I need to add St. John's Wort to my garden -- it is absolutely stunning. Wonderful insect images, too. Beautiful photos in this post (as always), each and every one.

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    1. St. John's Wort doesn't need a whole lot of attention either.

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  42. I was delighted with the flowers of St. John's wort and the photos of the raccoon. You presented a wonderful collection of insects. All photos are beautiful.
    Hugs and greetings.

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  43. You made me laugh. I suppose my blog is more on the dark side :) and I enjoyed this post very much. Great captures and information of all the insects and birds.

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  44. Una entrada preciosa querido amigo David, todo ello me encanta. Abrazos para Miriam y para ti.

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  45. We have a healthy population of southern leopard frogs in our yard. They've taken advantage of our little goldfish pond as a breeding site. I have to watch where I step when I'm outside. The little ones are everywhere! They are wonderful critters and quite melodic at night. I enjoy sitting on my patio and listening to them.

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    1. I am glad that you are enjoying them, Dorothy. I hope they are able to shelter from the heat.

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  46. Dear friend que tal!
    congratulations to Miriam for the excellent
    photographs of her,
    she has even discovered the rabbit hole...
    it reminds me of my friend
    Alice,(she lives in Wonderland).
    Many kisses and hugs for you two ° ❀ • °: 🎀: ° • ❀ °

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  47. WOW! So many fascinating critters to gawk at, David!

    I enjoyed the incredible captures and information of the insects and birds.

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  48. Always enjoy your post with the fantastic close up of nature and both your attention to detail. The leopard frog is amazing, and I counted the spots on the 12 spotted skimmer just to be sure! I have to disagree with you that the raccoons followed SOPs on masking as their mask did not cover their noses!! Glad you followed your photos with information as I thought the aphid was a lovely beetle. The Queen Anne's lace is a spot-on name for that inflorescence.

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  49. What an interesting array of dragon flies. They used to be common in our backyard but although we still have the same watery spaces where they presumably bred we no longer see any which is very saddening.

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  50. Great assortment of photos. I am living vicariously through you. (I still haven't gotten out much with my hand / thumb / tendons problem.) Dragonflies fascinate me. That St. John's Wort flower is beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen that.

    And I agree with the comment you left me, about Free Speech. On Twitter, Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei has a tweet advocating genocide, but apparently it doesn't violate their terms of service, because it is still up, as of this morning. Twitter banned Trump (who I don't like), but Ayatollah Khamenei's account remains. I know some would argue that Twitter is a private company, and can do what they want, but if the US Government is now telling them who to ban, then that "private company" claim can no longer be made, because they are acting as an agent of the Government.

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  51. What a wonderful series of photos! A great variety! Hard to choose a favorite photo, but here goes - the Raccoons!

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  52. The St. John's Wort flower is so pretty.
    Love the little raccoons, hope they aren't a big nuisance, but they sure are cute :)
    You always have such wonderful photos David.

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  53. Fantastic diversity of life forms, with colorful flowers and insects. The raccoon is very funny and among birds Sturnella magna is striking, for a simpler version of S. loyca, with its striking red breast and belly.

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  54. many fine critters this week as well. Nice to see the cute Raccoons are following the rules for Covid. They will stay safe. This week I love the Twelve-spotted Skimmer. Such a beautiful dragonfly. 12 spots, we don´t have any like that. Cool!

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  55. What an amazing post. So much to see here. I absolutely love the pic of the Japanese Beetle, although I'm not a fan of them on my roses.

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  56. Thank you for the dragonflies, David. I have to say, however, that that fabulous Twelve-spotted Skimmer has completely overtaken the Calico Pennant in the rankings as far as I'm concerned! I'm really enjoying the variety that's appearing in your blog posts, but please don't lose sight of the birds. Have you come across a free smartphone app. 'PlantNet'. I'm absolutely astounded by its abilities.

    Best wishes to you and Miriam - stay safe - - - Richard

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    1. Luddites that we are, Richard, we don't have data on our phone, but we are thinking of remedying that!

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  57. A joy to see all of nature's wonders!

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  58. David - don't apologize for the (temporary) departure from birds - I am enjoying the variety, and I am learning so much. But back to birds - I was as delighted as you to see a Meadowlark - in my case, a Western. I have seen several this year - seeing and HEARING them is pure joy.

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  59. Hi David,
    How many beautiful "catch", nature is spectacular. I loved the yellow flower, St. John's Wor, it's so beautiful I didn't know it.
    All the photos are wonderful, but I especially liked the Raccoon photos, they are fantastic.

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  60. Uwielbiam zdjęcia owadów. Ja cały czas się uczę je robić. Bardzo lubię letnie łąki z mnóstwem chrząszczy, motyli i muchówek. Wazki genialne!
    U nas też niestety są szopy. To obcy gatunek, szkodnik. Walczymy z nimi, ale walka jest bezskuteczna, bo to mądre i sprytne zwierzęta.

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  61. How wonderful to hear a frog success story. Many of ours are dying and scientists are uncertain why. I strongly suspect that as usual our activities will prove to be the culprit.

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