a taste of summer

Yesterday, I spent part of the afternoon looking through last summer’s insect photos. I’d received a request from a book publisher who wanted a particular shot of a spider, so I scanned through a couple of months of photos picking out all the images that might fill the bill. While doing so, I couldn’t help noticing how certain days seemed to be filled with wonderful creatures. The last week of July was particularly image rich.

Anyhow, that got me thinking about summer, but I guess the weather has also had something to do with that. As everyone in the northeast will know, we’ve been having unseasonably warm weather here. Temperatures the last couple of days have been around 10C (50F). It rained occasionally yesterday, and today we’re getting a heavier rain similar to something we might get on a spring day in late April or early May — and that’s just how it looks out in the garden. The recent snow has entirely melted away and the grass is looking quite green. The brush and trees are even starting to have that rosy look that they get in early spring before the leaves begin to bud out.

So, what are the animals doing during this warm weather? A couple of days ago, a friend informed me that he has a Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) occasionally calling from a utility room area of his house. Obviously, it has decided to forego hibernation. Then from yesterday — I belong to The NatureList (the Eastern Ontario Natural History list-serve) where members discuss natural history sightings and other topics of interest. Yesterday, a member posted about having seen a Leopard frog hopping about and jumping into a pool of water on the front lawn. Later in the day, Dr. Fred Schueler of the Bishops Mills Natural History Centre, posted this link to a page that they’ve just put up containing the BMNHC’s observations of unusual winter activity by frogs and Cepaea nemoralis snails around the village.

Yesterday, CBC News posted a piece entitled Warm winter could hurt hibernating animals: researcher. The article contains comments made by Professor Ken Storey who studies hibernation at Carleton University’s department of biochemistry. In essence, what he has to say is that animals that normally hibernate, but that are hopping or crawling around instead, are burning off their energy reserves and won’t be able to refuel due to lack of food at this time of the year. In all likelihood, that will have a harmful effect on their survival. If you’re interested, definitely give this brief article a read.

In its daily reader’s poll, this morning’s online edition of the Globe & Mail (Toronto), asks: It’s been unseasonably warm in Canada this week. What do you think is going on?. As of this moment, there have been 7,948 votes. The results break down as follows:

Global waming caused by man = 4322 votes (54%)
Global warming, natural causes = 2007 votes (25%)
Nothing, it’s just nice weather = 1619 votes (20%)

So, what do you think? What’s the scoop on the weather? Anomaly or trend? Is it the shape of things to come? Any cause for concern?

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18 Responses to “a taste of summer”

  1. pablo Says:

    I really wish I was qualified to say I knew. I’m going on trust in unbiased science (abetted by the entrenched interests busy denying there is such a thing as global warming). I’d read somewhere that all of the habitat preservation in the world won’t count for a thing if global warming changes everything. I guess I can see why many people don’t want to be informed about this.

  2. robin andrea Says:

    I’m hoping it’s an anomaly, but I’m fearing it’s a trend. I read the same article that Pablo did about how habitat preservation won’t matter if the climate changes. It’s actually quite a scary scenario if this is a trend. I remember some old saying about how everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. Looks like we may have done something about it, and it’s not so good.

  3. Ruth Says:

    I watched a documentary on The National last night about the retreating glaciers on Iceland. They will be gone in 150 years at the rate they are melting. But the area I live in was once covered by glaciers, so the earth has been warming for a long time. It is unlikely that one factor is causing climate change. I would vote for natural trend plus the effect of man.

  4. Jimmy Says:

    Well being a christian…I beleive the last days are nearing….It is the sign of things to come.

  5. Heather Flanagan Says:

    Here is a quirky video about global warming I thought you might find interesting:


  6. burning silo Says:

    All — I tend to think it’s a combination of natural and manmade warming — the amount of fossil fuel burning and other pollution sure can’t be helping matters. I can see many species of animals adapting, but many also being unable to adapt, especially as humans have destroyed so much habitat and or broken up habitat so that animals can’t possibly migrate to areas where they might survive. As someone in Heather’s video says, “the planet will be okay.” I have my doubts about human habitation being able to continue as it has. I doubt very much that there will be enough resources for the relentless increase of humans on the planet. Water is probably going to cause a big crunch before long, especially as we aren’t just using it, but also contaminating it. I imagine some people will survive increasing heat and lack of water, but probably only in some parts of the world.
    Heather, I enjoyed your video clip. I have a super slow connection (this weekend, it’s only running about 28,000 bps, so it took awhile to download, but I enjoyed seeing it. Unfortunately, my connection dropped just in the last few seconds (arrrrggghh!!!) so I didn’t get to hear the last couple of lines, but it was neat — thanks for posting a link to it here on my blog!

  7. Cathy Says:

    It’s hard to be stoic about this topic as the ramifications are so great. Sure wish there were a crystal ball to look ahead and be reassured that it’ll all work out in the end. Meanwhile – your photograph delights. It must be so gratifying to have publishers wanting your work. And I’ll bet when you took all your great photos you didn’t feel as though you were ‘working’.

  8. Heather Flanagan Says:

    Burning Silo, Thank you for acknowledging my comment. I think these are important issues to be having a dialogue about and I am glad that the Internet has evolved into being a platform for creating community around these topics.

    It is my sincere intention to hold open the possibility that we are at a tipping place as far as awareness and positive action are concerned.

    Don’t hope that we will make it and turn things around, *expect* it!

  9. burning silo Says:

    Cathy – Yes, the future does seem pretty bleak to me IF we don’t attempt to do something about the mess that we’re creating. I do think we need to reassess our real needs and learn to live more sensibly, work on alternatives to many of the things we are doing (wrong). Thanks re: my photos. You’re quite right – I don’t really think of them as my work – the photography, along with nature observation, is a large part of what I love to do.

    Heather – I think we’re still at a point where we can make a positive change in the effect we’re having on the planet. I think we’ve hit a crossroad where we either have to commit, or we do the stupid thing and just continue on as we have. I too agree that the internet is providing a platform upon which we can pass around ideas, discoveries and also find some inspiration and motivation. As someone interested in video, you might be interested in this video meme that a friend in Oregon has just put together and launched on the 2020 Oregon website and blog being worked on by some like-minded people out there. I hope this link will work.

  10. John Says:

    I’m of the opinion that mankind has had extraordinary and, perhaps, irreversible impacts on nature. Regardless of whether the science has been “proven,” I’m inclined to say we should assume the worst and react accordingly; if we’re wrong, we’re apt to be pleasantly surprised in the long run.

  11. burning silo Says:

    John – I very much agree with your comment that we should assume the worst and react accordingly; if we’re wrong, we’re apt to be pleasantly surprised in the long run. I keep wondering what in hell is the problem with trying to work on alternatives to greenhouse , cut fossil fuel use, reduce consumption of natural resources, recycle, try to clean up the air and the water, etc… Why do some people seem to see this as a “bad thing” that will wreck the economy or the way they want to do things? This behaviour of treating the planet as though it’s some big shopping mall full of stuff that has been put here just for us to use, abuse and toss out is just plain weird. I think many people are finally coming to the realization that this simply can’t continue. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in my blog, perhaps doing volunteer stream surveys has made me acutely aware of how crapped up the watersheds are becoming everywhere … and by extension, the air and just about everything else. It’s time for a change in attitude.

  12. Abie Says:

    Hi, I just found your blog and your amazing pictures.
    I love them and, as a Biology High school teacher, I feel I could use it in class presentation.

    Would you agree to allow such gracious use, with all due credit of course?

    Thanks for all this beauty


  13. burning silo Says:

    Abie – Thanks. I do allow teachers to use my web photos for powerpoint presentations, etc… Just give credit when possible and appropriate (such as on printed materials). If use is to be for something web-based, I ask that people create a hotlink back to my blog or my online photo galleries. If you have other questions about usage, just email me.

  14. Cindy Says:

    wow, what a beautiful photo.. such rich colors and a pefect place for the lil guy to hiide.
    I’m inclined to believe this is a trend & I agree with John’s words.. although I wish it weren’t, global warming is a reality we are going to have to deal with at some point.
    I’m going to make it a point to try to visit more, I’m missing WAY too much by not visiting your photos and your thoughts..
    I should be identifying a huge backlog of insects/moths myself.. hopefully soon.

  15. burning silo Says:

    Cindy – Glad to see that you dropped by to visit! That photo strikes me as particularly colorful — sort of reminds me of the colours of a mango when it is still partly green, but also orange and red. I too have quite a backlog of insects and other creatures to sort, ID and put up in my galleries, etc… Usually, I work on this in winter, but this year, so many things seem to have gone by the wayside!

  16. Allan Balmer Says:

    Interesting and attention-gtabbing philosophy and photographs.

    [I hope that somewhere on your site you give a few technical photographic details.]

  17. burning silo Says:

    Allan – I occasionally comment on my camera gear and some of my methods — However, I don’t think I’ve done a whole post on the subject. Usually, it’s more like a post on working in low light conditons, etc…
    In case you’re interested, my current cameras are a Nikon CP8800 and a Nikon CP4500. I use the CP8800 as my all-purpose camera and both cameras for macro work. I generally don’t use any flash equipment, but sometimes use a Nikon LED light ring with the CP4500. I do also sometimes use a Noma gun-style flashlight in the Xenon lamp mode to provide light while I’m shooting both movie and still photos.

  18. Daoal Says:

    Glad to hear it