Category Archives: Friends of Miles

Butter and Eggs: David Fallis

David Fallis has put together a book for family members called One Hundred Flowers of Bruce Beach. I thank him for allowing me to share it in Friends of Miles.

In each post, I will include David’s original photo and text plus a few of my own photos.

Here are David’s words:

This book began as a very private project to have pictures of and brief comments on some favourite flowers at Bruce Beach (mostly wildflowers, although a couple of showy tree flowers have been included). In its first single-copy incarnation, I merely xeroxed pictures out of various field guides and flower books, without asking any permission of the original photographers. Then my wife, Alison suggested that, even though I am no photographer, I should attempt to take pictures of the flowers on my own small camera. Skeptical at first, I have had an enjoyable few seasons trying to find flowers at their peak of blooming, in decent light, from spring to autumn, to have images which I could rightfully reproduce. 

                            BUTTER-and-EGGS

Linaria vulgaris

Figwort Family

Butter-and-Eggs  (photo: David Fallis)

Although being a rather invasive weed in many gardens, butter-and-eggs is a beautiful flower with its two-toned creamy yellow bloom which can be squeezed open to form a kind of mouth. The more orangey lower lip apparently guides insects to the mouth and hence to the nectar. It can be found along the roadsides in mid to late summer.

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Butter and Eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

Why do we find flowers beautiful? First of all, it should be said that generally we are impressed by only some flowers. There are many flowering plants at Bruce Beach, trees, grasses and reeds especially. which have small flowers without much richness of colour. These are flowers which mostly depend on the wind to carry pollen from the stamens to fertilize the ovary in the stigma. We don’t pay them much attention (although I will say they are every bit as interesting if you take the time to look at them up close, but they are beyond my photographic capabilities). But more importantly, not only do we not pay them much attention, neither do insects. Once flowers evolved so that they were designed to attract insects to ensure cross-pollination, then all those attractive and distinctive features of flowers, especially their symmetry, their colour and their scent, became paramount. Bright colours which stand out against a mass of green leaves, large enough size for a bee or wasp to have a decent landing pad, fragrant nectar to reward the forager, all these things become part of showy flowers. And interestingly, what insects find attractive, so do we, perhaps because if we notice flowers, we know where to look for fruit to eat later in the season. 

Butter and eggs (Linaria vulgaris)

 

 

 

 

Trout Lily: David Fallis

David Fallis has put together a book for family members called One Hundred Flowers of Bruce Beach. I thank him for allowing me to share it in Friends of Miles.

In each post, I will include David’s original photo and text plus a few of my own photos.

Here are David’s words:

This book began as a very private project to have pictures of and brief comments on some favourite flowers at Bruce Beach (mostly wildflowers, although a couple of showy tree flowers have been included). In its first single-copy incarnation, I merely xeroxed pictures out of various field guides and flower books, without asking any permission of the original photographers. Then my wife, Alison suggested that, even though I am no photographer, I should attempt to take pictures of the flowers on my own small camera. Skeptical at first, I have had an enjoyable few seasons trying to find flowers at their peak of blooming, in decent light, from spring to autumn, to have images which I could rightfully reproduce. 

                                                    TROUT LILY

Erythronium americanum

Lily Family

Other common names: Dog-toothed Violet, Yellow Adder’s Tongue

Trout Lily (photo: David Fallis)

Like trilliums, trout lilies need between four and seven years of growing before they bloom. The common name comes from the leaves, which are mottled with brown, and look like the back of a trout underwater. They are one of the earliest, and most delicate, of spring flowers. They grow in the woods and on the hillsides of the golf course in May. 

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum)

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Why do we find flowers beautiful? First of all, it should be said that generally we are impressed by only some flowers. There are many flowering plants at Bruce Beach, trees, grasses and reeds especially. which have small flowers without much richness of colour. These are flowers which mostly depend on the wind to carry pollen from the stamens to fertilize the ovary in the stigma. We don’t pay them much attention (although I will say they are every bit as interesting if you take the time to look at them up close, but they are beyond my photographic capabilities). But more importantly, not only do we not pay them much attention, neither do insects. Once flowers evolved so that they were designed to attract insects to ensure cross-pollination, then all those attractive and distinctive features of flowers, especially their symmetry, their colour and their scent, became paramount. Bright colours which stand out against a mass of green leaves, large enough size for a bee or wasp to have a decent landing pad, fragrant nectar to reward the forager, all these things become part of showy flowers. And interestingly, what insects find attractive, so do we, perhaps because if we notice flowers, we know where to look for fruit to eat later in the season. 

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Coltsfoot: David Fallis

David Fallis has put together a book for family members called One Hundred Flowers of Bruce Beach. I thank him for allowing me to share it in Friends of Miles.

In each post, I will include David’s original photo and text plus a few of my own photos.

Here are David’s words:

This book began as a very private project to have pictures of and brief comments on some favourite flowers at Bruce Beach (mostly wildflowers, although a couple of showy tree flowers have been included). In its first single-copy incarnation, I merely xeroxed pictures out of various field guides and flower books, without asking any permission of the original photographers. Then my wife, Alison suggested that, even though I am no photographer, I should attempt to take pictures of the flowers on my own small camera. Skeptical at first, I have had an enjoyable few seasons trying to find flowers at their peak of blooming, in decent light, from spring to autumn, to have images which I could rightfully reproduce. 

COLTSFOOT

Tussilago farfara

Composite Family

Coltsfoot (photo: David Fallis)

Coltsfoot sends up its dandelion-like flowers in early May, often before any leaves have appeared. Its Latin name comes from the word for cough, and coltsfoot has long been considered a herbal remedy for bronchitis, asthma and coughs. It grows in various patches along the beach.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

 

Coltsfoot leaf (Tussilago farfara)

Why do we find flowers beautiful? First of all, it should be said that generally we are impressed by only some flowers. There are many flowering plants at Bruce Beach, trees, grasses and reeds especially. which have small flowers without much richness of colour. These are flowers which mostly depend on the wind to carry pollen from the stamens to fertilize the ovary in the stigma. We don’t pay them much attention (although I will say they are every bit as interesting if you take the time to look at them up close, but they are beyond my photographic capabilities). But more importantly, not only do we not pay them much attention, neither do insects. Once flowers evolved so that they were designed to attract insects to ensure cross-pollination, then all those attractive and distinctive features of flowers, especially their symmetry, their colour and their scent, became paramount. Bright colours which stand out against a mass of green leaves, large enough size for a bee or wasp to have a decent landing pad, fragrant nectar to reward the forager, all these things become part of showy flowers. And interestingly, what insects find attractive, so do we, perhaps because if we notice flowers, we know where to look for fruit to eat later in the season. 

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)

 

Brown Creeper: Dr J Murray Speirs

Brown Creeper (photo: Ian Valentine)

This is the familiar “little brown bird” usually seen spiralling upward around trunks of big trees, then planing down to the base of the next tree, only to repeat the process. They build their fragile nests behind loose flakes of bark. During migration they are often seen in the big trees lining city streets , but they usually retire to the forests to breed.

Brown Creeper (photo: wikimedia)

They are smaller than House Sparrows, brown on the back and white below, with slender, down-curved beaks and stiff woodpecker-like tails used to prop them up as they creep up the rough bark of trees. The usual note heard is a high-pitched “pseeee”, somewhat like the note of the Golden-crowned Kinglet but in this case a single long-drawn note, not repeated as in the kinglet. The high-pitched song reminds me (in rhythm) of the nursery jingle “fee-fie-fiddly-fum”: Saunders (in 1947) wrote the song as “Pee-e-see, pe-see, see see” (rising, falling, high, low).

Brown Creeper