Monday, May 24, 2010


I've been wanting to eat morels for a long time, but usually when I find them, I either find too few or more than I'm prepared to collect. This spring I brought a couple home to try; a lot of people had told me how delicious they are so I wanted to see what I was missing out on.  I found a recipe on the internet and my wife and I cooked them and we were both blown away by the flavour of these mushrooms!  I'll definitely not pass another morel without picking it--they're just too good.  

Morels are easily identified, which make them a choice edible. 

The recipe I used was simple.  First clean the mushrooms, making sure all the sand and bugs are gone. For some reason, wood louse (potato bugs) love to hide inside the hollow stems.  After a good wash,  soak the mushrooms in a bowl of salt water overnight to kill any unwanted visitors that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  The following day, make sure to rinse the mushrooms one last time before you cook them.  Heat a medium frying pan with a half inch of vegetable oil.  Dip the morel into an egg, roll it in bread crumbs (I like using cajun Fish Crisp) and place it into the pan.  Cook until golden brown; this only takes a few minutes.  There are many awesome recipes that I have found online, but now that morel season is done I'll have to wait until next year to try them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mute Swans

Mute Swans were introduced to North America from Eurasia in the 1800's as an ornamental bird, but now they can be found here in great numbers.  These elegant birds can be detrimental to other species of waterfowl because of their large numbers and voracious appetite.  The aptly named Mute Swan is less vocal than other swan species; however they will make many different noises such as grunting, whistling and hissing. 

Mute Swans can be easily distinguished from other species of swans from their orange bill and large protruding black knob above the bill. 

Mute Swans construct large nests in shallow water using aquatic vegetation.  The nest in the picture below was constructed from cattails.

Mute Swans usually lay 5-8 eggs per clutch; however as many as 11 eggs have been recorded.

Young swans are called cygnets.  I counted a total of seven in this nest and was lucky enough to watch one hatch from its egg!  Even though the Mute Swan is an invasive species, it's a fascinating and beautiful bird that I enjoyed observing in the wild.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Muskrat Behaviour

I’ve wanted to photograph muskrats for some time now.  After observing their behaviour from land I decided that a kayak would be the best way to photograph them. I went back the following day launched my kayak and positioned myself outside a large lodge and in a matter of minutes I was photographing some interesting muskrat behaviour.   

The muskrat is the largest member of the vole family. In appearance, muskrats closely resemble beavers; however, muskrats have a long slender tail, unlike the flat tail of the beaver.

Their diet consists of aquatic vegetation, fresh water mussels, fish, and sometimes carrion.

The muskrat's teeth are in front of its mouth allowing it to feed on underwater plants without drowning.

 Muskrats inhabit marshes, shallow lakes, and slow flowing rivers.

  Muskrats live in lodges constructed from aquatic plants and mud and they will often create burrows above the waters edge.

During the breeding season male muskrats mark their territory using scent glands. These glands secrete a musky smelling liquid; giving the muskrat its name. Males will defend their territory sometimes fighting to the death fortunately this fight only lasted a few seconds.

Male chasing female, she was playing hard to get. 

These animals can be found almost anywhere in Canada except the coast of British Columbia.

Muskrat Tracks