Posts Tagged 'Montreal'

Museum of Extinct Birds

The Carolina Parakeet, Conuropsis carolinensis, was the only parrot species native to the eastern U.S. It ranged from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ohio River Valley, and as far west as Colorado; it sometimes made it as far north as Ontario. The last wild bird was thought to have been shot in 1904. The last captive bird was a male who died in 1918, in the Cincinnati Zoo, the same place the last known Passenger pigeon died in 1914. This specimen is in the Redpath in Montreal, which I profiled in an earlier post. (All my Montreal posts are here.)

Other sad exhibits in this blog’s views of the extinct:
Ivory-billed woodpecker and Passenger pigeons
Eskimo Curlew


Montréal’s Insectarium is located next to the Jardin botanique. Admission is included with the garden. And here’s a jump back to some of the beetles.

Jardin Botanique

The Jardin botanique de Montreal is reported to be the third largest botanical garden in the world. The middle of November, however, may not be the best time to visit. But there I was, so I couldn’t miss it.A very light dusting of snow on the grounds could not daunt these well-named Arctic daisies, Arctanthemum arcticum, Chrysantheme arctique.The First Nations Garden, Le Jardin des Premieres-Nations. Yet another name for this section might well be “local hardwood forest and the people who knew how to walk there.”Another cold bloomer: Azure monkshood, Acontium carmichaelii, Aconit de carmichael. Not native to the First Nations, but welcome on a cold day.These cherry-red and -sized crab apples were in the Pommetiers section of the Arboretum.A grand old weeping willow tenaciously holds out against the Fall. I must visit again in September, or, better yet, June.Le chat orange dans le Jardin alpin.

Musée Redpath

The Redpath Museum, on the McGill University campus, is a natural history potpourri, a wunderkammer writ large.Exhibits on zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, and, um, ethnology, fill the place, which is the oldest building built as a museum in Canada. It was completed 1882, and has a very Victorian feel (but lacks the requisite dust and must).La defense du Narval, and some other, defenseless, specimens.A slice of Douglas Fir with a diameter of about six feet.It was 300+ years old when it was cut down. Except for the fossils, minerals, and the world cultures material, of course, an awful lot of killing filled up collections like these.Yes, a deeply ambivalent fascination.

Oh, Canada

Montreal’s maples were frequently spotted like this. I think it’s a tar spot fungus in the Rhytisma genus, mostly harmless but cosmetically challenging.

Mont Royal

A big lump of magma long exposed to erosion, Mont Royal rises above the island of Montreal. A good place for a park, no? Frederick Law Olmsted — who I inevitably call Frederick Lawn Olmsted, with a nod to James Joyce’s “Lawn Tennyson, gentleman poet” — evidently thought so, too. After the triumphs of Central and Prospect Parks, Olmsted, sans Vaux, worked on many other landscaping projects around the U.S. and here in Montreal.There were only a smattering of winter-hardy birds like chickadees and nuthatches up there that brisk November morning, so this Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus, or Grand pic to the Francophones, announced itself as a pleasant surprise with great thudding taps. At one point, it paused to listen to some other great thudding sounds made by nearby construction.Northern deciduous hardwood forest, including birch, Betula spps, Borleau, and:Silver maples, Acer saccharinum, Érable argenté/plaine blanche, which were all over the city and the hill.And all over me were these burrs, tempting the Maginot Line of U.S. Customs.


A collection of beetles at the Insectarium de Montreal which I visited earlier this month. This picture was shot through the vitrine glass.

There are 350,000-400,000 described species of beetles; estimates suggest there may be a million or more species of them all told. These are just some of the most spectacular and shiny ones — jewels, predominately, of the tropics.

Some beetles captured by my lens can be seen here.


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