20180703-10 Early July Leps, Odes and blooms

Here are some Lepidoptera, blooms and Odonata from July03 to July10… (Click on the images of interest to zoom in for the details.)

This pair of Bluets are in the “in tandem” position before they form the “wheel” or “heart” position.  In this case another Bluet came by and this pair flew off “in tandem”.

Northern Crescents were nectaring on most of the wildflowers, especially oxeye daisies and dogbane.

It appears that Rick Cavasin would say that this Northern Crescent is female…  Those  almost white patches on the mid-forewing are not commonly seen.  IT MIGHT ALSO BE A TAWNY CRESCENT near the northern limit of its range.

This Dot-tailed Whiteface is looking for its next meal…

My first Northern Pearly Eye  I haven’t seen another one since this one photographed on July 4th….

This yearling is hoping that the dragonflies will start buzzing around to clear the deerflies on its face…

This looks like a Frosted Whiteface….

Is this dragonfly depositing eggs?

Another Frosted Whiteface?

A nice Nymphaea odorata, “also known as the American white waterlily, fragrant water-lily, beaver root, fragrant white water lily, white water lily, sweet-scented white water lily, and sweet-scented water lily”…

“The flowers open each day and close again each night and are very fragrant. Once the flowers are pollinated, the developing fruit is pulled back under water for maturation.“…

This looks like another Frosted Whiteface

Looks like an Acadian Hairstreak to me …

A very nice (unidentified) dragonfly…

The white dots indicate that this is a FEMALE Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

A Flower Crab Spider waiting to ambush some prey.  Click on the image to see 4 of its 6 eyes …

But this hoverfly stays just out of range…

I am not at all sure what is going on here!   Perhaps a ménage à trois Odonata style …

Four-spotted Skimmer in its usual perched position…

This butterfly was well camouflaged against this rock face along the Burwash Road…

I was lucky to get a dorsal view to identify this butterfly as a Compton Tortoiseshell.    It is another butterfly that will overwinter (sometimes in groups) in our area as an adult (In addition to the Mourning Cloak).  Notice its huge range in Northern North America….

I saw this Killdeer from the road entering Burwash.  Its chicks had fled to the safety of a clump of bush by the time I stopped.  Click on the image to see the beautiful feathering of this bird…

Dot-tailed Whiteface   perched on the remnants of a Yellow Goatsbeard seed stalk.

This little Grass Skipper might be laying eggs in the seed head of that grass.

Another Skipper is nectaring from a Red Clover.  It could be a Garita Skipperling, which is has been reported from Manitoulin Island.   This photo was made at Burwash, an abandoned industrial (farm) prison.

A grass skipper nectaring on Dianthus at Burwash.

A male Monarch enjoying nectar with a friend on a Common Milkweed plant.

Here a Skipper and a bee enjoying nectar on a Birdsfoot Trefoil

I am not sure what is happening here with these two Four-spotted Skimmers.  I suspect that they are competing for that perch …

This might be a Virginian Tiger Moth or Yellow Woolybear Moth Spilosoma virginica   crawling along the stems of dogbane.

Lots is going on in July in the Northern Temperate zones.

Meanwhile this adventure took place in Australia at the end of August.

20180701-02 Leps, Odes and other wildlife as July starts

I am starting to use the terms Leps (Lepidoptera — An Order of insects containing about 180,000 butterflies and moths)  and Odes (Odonata — An Order of carnivorous insects containing about 5,900 dragonflies and damselflies) as shorthand ways of titling these flying creatures.

Butterflies:  Rich Cavasin’s 5 Families of Ontario butterflies has about 48 photos of Slippers, 8 Swallowtails, 13 Whites and Sulphurs, 34 Gossamer-wings, and 50 Brushfoots in his Butterflies of Ontario website.   I’ve photographed and identified about 1/4 of them over the last couple of years.  A good exercise for an aging brain!   Once I’ve ID’d a butterfly I usually go to BAMONA to learn more about it. BAMONA includes verified sightings of 114 species of butterflies in Ontario (butterfly > Canada > Ontario in its Regional Species Checklists)

I’ve barely started with moths.

Dragonflies and Damselflies:  Ontario Nature Magazine list 27 species of dragonflies and 21 species of damselflies. Kurt Woods’ field reference Dragonflies of the North Woods list 102 species of Dragonflies alone.

Here are some photos made July 01-02 (almost two months ago!):


A skipper on Daisy Fleabane …

Various stages of bloom for one of the many potentilla species (cinquefoils) in our area …

Four-spotted skimmer perching on a “snakehead”  (top of a horsetail).

Same species …

Wild roses are blooming along the roadsides …

Grasshopper on a Dogbane leaf.

Two grasshoppers and a Monarch larva on a Milkweed plant…

Unknown  insect nectaring of an Oxeye daisy  (which is very very blue on  my monitor!)…

Skipper in two poses ….

I saw this American Redstart repeatedly dash out of the tag alders, hawk a dragonfly and then return to the tag alders.  I realized that it was finding protein for its hatchlings, so I waited for a while.  I was rewarded by seeing the bird jump up onto a dead tamarack to get a better look at the intruding photographer.

Meanwhile this Blanding’s turtle slowly made its way across the road — while the photographer got out of way to guard the spot from any traffic (On hwy 529).

Now, nearing the end of August the fall asters are showing in New Hampshire.

PS  The sunset at the top of the page is at Big Lake on Hwy 529.   A nice place.



20180628-30 End of June Eastern Phoebe, Monarchs, Hummingbird Clearwing, Skippers, Misumena, American Lady, Northern Crescent

Here are some pictures describing some activities at Brtthome at the end of June …

An Eastern Phoebe poses amidst some LED lights on my deck…

I think that this male was part of the first flight of Monarchs to arrive this spring.

June is the time for Snapping Turtles to lay their eggs, often in the loose gravel along the sides of roads — and also a time for foxes  (and others) to find the eggs for a meal.

The end of June is a  good time to find butterflies nectaring on roadside milkweed plants.

Clearwing Moths too:   Hemaris Thysbe

Skippers visit milkweeds also.

This one might be an Indian Skipper …  Or????

A green-eyed, yellow legged wasp

Bumblebee nectaring on Viper’s Bugloss …

I don’t see this very often.  A flower crab spider on Viper’s Bugloss…

Another ambush spider with the remnants of its prey …

This little skipper succumbed to a flower crab spider.   See the curled proboscis in the dead prey is typical, I think.

A rare web above an Oxeye Daisy …

Some sort of beetle having a snack …

The small white dots in those orange rectangles in the forewing identify this as Vanessa virginiensis the elegant American Lady  —— as opposed to the equally elegant Vanessa cardui which doesn’t have that small white dot in the orange rectangle.

A wasp (of some sort) nectaring on Common Yarrow…

Ilex verticillata, “the winterberry, is a species of holly native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama.

“Other names that have been used include black alder winterberry, brook alder, Canada holly,[3] coralberry, deciduous holly, deciduous winterberry, false alder, fever bush, inkberry, Michigan holly, possumhaw, swamp holly, Virginian winterberry, or winterberry holly.”  

A lot of winterberries grow in local wet areas, giving a splash of red colour in the late fall and early winter…


Tall meadow rue , one of three Thalictrums common in N. Ontario, blooms along the shorelines of swamps and streams in late June…

This Northern Crescent is picking up some nectar from an Oxeye Daisey.  Both appear quite ragged.

I am still in catch-up mode.  I think that I will be more subject organized for pictures made in July which contain lots of Leps and Odes.  Something like Blake’s Birder Blog of July 25th featuring Leps and Odes.

20180626 A day with Belted Kingfishers, Checkerspots, Swallowtails, Monarchs, Odonates, Bees and flies on a variety of blossoms.

I am still in Catch-UP Mode.

Back in the third week of June Predators and Pollinators were very busy.

This female Belted Kingfisher and it mate were warily hanging around the Aspen trees and utility wires near the water at “George’s Last Resort” for about two weeks.  This lady had her hairdo ruffled as she perched facing downwind….

Many bees, flies, wasps and butterflies were busy nectaring off of this very interesting (when viewed up close) Viper’s Bugloss:

Bees, wasps and hoverflies visited these Yellow Goat’s Beard flowers….

This uncommon Harris Checkerspot nectared on milkweeds…

This is one of this year’s single brood of Canadian Tiger Swallowtails, showing lots of wear and tear.  This year they seemed to appear and then disappear earlier than usual….

An Orange Belted Bumblebee joins in on the feasting …

The wide-apart eyes identifies this dragon fly as a clubtail.  But which one??

Is this a  Snowberry Clearwing Moth or is it a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth?   Both are common around here.  Especially this year.

First flight of Monarchs, which started arriving weeks earlier…

Hoverfly nectaring on Oxeye daisy…

A nice daylily at Moira’s driveway…

A double rose along Riverside Road…

A male Ebony Jewel Wing resting on a blade of grass ….

Daisy Fleabane has such a delicate flower…

Look at the long proboscis on that little Grass Skipper (which Grass Skipper??)….

Perhaps a Dot-tailed Whiteface???

A nice display of Cow Parsnip …. not to be confused with the invasive Giant Hog Weed (a very dangerous plant)….

I think that this is a European Skipper.  They have an interesting history in Ontario and have been seen along the seeded rights of way of the 620 km long James Bay Road:

This flower, and its occupant, is a good one to stay away from….

Ants are tending to their collection of green aphids:  An interesting example of primitive dairy-farming…..

Another one of the many Four-spotted Dragonflies seen near the end of June….

Ready to close those claws….  (click to enlarge to see those 6 eyes!)….


Shield beetle of some sort (?) …

Another ambush-type spider…

What is this beetle doing there??

A Skipper posing for a head and shoulders portrait ….

Common Chicory

is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive. In the 21st century, inulin, an extract from chicory root, has been used in food manufacturing as a sweetener and source of dietary fiber.

Chicory is grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and is now common in North America, China, and Australia, where it has become widely naturalized. “Chicory” is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia); these two closely related species are often confused.

In any event, it is a beauty to see along the roadsides in July….

Yes, another Four Spotted Dragonfly in its typical vertical perch….

A cluster of Daisy Fleabane in the sunlight against the shadow of deep bush…

These two damselflies (Bluets(?)) demonstrate one of the mating positions of Odonates.

One of the million Diptera species enjoying a snack…

Keep in mind that the above photos were made on June 26 —- a very active time of the year for birdies and bugs.

The first photo (of the Kingfisher) was made at 11:45 AM and the last photo (of the fly) was made at 4:37 PM.  I made over 685 photos during less than 5 hours.   A better measure is 228 since I always shoot those kinds of subjects with a 3-exposure bracket.  That works out to 228 compositions in 292 minutes or 1.28 minutes per composition — with driving the car and parking it in between shots.  (All were taken out of the car window with the 100-400 mm (200-800 EFL) Leica lens on the GH4).

Of the 685 photos I processed 177 selecting 32 pictures for this blog.  Processing (from raw files) and editing probably took 3 or 4 hours.  Uploading, researching  and writing this post probably took another 3 or 4 hours.

Now, on August 24, I am not making so many photos, concentrating instead on editing the earlier ones for the blog.  Slow progress  —  especially when I realize that I had some equally busy days in July.  I think that I’ll have to edit much more rigorously!

Rick has much better discipline in keeping his LEP(idoptera) LOG up to date. Check out his latest post: Mid-Atlantic Butterfly Field Forecast for the Week of 2018 August 25

In that post he links to This Gorgeous Map of Butterfly Evolution.   I downloaded the 7.7 MB map and it IS gorgeous!  Maybe it will help me in learning how to identify Skippers better!!!  Maybe I can find something comparable before the Odonates next spring!

20180624 June Flower crab spider, Northern Crescent, Shiny beetles, Hoverflies, Four-spotted skimmer.

These photos were taken in the third week of June along the Forest Access Road.  Pollinators and their predators were active…

A flower crab spider lies in wait in an Oxeye daisy…

This Skipper is avoiding the spider….

This Northern Crescent is checking out the Oxeye daisy bud….

A portion of the Forest Access road was invaded by these shiny beetles, eating everything in sight …

This dragonfly is eating its lunch while resting on a clump of earth…

Hoverflies were busy pollinating buttercups and daisies…

The first brood of White Admirals were flitting about, this one enjoying some sunshine …

Here are several photos of the Four-spotter Skimmer dragonfly.  Look closely at the first photo to see what the dragonfly is doing … (click on the photo to see what the predator is doing.)


These Four-spotted skimmers perch on vertical stems to eat their prey or to search for more — usually looking down-sun.  They seemed to be very prolific this year — feeding on mosquitoes and deer flies.  Those painfully biting deer flies also seemed to have a good year.  They make stopping beside water a pain sometimes!

It is now August 22 so I am a long ways behind in my blogging.  I got this in my mail a few days ago.  Well worth reading…


So is this…


and this …


Now I better get back to sorting and editing the load of pictures that have accumulated over the last two months!!!

Have you tried clicking on “The Picture Maker” in the right hand portion of the title block above?

20180622 to 20180819 A summer hiatus

I’ve been busy the last 2 months:  Making pictures, doing a lot of editing, monitoring a large wildfire and enjoying some very nice visits.   Unfortunately I’ve not taken the time to keep this blog up to date.

As a stop-gap you might want to click on “The Picture Maker” up on the title block.  Or click on this:  https://brtthome.com/the-picture-maker/

Both will take you to a very nice August 2018 article published in Parry Sound Life about my picture-making.

Also both of these excellent nature photography sites continue their good work:




20180615-22 Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies and Damselflies are members of Odonataan order of carnivorous insects, encompassing the dragonflies (Anisoptera) and the damselflies (Zygoptera). The Odonata form a clade, which has existed since the Triassic.

Dragonflies are generally larger, and perch with their wings held out to the sides; damselflies have slender bodies, and hold their wings over the body at rest.

This year we saw an unusually large number of Dragonflies active along our roadside ditches, especially where there was water —- since almost all “Odonates” or “Odes” deposit their eggs in water.

I have been using The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area to identify at least some of the 135 species seen around this area.

Dragonflies of the North Woods identifies 102 species of Dragonflies and I keep it in the car with me.

But I am just starting to learn my Odes.   Here are some examples in the same sequence as they were photographed from the third week of June this year.

Here is a Chalk-fronted Corporal, a SKIMMER, perched horizontally on a twig:

Chalk-fronted corporals often perch horizontally on the ground or on floating objects in the water, flying up to take prey from the air. They are gregarious for dragonflies, and are commonly seen perching in groups. They readily approach humans to feed on the mosquitoes and biting flies that humans attract.

A Four-spotted Skimmer (Chaser in the UK) perched on a stick.  Difficult to ID from this photograph but the abdomen, wing spots and colour match the ID criteria.

another Chalk-fronted Corporal….

What’s this one??


Four-spotted Skimmer?

This is a good example of a Four-spotted Skimmer:

Another one…

Another one again…

Another Four-spotted Skimmer …

Frosted Whiteface Skimmer.  Greg Lasley has a good collection of photographs here:


Chalk-fronted Corporal again.  See Greg Lasley’s collection.

This is one of the Bluets:

Dot-tailed Whiteface:    (More info at iNaturalist)

Chalk-fronted Corporal again.

The eyes set widely apart identifies this as a Clubtail.  Which one?   I think that it is a Dusky Clubtail.

A start:  Chalk-fronted Corporals, Four-spotter Skimmers, Dot-tailed Whiteface, Bluets  and Dusky Clubtails ——– a good start!!!   You’ll notice that you can explore  several links above.  I don’t yet have a good strategy for ID’ing Odes and am reading about them to recognize behaviour as an aid to identification.

In the meantime the Lepidoptera are flitting around.

Mary Holland just posted this:


Lots of fun!


20180616 Highbush Cranberry blooms, Oyster mushrooms, Hoverflies, Fritillaries, Skippers

Fruit plants are blooming, mushrooms are fruiting and insects are pollinating while gathering nectar.

Typical bloom pattern of Viburnum, perimeter sterile attractor blossoms surrounding interior fertile blossoms.   Highbush cranberry —- with it three-lobed leaf in bottom right, hence Viburnum trilobum

A well define but unidentified Hoverfly (Syrphid fly) pollinating a Canada Anemone.

A good yield of the delicious Oyster mushroom.

Two views of the Silver-bordered Fritillary pollinating an Oxe-eye daisy:


This looks like a Dreamy Duskywing nectaring on Common Yarrow.  It cousins, the Sleepy Duskywings are common in the States south of us but are occasionally seen in Southern Ontario.   As the climate changes we’ll probably be often challenged to discern the difference between the two species.

This looks like a Peck’s skipper nectaring on Cow Vetch.


Same species on a buttercup?  Eating the petal??

Always lots to learn out there!!!

A wonderfully illustrated place to learn about our natural environment:


20180615 butterflies, hoverflies, mating wasps, blooms, fertile ferns

A leisurely drive along Hwy 529, the Old Highway between Byng Inlet and Pointe au Baril, yielded some interesting images ….

This early group of Clintonia borealis (commonly blue-bead lily or Clintonia, also Clinton’s lily, corn Lily, cow tongue, yellow beadlily, yellow bluebeadlily, snakeberry, dogberry, and straw lily) was blooming along 529A on the way to Bayfield Inlet…

Within a day after turtles lay their eggs, predators (usually foxes) come by and have a feast….

The Cinnamon ferns (Osmunda – Royal fern family) are sprouting their spore-bearing fronds …

It appears that these little spheres (sporangia) will release spores when mature …

A variety of Syrphid flies are busy nectaring and pollinating oxe-eye daisies….

So are the Skipper butterflies…

including this Indian Skipper

Other insects like nectar also ….

and these male (smaller) and female (larger) thread-waisted wasps using the button of the ox-eye daisy to mate.  They might be Ammophilia nigricans….


This ( Silver-Bordered ?) Fritillary is resting on a leaf, after bobbing about through the grass …

Bumblebee visiting Orange Hawkweed for a snack …

Close relative, Yellow Hawkweed  ….

Purple Pitcher Plant blossoms are maturing.

Like other species of Sarracenia, S. purpurea obtains most of its nutrients through prey capture.[4] However, prey acquisition is said to be inefficient, with less than 1% of the visiting prey captured within the pitcher.[5] Even so, anecdotal evidence by growers often shows that pitchers quickly fill up with prey during the warm summer months. Prey fall into the pitcher and drown in the rainwater that collects in the base of each leaf.

If you are interested in cultivating pitcher plants:


Sarracenia do not self-pollinate and therefore require hand pollination or access to natural pollinators such as bees. Sarracenia pollen remains potent for several weeks when refrigerated, and so is stored by cultivators and used to pollinate later-flowering species. Given that all Sarracenia hybrids are fertile and will hybridize further, this characteristic allows cultivators to produce a limitless number of variants through hybridization.

An escaped garden variety Lupin along the roadside…

I made this picture because I found the fractal nature of this exposed rock to be interesting.   Then I saw the visitor and decided to add it to this posting.

Lichen patterns of growth, another example of fractals in nature…..

You might have noticed that I’ve stopped posting pictures of Odonates:  Damselflies and Dragonflies — in spite of the fact that we have a bumper crop of them this year.  I am trying to identify them so that you won’t experience the confusion I felt when seeing so many swarming over our ditches, ponds and streams —- munching away on black flies and mosquitoes!

In addition to studying the excellent Field Guide to The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and the Surrounding Area I have been using the following websites:


http://home.primus.ca/~naturalist/odonata.html  Links and pix links on pages 2, 3, 4.

http://onnaturemagazine.com/odonata-guide.html  Nice start

http://web.ncf.ca/bf250/odonata.html Ottawa area, good background

http://www.backyardnature.net/n/a/doo/  Good photo start to ID

Images for “Dragonflies of Ontario”.

I’ll add to this list as the study progresses.

Dragonflies and pollinators are large areas.  Lots to learn!   Watch for itty-bitty learnings  in next installments as the summer progresses.

20180613-14 Blooms, pollinators, turtles and oyster mushrooms

Here are samples of what was seen from the car along Hwy 529 and Riverside Road…

A Mallard drake keeps an eye open while drying after a swim …

Snapping turtle along the roadside on Riverside Rd…

Bunch of Pink Ladyslippers on my former property, seen from the road, but missed by most folks …

A different view of an Ox Eye Daisy …

Orange hawkweed up close.  To get closer, click on the image…

Maianthemum canadense (Canadian may-lily, Canada mayflower, false lily-of-the-valley, Canadian lily-of-the-valley, wild lily-of-the-valley, Two-leaved Solomonseal) in the rain ….

Cornus canadensis (Canadian dwarf cornel, Canadian bunchberry, quatre-temps, crackerberry, creeping dogwood) ….

This Oyster mushroom is fruiting on a dead Aspen.  The Aspen has been dead for several years.  The little black beetles on the gills are characteristic and help to id this choice edible mushroom.  Friends are cultivating Pleurotus ostreatus and, in addition to harvesting some, will use these to strengthen their culture.  The visitor on the cap below is a bonus….


This Canada Anemone blossom is near the end of its days, soon to be replaced by another one in bud.  The sharp leaves are characteristic and a good id clue …

Dave and Maureen’s beach on a misty day ….

I think that this is an ambush spider — with some spider web to help….

Apocynum cannabinum (dogbane, amy root, hemp dogbane, prairie dogbane, Indian hemp, rheumatism root, or wild cotton) is starting to bloom.

They are great attractors of pollinators including a large variety of butterflies.  However it is difficult to photograph visitors as their stays are momentary…

The plant serves as a larval host for the Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis, and Hummingbird Clearwing, Hemaris thysbe, moths. These moths are pollinators that resemble small hummingbirds.”

A grass skipper on a fernleaf …

Harris checkerspot resting on a Canada Anemone petal…

Claude Monet (1840-1926) would’ve liked this yellow pond lily against the reflections off of the rippled water…

The domed, speckled shell and bright underchin positively identifies this turtle as a Blanding’s.



Emerald Euphoria Beetle

Mid-June Flowers in New Hampshire