20170626-27 Crab Spider, Skipper, Bumblebees, Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Beaked Hazelnut, Yellow Toadflax, Long Hoverfly, American Goldfinch, Viper’s Bugloss

We had a couple of breaks in the continual rain so we got out to see what we could see…

Bumblebee foraging for nectar on Ox Eye Daisy …

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A crab spider (?) lying in wait on the top of a Cow Parsley blossom:

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A Sweat Bee, I think, on an Ox Eye Daisy:

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An unknown spider (Xysticus??) looks to be manhandling a carcass of a Goldenrod Crab Spider from its Ox Eye Daisy.

A critter in the last of the Canada Anemones …

One of the many Ontario Skippers (European?) on vetch …

First sighting of Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax,  yellow toadflax, or butter-and-eggs) this year:

This looks like a Long Hoverfly

Wild plum with Plum Pocket

Remember those beautiful little flowers in April, about the same time as Red Maple?    Yes!   Corylus cornuta that will be ready to harvest in a month.

 

A pair of American Goldfinches.   Dancing?  Maybe!

“American Goldfinches breed later than most North American birds. They wait to nest until June or July when milkweed, thistle, and other plants have produced their fibrous seeds, which goldfinches incorporate into their nests and also feed their young.”

Watch me dive!!

Uh!  Oh!  Bombus ternarius, commonly known as the orange-belted bumblebee or tricoloured bumblebee, in fatal embrace of a Goldenrod Crab Spider.

Another Bombus nectaring at a Viper’s Bugloss blossom.

 

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth —- First time I’ve seen one on a Viper’s  Bugloss.

Bumblebee really gets into the Blueweed.

Hummingbird Clearwing is uncoiling its proboscis in preparation for nectaring …

Whenever we get a bit of sunshine the pollinators get busy doing their thing.  The very small insects, including hoverflies and skippers don’t seem to be deterred by rain.

Finally we must have one of Diana’s beauties, just in time for Canada Day:

See the visitor?

Speaking of visitors, have a look at these beauties.

20170625 Hoverflies, Plum pocket, Polydrusus formosus

We have been paying close attention to the smaller pollinators out and about on these chilly days.

Some kind of fly taking in some nectar through its proboscis …

Green flying ant or green sweat bee??

Another Syrphid or Hoverfly ….

Hmmm….

 

Hmmm??

 

This is a Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil ….

I am seeing these ambushers on every outing nowadays.  I suspect that I am seeing more out there!

Spreading Dogbane is an important source of nectar for many pollinators…

This might be a yellow water buttercup.  I’ll have to keep and eye out for more….

Monet, again ….

This appears to be Plum Pocket Disease, which can also affect our wild cherries:

 

Good story about Luna Moths.

20170623 Rainy Day, hoverfly, Crab spider, Tarnished Plant Bug, Japanese Beetle, Cedar Waxwing, Great Blue Heron, White Water Lily, Wood Satyr, Tamarack Cones

On the way back from the Norse Brewery (along Hwy 69, off  Woods Road) we stopped to make some pictures of nature in the rain.  Here are some of them:

Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify,[1] western salsify, western goat’s-beard, wild oysterplant, yellow goat’s beard, goat’s beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, salsify) gathering some raindrops…

A Tarnished Plant Bug resting on an Ox Eye Daisy petal:  Also: TPB

Click on this photo to see the water droplets on the various parts of this Crab Spider.

Notice the discarded parts of an earlier meal of this Crab Spider ….

What are those little red balls on this Syrphid Fly, (Toxomerus geminatus ?) aka Hoverfly or Flower Fly?

Green beetle enjoying the water droplets …

Japanese beetle (?) out in the rain, with water droplets on its exoskeleton.

Wet grass …

Wet day lilies…

Another hover fly …

5 Cedar Waxwings and a smaller birdie on a snag…

Duck doing a low pass over a GBH.

Little Wood Satyr on a dry leaf, under the canopy …

Fragrant White Water Lilies are ascending now…

This is the first time that I have noticed the Tamarack cones change from purplish to pale green.  Apparently I am not alone.

Mark Berkery just posted some more amazing images.

 

20170621 Summer Solstice Ambush, Painted Lady, Monarch, Thalictrum, Water Lilies, Sweat bee, Crab Spider

We were out on Old Still River Road and Hwy 529 down to Big Lake on our National Aboriginal Day on the Summer Solstice.  Here are some sights seen along the way.

 

A well worn Painted Lady visits a naturalized Red Clover blossom for some nectar…

The Meadow Rues are bursting into bloom now…

This Sweat Bee is gathering pollen on  Common Yarrow, which have just started blooming.

Beware this crab spider poised to ambush a “customer” with its poised front claws.

Another one, poised to strike:

Up closer.   Click on the photo so see its eyes clearly.

It has retracted its front claws, perhaps to move.   Or maybe to make picture-making a little easier for the photographer.

As we passed the pond at Big Lake…

We saw more critters feeding on Yarrow nectar …

Monarch and Sweat Bee sharing a blossom …..

Alas! for this Sweat BeeAt last! says this crab spider!

If you click on the photo you can see one of the spider’s eyes as it sucks the vital juices out of the bee’s “neck”.

On the way home, the setting sun illuminated this nice triplet of Yellow Pond Lily blooms …

One of my internet acquaintances says, “the connection one gets from trying to understand the subtleties of nature is truly the best.

PS   The shelf fungus at the top of this post appears to be Dryad’s Saddle.  It is always wise to positively ID a mushroom from several sources before tasting it.

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20170620 Jamot Rd Monarch, White Admiral, Harris’s Checkerspot, Painted Lady, Tufted Loosestrife, Sheep Laurel, Ruffed Grouse

I don’t use a compost pile anymore as I have had bear problems.  So nowadays I return kitchen vegetable and animal waste back to “the bush” — a natural recycle.  After that and a doggie walk, we spent an enjoyable afternoon idling along Jamot Lumber Road.    This is some of what we saw:

The Monarchs are feeding on orange hawkweeds and laying eggs at the bases of common milkweed leaves.

Are these little flies feeding on something?

A yellow tufted loosestrife growing from the top of an altered beaver dam.

This is an amazing shot when you look closely!   Click on it to see what the White Admiral has in the coil of its proboscis.

 

Here is a closeup from a photo taken 10 seconds after the above one.

Is it eating a grain of sand?  Hint:  See the last item on this list of Butterfly Garden Necessities.

Two good ID photos of the White Admiral:

I think that this is a Harris’s Checkerspot, Closyne harrisii.

Green bug on ox eye daisy …

This ruffed grouse was having a bath in the dust along the side of the road.  Maybe it is molting.

Common cinquefoil …

This Sheep Laurel is blooming much later than the ones along Shebeshekong road.

Two Chalk fronted corporals … who, “readily approach humans to feed on the mosquitoes and biting flies that humans attract.”

Female above

Male below…

Pretty green bug on petals of blackberry flowers …

Back in Britt, the lilies in Diana’s flower garden are starting to bloom, to be resplendent on Canada Day.

And a Painted Lady on her  (Diana’s) walkway…

This is a real feast:  http://www.randysnaturephotography.com/butterfly_and_insect_index.htm

And it is a great reference for identifying most of the little critters we see in the air, foraging on flowers, holding on to perches and laying eggs all around us.

 

Worth looking at:  https://www.chelseagreen.com/blogs/oxeye-daisy/

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20170618-20 Sandhill Cranes, Ring Billed Gulls, Brewers Blackbird, Mallard Duck, Killdeer, Ruby throated Hummingbird

My friend Dave twice phoned to tell me of Sandhills visiting his place.   This pair was seen Sunday afternoon.   They were very calm and I was able to approach to within 10 m in the car.   Click on the photos to see the details of these interesting birds.

That stern look always reminds me of John Diefenbaker!

They were stabbing their beaks about an inch in to the soil to extract grubs that were pushed up by recent rainfalls.

There were some puddles around for this bird to wade in.

Up close and personal as they walked along the mowed roadway to Dave and Irene’s house.

This quartet was seen early Tuesday (7:17) morning in front of the skeleton of Dave’s Barn….

Ring-bills seem to hang out with Sandhills.  I don’t know why.

While the Sandhills were feasting on grubs, this Brewers Blackbird

caught a dragonfly resting on a blade of grass.

One of the Sandhills wandered over to a trickle of water flowing through the field to visit with a Mallard drake and a Killdeer.

The Killdeer gradually came closer to me but kept an eye on the duck and crane.

Then Drake and Killdeer started to go cross country….

Lynn came along and also managed to photograph this jump…

An hour later Dave came back into his driveway and the Sandhills played “follow the leader” in a stream take-off.

Lead is safely airborne as those in line astern leap into the air…

On the climb-out

Above the trees …

Up, up and away!

Later I visited Dave and Irene when this Ruby Throated Hummingbird posed for us.  After being quite nondescript it flexed its throat feathers to demonstrate the basis of colour in this bird.  This article on Structural Coloration is more detailed and does not make the common error of conflating refraction and diffraction.

If you scroll back up to the Brewers Blackbird you’ll see another example of structural coloration.

Audubon has an opinion of the effect of Keystone XL on Sandhills.

Ontario has some strange laws regarding the control of Sandhills in farmer’s fields.

I have been corresponding with a photographer who has some extraordinary words of wisdom here:  http://035c417.netsolhost.com/WordPress/category/a-photography-art-blog/page/3/

He can relate to Making Pictures (which pops up when you click on it in the title block of this blog).  Does it make sense to you?

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20170617 Yellow goatsbeard, pink ladyslipper, viper’s bugloss, cinnamon fern, tufted loosestrife, pitcher plant, dogbane, potentilla, cow parsnip, pollinators

An afternoon drive down Hwy 529 yielded some interesting scenery…

Yellow goatsbeard stayed open in spite of a light rainshower:

When you look closely (click on the photo) you can clearly see the anthers on this seed head of grass…

Patch of pink ladyslipper orchids, in a sphagnum bog just off of the rock dump north of Big Lake.

Viper’s bugloss being pollinated by a visiting bumblebee….

Cinnamon fern, named for its spore-bearing fertile fronds …

First (and only, so far) sighting of tufted loosestrife

The purple pitcher plant .6 km N of 529A is in mid-bloom.

Possibly a (ground?) crab spider of some sort waiting in ambush.  It didn’t move at all.

I am now reasonably certain that the Monarchs are laying eggs on the yet-to-bloom milkweeds …

Another copious source of nectar for a variety of pollinators, including many butterflies … Spreading Dogbane.

“Potentilla simplex, also known as common cinquefoil or old-field five-fingers or oldfield cinquefoil, is a perennial herb.

Pollinators include mason bees, small carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, halictid bees, syrphid flies, tachinid flies, blow flies, and others. Less common pollinators are wasps and butterflies.”

 

Nice camouflage!   (The ID is also “camouflaged” in my brain!)

I have seen several of these, some with all of the petals removed.

She loves me.

She loves me not.

She loves me.

Etc.   ??

Painted Ladies have more “eyes” than American Ladies:

Backlit Cow Parsnip looking towards the setting sun ….

While trying to ID the above spider I came across this link to very fine nature photography:

http://www.randysnaturephotography.com/index.html

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