20170921 Dabbling Mallards,Tussock Moths, Paper Wasp, Winterberries, Northern Black Wasp, Milkweed Bugs, Sandcherries

Warm dry weather stimulated a lot of animal activity in our neighbourhood.  Some examples:

Mallards are dabbling in the mud for fresh greens as they gradually make their way south.

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars are eating some milkweed leaves prior to overwintering in a grey fuzzy cocoon.

Paper wasp nectaring on the last of the goldenrods…

Hoverfly on fall aster …

Whiteface Meadowhawk is resting on a winterberry leaf….

This Ilex verticillata shows its brilliant fruit amoung the rocks at the eastern shore of Riverside Drive.

Northern Black Wasp (AKA Great Black Wasp ,with very interesting characteristics ) on goldenrod …

A bunch of Milkweed Bug Nymphs on Milkweed seed pods:


    “The large milkweed bug feeds on the seeds of milkweed plants. In the process, this bug sequesters toxic cardiac glycosides from its hostplant. The bright reddish-orange and black color patterns of the nymphs and adults are aposematic colors advertising toxicity.  The milkweed bug is a member of the order Hemiptera (true bugs), family Lygaeidae (seed bugs).  The development of the milkweed bug from egg to adult is an example of Hemimetabolous development (incomplete metamorphosis).  The young nympths closely resemble the adults, but do not have wings or reproductive organs.
“In the field the female milkweed bug lays her eggs in crevices between milkweed pods.  A female lays about 30 eggs a day and 2000 during her lifetime.  Egg-laying begins 1 to 15 days after mating and peaks at about 20 days.
“At  84 degrees F the egg stage lasts four days.  The color of the egg gradually changes from yellow to deep orange as it nears hatching.  The newly emerged nymph is about the size of a pinhead and is bright orange.  The nymph grows by a series of molts.  The stages between molts are called instars.  There are five nymphal instars, each lasting about six days at 84 degrees F.  The adult lives for about one month.”

Probably a white faced meadowhawk or kin ….

Monarchs are still heading south and getting energy from fall asters ….

This is the Great Lakes Sand Cherry often harvested, along with Choke Cherries and especially Black Cherries, to make wine or jelly.

Warning: The seeds of all Prunus species found inside the fruits contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a person’s age weight physical condition and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. (www.wildflower.org) Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Some Fragrant White Water Lilies are late blooming:

A busy time of year before a more restful winter.