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


20180610-12 Birdies, bugs and blooms

Spring is here!  Lots of new things to see.  Some familiar sights too — like this Mallard cruising through the duckweed on a pond along Hwy 522…


Yellow pond lily with visitor, possibly attracted by the alcoholic scent of the blossom:

Orange hawkweed up close.  Click on the picture to get even closer…

Fern frond enjoying a few minutes in the sunshine….

When I first saw this, I thought that it was an Eastern Phoebe.

Then it flew away …. not an Eastern Phoebe.  But what is it??   Rictal bristles indicate an insectivore.   Some sort of fly-catcher??

Nice picture of buttercup.  Usually difficult to photograph because of its shiny surface.

The purple pitcher plants are continuing to grown along Highway 529 …


Another buttercup…

Pollen floating on a little pond (or is it floating in the sky?)

Solomon’s plume

Ox Eye Daisy visited by a nectaring Flower Fly.  (aka Hover Fly, Syrphid Fly)

A little skipper on the sphagnum moss …

Another skipper (duskywing?) nectaring on cow vetch …

Common Yarrow is attracting lots of pollinators …

I heard this Merlin near the end of Riverside Drive.  Click on the “Listen” button in the link to hear what I heard.   I think that it might have a nest in the area.

An iridescent European Starling posing for the photog….

Wild roses are adding their beauty and fragrance along the roadsides…

I have no idea what this birdie is.  Finch?

As usual, I am learning that there is lots to learn in nature!

A good place to learn:




20180607-09 Swallowtail, Song Sparrow, Grouse, Tree Swallow, Brown Thrasher, Forest Tent, Crab Spider, Wasp

We are seeing more and more springtime flora and fauna out and about nowadays.  Some samples:

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies are still nectaring on a variety of blossoms including black cherries and lilacs.  Soon we may see its caterpillars on some of the black cherry leaves.  Something to watch for.

Canada Anemone in full bloom.  The greenish pistils are surrounded by yellow-orange male stamens/anthers.

Red Osier Dogwoods are blooming, occasionally visited by pollinators, usually native  bees and flies.

In almost every thicket, Song Sparrows serenade passers-by.

This Ruffed Grouse paused on the side of the road, permitting this portrait.  Click on the image to get closer.

This unknown plant has been blooming along damp roadsides for about 2 weeks. It is about 15 cm high and each cluster is about 3 cm in diameter, each containing several flowerlets about 0.5 cm in diameter…..

A nice Northern Starflower (Trientalis borealis) in sphagnum moss….

This  Great Lakes Sandcherry, Prunus pumila, might be of the susquehanae  variety.  It is seen near the end of Riverside Road, growing as a shrub about 60 cm high.

Pale Corydalis are still blooming in their natural rockeries.  I have yet to see Yellow Corydalis or Golden Corydalis.

This Tree Swallow is near its swallow bird box on Riverside Road.

This Brown Thrasher (or its relatives) has been seen in the same area (say 100 m X 50 m) for the last several years.

An infestation of Forest Tent Caterpillars on an Aspen along Riverside Road.  3 adjacent Aspens were infested.  They were treated with the soapy water solution and expired.

This bumblebee is nectaring on this raspberry blossom.  Notice the pollen baskets on the rear legs.

Uh!  Oh!  Look at what is hiding behind these raspberry flowers!  A flower (crab) spider ….

A wasp gathering a few rays of sunshine on a warm rock….

There is some research which indicates why this sort of image helps to relax people…



Click on the following to enlarge it.  If possible go full screen on your monitor to enjoy it.  Nice?

Mary Holland reports that the Pearl Crescent butterflies are emerging in New England.  I think that I’ve seen some Northern Crescents around here.

20180606 Late spring flowers, rock pigeon, eastern kingbird, pearl crescent, skipper, merlin

We stopped several times along Hwy 526 to enjoy some blossoms, butterflies and birdies…

This is the most uncommon cherry in our neigbourhood — Great Lakes Sandcherry

It grows up to about 75 cm.

This shrub is also low, but is usually seen in tamarack and/or spruce bogs — Labrador Tea.

Along the rocky roadside of Hwy 529 is this clump of Purple Pitcher Plants….

Sparse blooms on this Canada Mayflower….

Aha!  Two parents now.  One chick.

Wild roses are just starting their long blooming period…

This rock pigeon was pecking at insects along the roadside…

This pair of Eastern Kingbirds with their white-tipped tails were hawking insects from Dave and Irene’s pagewire fence…

As Rick Cavasin says at his website, “The Pearl and Northern Crescents were declared separate species relatively recently, and there is still some question as to whether there are additional species in this complex.  In any case, distinguishing them is problematic, as everyone seems to use slightly different criteria to tell them apart.  As such, my identifications here should be taken with a grain of salt.”    Here is more information on the Northern Crescent.

This little critter looks like a Hobomok Skipper

Here is a Syrphid (Hover or Flower) Fly nectaring on a early Oxeye Daisy …

Nice rock reflection seen from Skerryvore Community Road, off of Shebeshekong Road.

A good crop of Cottongrass looking west from Shebeshekong Road in the Shawanaga Reserve.

A nice example of Iris versicolor (Blue Flag Iris)

First showing of the much-maligned Orange Hawkweed (also called the Devil’s Paintbrush by some folks in BC.)

The spring sun backlights this Cow Vetch , another plant considered as invasive by some folks.

This Merlin surveyed the photographer ….

… before flying off into the Wild Blue Yonder ….

Some beautiful photography and text here:  https://dragonfliessmile.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/mushrooms/

Here too:  https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/bunchberry-flowering/


20180602 Canada Anemone, Tiger swallowtails, dragonflies

Sunny warm weather brought the flowers ahead quickly but the most impressive sights were the swarms of Canadian Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on the Choke and Black Cherries.   I can’t tell the difference between the Canadian Tiger and the Eastern Tiger but since these are north of the Bruce Peninsula I assume that they are Canadian Tigers.

Click on these pictures to see the details of these Papilio canadensis 





Bees were busy too ….



I didn’t see the bluet until I had the lens focused on the dragonfly…

Very stubby dragonfly.  I see that I’m going to have to work at educating my eyes to be able to ID these Odonates.   I have the very authoritative Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Park and the Surrounding Area, but I haven’t yet taken the time to study it properly ….

I am still seeing these yet-to-be-identified moths deep in the grass, sedges and equisetum.

Here and there we are seeing Northern White Violets in full bloom…

I don’t know why there is a bluish tinge to the “petals” of this Cornus canadensis (Canadian dwarf cornel, Canadian bunchberry, quatre-temps, crackerberry, creeping dogwood) .  Those “petals” are actually bracts which start out to be very green when the flower (inflorescence) is immature.

A couple of nice pictures of Canada anemone ….


Catching the light is an important part of making nice pictures.


Interesting information about White Tailed Deer here: