20170715 Part 2 of 2: Outing with Ray and Ivo – Burwash

Above photo:  Some of the original residents of the town of Burwash

On Sunday Sudbury photographers Ray Thoms and Ivo Lacle came down to check out butterflies etc in the Britt neighbourhood.  (Click on their links to see some excellent camera and processing work.  You also might want to check out “Making Pictures” up there in the header block.)

Part 1 shows what was seen along Hwy 529, this Part 2 shows what was seen at the former Burwash Industrial Farm.

Near the entrance these Ebony Jewelwings were seen mating in the little creek that runs though a road culvert:

Three females are depositing eggs in underwater vegetation while two males hover overhead:


At Neilly Lake, Ivo used his computer to send Loon calls from a bird app.  This Common Loon was attracted and seemed curious about the source of the calls.

It even put on its territorial display for our cameras.

After 10 minutes or so, they lost interest and paddled away to resume their fishing activities…

The European Skippers were skipping about in the abandoned Timothy hayfields (see Remarks here ) and nectaring on a variety of flowers, including this Ox Eye Daisy:

Perhaps a Shield beetle?

This dragonfly hanging onto a grass stem along the shore of Neilly Lake looks like a Black Meadowhawk ….

Honeysuckle berries are ripening.  Since these are cultivars, they may be edible, but I’m not going to try them! …

The lack of a second chestnut coloured band across it breast indicates that this is a male Belted Kingfisher posing for the camera — a very rare event with these skittish birds.

Lots of European Skippers were nectaring on Dianthus, ( AKA Pink, Sweet William)

Lots of Day Lilies remain at the former townsite …

This male Bobolink is resting (I would want to rest also after flying up from Central South America.  See Cool Facts in the link)  on a fence post in the open area …

This Savannah Sparrow doesn’t need as much rest.  It just came up from the Southern States to spend the summer with us.

I cannot ID this slender birdie.   Can you?

EDIT:   Mystery solved.  Click on the second image in the Photo Gallery at this Audubon Site.  Scroll down that page to see the effects of Climate Change on the migration of these Threatened Species.

In 2013 the Ontario Government published a Recovery Strategy for Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlarks.  It is worthwhile sifting through it for gems of information about these two Species At Risk.

This youthful American Kestrel was guarding the entrance to the site.  It might have hatched in the Kestrel box on a telephone pole near the former townsite.

This is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth … much bigger than the Snowberry Clearwing Moth.  Its forelegs are also pale coloured compared with the Snowberry’s black forelegs.

Spotted Knapweed, an attractive but nasty invasive species….

Pearly Everlasting are starting to bloom…. beauties!  And useful:

“The American Lady Butterfly uses pearly everlasting as a host plant for its young. In general, the damage is minimal and the plant fully recovers, although there are exceptions. The flowers are magnets for pollinators such as butterflies and bees, while the plant is said to repel some insects that gardeners may consider bothersome.”

A good time was had by all.   We’ll be looking forward to Ray’s and Ivo’s posts of their photos at their 500px websites:




20170713 Hwy 522 Highbush Cranberry, Tachinid fly, European Skipper, Red Admiral, Northern Spring Azure, Bristly Sarsaparilla, Tansy, Chicory

Above photo:  Sweat Lodge frame at Portage Lake


We stopped in at Portage Lake to see the wigwam and sweat lodge frames left from the Summer rituals celebrated at Solstice.

We also went for a short trip to see the sights along Hwy 522:

It looks like a good crop of Highbush Cranberries this year.


This looks like a Tachinid Fly which is visiting the last of the Common Yarrow for nectar…

Unknown beetle(?) up close and personal with what’s left of a Common Vetch flower.

Looks lie a European Skipper nectaring on a Common Vetch.

Tamarack cones are slowly changing colour from purple to brown …

Evening Primrose, Oenothera, are starting to bloom in earnest now …  we’ll be keeping an eye out for its pollinators since …”the bees which visit Oenothera are generally vespertine temporal specialists: bees that forage in the evening.”

And the  Great Mulleins are starting to bloom also, especially when close to a south facing rock, like this one:


Another of the many Red Admirals that we’ve seen this year, leading us to wonder if this year’s migration resembles the huge migration of 2012.


A newly seen tan, fuzzy, bee fly …. but which one???

A Northern Spring Azure  (there is some debate about this genus, Celastrina, in Ontario)

A nice simple Inuksuk:

Pale Corydalis still blooming!

Bladder Campion is starting to release  its seeds…

Bristly Sarsaparilla are starting to form their characteristic dark blue fruit..

Bombus is finishing the nectar in the florets of the Ox Eye Daisy.

Moss spore capsules are releasing spores…

Three different fern species in these two photos? …

Tansy is starting to bloom along the roadsides …  this one with a visitor…


So is Chicory ( aka blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, and wild endive.)…. related to these yummy edibles: endive, radicchio, radichetta, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf, and witloof (or witlof).


Have you noticed the new Gallery up there in the Title Block?

Try clicking on Selected Winter Photographs (in a menu under Gallery) to see a start to a new project.  Or you can just click here.




20170702 Burwash, Cumulonimbus, skippers

Photo:  Distant storm scene, seen from  Burwash

We made a brief trip to Burwash as it looked like a storm was brewing up there, half way to Sudbury.  No storm but we found some other scenes in our short trip …

Some cumulonimbus clouds up to the northeast, probably dropping some showers east of Sudbury….

Moth that I can’t find in the authoritative Selected Moths from Ontario Canada.

Upside down Monarch larva chomping on a leaf in the rain …

Bee-mimic Flower Beetle gathering nectar and pollen from an OED.

European Skipper with visitor …

European Skippers also like Birdsfoot Trefoil nectar.

I think that this might be a skipper of some sort but cannot find a good ID — yet.

This small skipper looks like a Tawny Edged Skipper

The long antennae indicate a katydid, bush cricket or long horned grasshopper.  It looks like the photo in the wikipedia article about Tettigoniidae.  Further investigation showed similar looking Grey Bush Crickets but they are all in the south shores of the UK.

Nice stormy clouds…

Three buddies enjoying the afternoon sun after the rain showers.

The best butterfly book I have is the ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario.

I use it when I cannot ID a critter on-line using Rick Cavasin’s Butterflies of Ontario or the City of Toronto’s downloadable gem: Butterflies of Toronto.

And, if you’d enjoy a bit of entertaining writing try this:  From Foxtrot to Technobot.

20170630 Hoverfly, Bombus tenarius, European Skipper, Peck’s Skipper, Dun Skipper, Thread-waisted Wasp, Ambush spiders, Bee-mimic Flower Beetle, Pitcher Plant

Photo:  Big Lake from Highway 529

End of June saw increased activity of pollinators, especially hoverflies who are also known as flower flies or syrphid flies.   If I stop and look at a fresh Ox Eye daisy I’ll usually see a variety of bees and hoverflies visiting to collect nectar and pollen from the center yellow portion.  The insect family Syrphidae has over 800 species in North America. They perform a huge role as pollinators and recent studies have shown that many species’ larvae are effective  in preying on garden pests such as aphids.  No wonder organic gardeners are delighted to see hoverflies.   Although many species mimic bees, wasps and other biting/stinging insects, hoverflies are harmless.  This downloadable Key to the Genera of Nearctic Syrphidae is a wonderfully illustrated and written key to identifying hoverflies … at least down to the Genus level.  I just found it and will be using it as time permits, keeping in mind that IDing insects at the species level can be a very time consuming thing, especially since the taxonomies are constantly, like most science, changing.

In the meantime here are a couple of pix of a hoverfly, Eristalis  spp(?), I think, nectaring (and pollinating) Common Yarrow.


This looks like an Orange Belted Bumblebee, Bombus ternarius ,collecting nectar from the florets of an Ox Eye Daisy.  Click on the image to enlarge it and check out the arrangement of the florets at the bottom of the photograph.

See Joe Bartok’s Brief Primer on ‘Aster’ology  to see how this inflorescence is organized.  Bartok’s web site is very good.

Another hoverfly of a different sort …

This European Skipper is feasting on nectar before going back to its common habitat — hayfields.

Peck’s Skipper on a leaf of a Spreading Dogbane, a relative of the Common Milkweed.

A break from all these bugs:

Did you see the fly on the iris above?!  There is no escaping them!

I think that this Dun Skipper is one of the Three Witches —“3 small, dark, difficult-to-separate skippers that fly at the same time in similar habitats.”  The other two are Little Glassy Wing and Northern Broken Dash.  Here is Rick Cavasin’s photos of the Dun Skipper.


A Thread-waisted Wasp:    (I think that it is an Ammophilia)

This might be a Potter (or Mason) Wasp on the OED.

Looks like the common Apis mellifera to me, on Viper’s Bugloss …

One of the “Beeflies” of Ontario, methinks.

What is going on here????

The Crab Spider has parted the florets to grab the Flower Chafer as it was nectaring on the OED.  The Flower Chafer is the same as the Bee-Mimic Flower Beetle which illustrated the difficulty with common names.  But I use Bee-Mimic Flower Beetle instead of T. assimilis because it is more descriptive and easier to remember than some historical botanist’s name.


Here are a pair of Bee-Mimic Flower Beetles in happier times.   And here is a good article on pollinator mimicry, which helps to explain why identifying these rascals is so difficult … for me, at least.


Uh, Oh!  Another  (Ground?) Crab Spider laying in wait ….

A break from the bugs:

Yes, the blossom of a slowly maturing Pitcher Plant.

Back to the Bugs ….

Including yet another Crab Spider …

What do you see here?   Does any word spring to mind?

Alex celebrates Canada 150