20170715 Part 1 of 2: Outing with Ray and Ivo – Hwy 529

Above photo:  Morning Silhouettes from Old Still River Road

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.)

Before their arrival I warmed up the camera by visiting some nice spots as the sun was rising through the morning fog.  Here is the Still River at St Amants Corner at 6:02 am:

CPR main line from Old Still River Road …

Still River from Farm Lane Road …

Much later, 9:30 the droplets of “fog” are slowly evaporating as the air warms up…

These two are worth expanding to full size, especially the upper one.

Droplets are slowly evaporating from the overnight blooms of this Evening Primrose…

Morning light is a good time to enjoy the colours reflected by  new leaves (that do not yet have fully developed red absorbing chlorophyll).


Great Spangled Fritillaries were abundant on the milkweeds.

I often use the rear underwing to get a good identification, so both of these photographs are useful for ID purposes.

This ragged but beautiful American Lady was flitting about on thistles …

The  common use of ‘American Painted Lady’ and the similarity of V. virginiensis with V. cardui makes this useful link an important aid in identifying these two species of beautiful butterflies. (That little white dot on each wing never fails.)

Enlarge this one to see a rascally American Lady sticking her tongue (proboscis) out:

I think that this (Second Generation since hibernation in Mexico) female Monarch has just deposited an egg behind her right foot.   The eggs deposited in mid-July will metamorphose into 3rd generation adults  around mid-August.  That generation will probably produce one more generation, the 4th, which will enter reproductive diapause so that their energy will be used for the long trip south.  The reproductive effort is strongest in second and third generations.  The first and last generations use substantial energy travelling.

Stocking up on nectar to mate and produce progeny.

This Orange Sulphur butterfly is probably first generation. It is nectaring to store energy for a second generation that may move somewhat south for overwintering in chrysalis form.

Part 2 of 2 will follow this Part 1 chronologically, but will appear above this on in the blog sequence.  Complicated, eh?


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.



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/



20170614 Hwy 529, Cow Parsnip, Ox Eye Daisy, Brewer’s Blackbird, Painted Lady, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Monarch, Blanding’s Turtle


Hwy 529, Cow Parsnip, Ox Eye Daisy, Brewer’s Blackbird, Painted Lady, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Monarch, Blanding’s Turtle

At 20170613  there is a photo of Cow Parsnip with this advice:

Near the Twin Rivers Bridge, at the confluence of Harris Creek and Naiscoot River, there are many Cow Parsnip plants growing along the roadside.  Although they are somewhat phototoxic they are not as deadly as their look-alike close cousin, Giant Hogweed.

A nice little explanation showing the difference is at this link.   It makes sense to avoid both plants.

This photo shows a slightly later stage of development, as the sheath unfolds to show the flower head emerging to eventually form an umbel, the characteristic inflorescence of the carrot family.

Roadside Ox Eye Daisies are in full bloom now, attracting and feeding many pollinators … and enhancing the roadside.


When I first saw this bird I thought that it was a Red Winged Blackbird.   But NO RED.   And it certainly wasn’t a female.  Too small for a Common Grackle.  I eventually decided that it was a Brewer’s Blackbird, an uncommon sight for me.  Here is some interesting background on that bird in this neck of the woods.

Note size, yellow eyes and iridescence as this birdie takes a load of protein to its nest….

Painted Lady on a yellow hawkweed.   Good news for Albertans this year!


Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are also feasting on newly flowering yellow hawkweed.

  This was a surprise.  My first sighting of a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth on orange hawkweed.  The flowers had just opened today.

Proboscis is starting to uncoil for arrival at the next feeding station.

First one of the season!  This year’s migration map indicates that they’ve been here for about a week.  This is a great site.

I had seen some Viceroy Butterflies earlier but couldn’t get a photo.  Here is a great exercise for telling the difference between Monarch, Viceroy and Queen Butterflies.

A large Blanding’s Turtle is checking the photog out from a safe distance.  It slipped into the water afterwards.

Here’s an interesting news report about new crops for BC agriculture.