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/



20170616 Dogwood, chestnut sided warbler, highbush cranberry, Canada anemone, blight, wild rose, painted lady, wood satyr, crab spider, salsify.

Dogwood, chestnut sided warbler, highbush cranberry, Canada anemone, blight, wild rose, painted lady, wood satyr, crab spider, salsify.

Some scenes along the Old Still River Road and Hwy 529 ..

The dogwoods are in full bloom now …

This Chestnut Sided Warbler views the photographer from its “hide”.

A nice display of the V. trilobum …

Canada anemone is in full bloom now …

Many of the Choke Cherries seem to be affected by a blight of some sort this year …

Up close:

This wild plum has a similar affliction …

All of the local serviceberries have some sort of disease also.  I have yet to see any serviceberry mature to edible fruit over the last 20 years in this area.   Too bad, as serviceberry (aka Saskatoon berry) pie is delicious. 

The Prickly Wild Roses are in mid-bloom now …

This Crab Spider seems to be transitioning to the yellow format (in anticipation for lying in wait on a Goldenrod?)

Little Wood Satyr, resting on a leaf under a grass arch …

Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify, western salsify, western goat’s-beard, wild oysterplant, yellow goat’s beard, goat’s beard, goatsbeard, common salsify, salsify) in a delicate light:

Painted lady nectaring on a V. trilobum…

Native bee collecting pollen and nectar on the flowerhead of a Common Yarrow….

Beetle on Ox Eye Daisy.   I don’t know what it is doing there.

These two (Coppers??) were hidden in the wind-moving grass.  A pair of antennae at either end.

A wind gust later … Aha!   That’s how they do it!


And interesting reference for up-to-date environmental news:


More stuff:  http://blog.feedspot.com/nature_blogs/

It is probably healthier to go outside for a walk or drive than to look at all of this computer stuff!!!



20170615 Britt, Hwy 529 Painted lady, moths, skippers, brushfoots, coppers, cabbage butterfly, dragonflies

We spent some time looking into the grass along Hwy 529 and Riverside Drive to see butterflies, moths, bees & flies foraging, pollinating and, I think, laying eggs.

Just west of the Magnetawan FN Band Office we saw this interesting use of “citizen science”.    Good for McMaster, Royal Bank, Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the Magnetawan FN.

It appears that this year’s Pin Cherry crop will be affected by the cold wet weather during their pollination period about three weeks ago.

These Black Cherries are going to do a bit better, we hope.

Solomon’s Seal along Riverside Drive, near the Geophysical Marker….

Vanessa cardui have been flitting around and nectaring for about two weeks now.

Here are several moths that I have not yet identified:

Try:  http://www.backyardnature.net/n/a/moo/




Back to Butterflies:

This looks to be a Pieris rapae.   It didn’t move to a better location for a better ID photo so this is all we have.   I have seen them flittering on the wild mustard that is blooming now.  No photos though as it has been very windy when they’ve been feeding.  This one might be laying eggs.

The Monarchs have been around for a week or so, usually  feeding on Orange Hawkweeds.   The Common Milkweeds won’t be blooming for a week or so.  I suspect that this Monarch is in the milkweeds to lay eggs for the first generation of summer Monarchs.

This looks like a male Indian Skipper

Another Skipper.   But which one …..

Maybe a Harris Checkerspot?

And a ??? …

American Copper

Perhaps a beetle of some sort …


Two beautiful Dragonflies, helping to control mosquitoes and black flies!!   : )


Another bee, methinks …

A clump of Pussytoes ..

… releasing little fluffs containing very small seeds.   

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.

20170612 Burwash, Tree swallow, Hawk, Dragonfly, Bee-fly, Damselfly, Dragonfly, Painted Lady, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Pussytoes, American Redstart, Lupin, Viburnum, Painted turtle, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Skipper, Crab Spider

Burwash, Tree swallow, Hawk, Dragonfly, Bee-fly, Damselfly, Dragonfly, Painted Lady, Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, Pussytoes, American Redstart, Lupin, Viburnum, Painted turtle, Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Skipper, Crab Spider

We made an afternoon trip to Burwash to see Clearwing Hummingbird Moths on the honeysuckle blossoms.  We saw a lot more than expected.

In the way into the site, a Tree Swallow welcomed us from a telephone cable…

A little further on this hawk eyed us.  I did not see it in flight or from any other angle and can’t ID it.

Dragonflies were munching on the flying insects along Neilly Lake.

This is the first Bee-fly I’ve seen since photographing one pollinating Coltsfoot blossoms on Harris Lake Road.

This might be a female Marsh Bluet

Maybe a Dot-tailed Whiteface.   I didn’t see the rest of the body.

Painted Lady on Yellow Hawkweed…

Aha!  Here it is, as predicted:

Pussytoes … showing some sort of different flower structure … worth of further research!…

Unknown bee/wasp or fly on the newly blooming Ox eye daisy …

American Redstart serenading, showing rictal bristles

Patches of multicoloured lupins are developing.

Nice shadow on the leaf of the V. trilobum

Lots of painted turtles were on the move …

A first for me!   Eastern Meadowlark singing away.  The bird kept its distance from me.  It was foraging for food, perhaps with a nest nearby?

Another birdie that I rarely see, only at Burwash ….

While the bobolink and meadowlark were singing and going after insects, this lil Savannah Sparrow stood on the fence, seemingly unimpressed by all of the activity…

  On the way out of the old prison farm this other common swallow said goodbye.  Notice the difference in undercolouring of the Tree Swallow (above)  and this Barn Swallow

This is about the size of a skipper.  Probably one of these.  EDIT:  Probably Columbine Duskywing.   It was nectaring on this roadside Birdsfoot trefoil near a rock outcrop which has a lot of blooming columbines.

It didn’t take long for this Crab Spider to find an Ox Eye Daisy to lie in ambush on.  The Daisies only opened up the previous day.

Click on the photo to see the eye structure….

While at Burwash I met a photographer who lives just north of Sudbury.  He gets great wildlife imagery at Burwash and Killarney.  He’s a very interesting man, a practitioner of some of the iceman and breathing techniques at Innerfire.