20170720 Hwy 529: Searching the Milkweeds for Skippers, Monarchs and other butterflies.

Above Photo:   Fragrant White Water Lily in the Big Pond near Big Lake

Note:   I posted these photos at a smaller (240 x 300 px) medium size than the previous  (645 x 806 px) large size to save download delays and data costs.  This means that you need to enlarge photos of interest to see the details.  Click and enlarge a few photos below to see the difference.

We cruised the Common Milkweed patches on our way to and from Parry Sound on a warm summer day.  This is what we found:

A partially hidden Blanding’s Turtle in the Big Pond across the road from Big Lake….

This 5 petal, small (<1 cm) blossom on stems with alternate needle-like leaves has me stumped.  Found along 529, on a wet roadside near the road to Naiscoot Lodge…

EDIT:   Marsh Bellflower.

The seed head of the Pitcher Plants haven’t changed much, except where this Shield Beetle appears to be chewing….

This little beetle looks warily up at the spider.  Has the spider molted or has it just preyed on one of its brethern?

Yellow Goatsbeard (Salsify) ready to disperse its seeds via parachute … (a good one to expand fully)

I am often seeing Monarch Caterpillars at the blossoms.  Is that where they molt?

This is probably a second generation Red Admiral.

A pair of American Ladies have lunch at the Common Milkweed Cafe.

See the little white spots and the eyespots?

Only the shadow knows what kind of skipper this is!

Speaking of Skippers, here are three different Grass Skippers:



And 3:

About 30 Grass Skippers are found in Ontario.  You really have to look carefully to ID the species reliably.  The above 3 are a good challenge using Rick Cavasin’s Butterflies of Ontario.   …. or the nice-to-use  iNaturalist.org site.

Maybe a Dot Tailed Whiteface  …

Pickerel Weed in bloom…

Aha!  A (poorly photographed) Clearwing Moth!   Snowberry (H diffinis) or Hummingbird (H thysbe)?  It is quite difficult to tell the difference.  In this case the near (port) legs appear to be quite pale.  The far (starboard) legs appear black (in shadow?).  I’ll go with the legs being pale  and ID this one as being a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.  So I am still on the trail of its cousin.

I think that Hwy 529 is as good a place as any to monitor the changes happening to our flora and fauna this summer so its time for another trip.

What do you think of the reduced format?  Does it speed up your download of the blog?  Good, bad, pita?  Please let me know.  Many thanks.  brtthome@gmail.com









20170629-30 Skippers, Crab Spider, Spreading Dogbane, Hoverflies, Bee Flower Beetle

Photo:  Pond on Hwy 522

The Skipper Butterflies have arrived in profusion.  Although they seem to spend most of their time buried deeply in the long grass, some occasionally nectar on Ox Eye Daisies.  I’ve realized that OEDs are a very universal source of nectar and pollen for a wide variety of pollinators and have spent more time with them this year.   I could learn from Hilton Pond.

Skippers  in a variety of poses…



One of the predators of Skippers, the Goldenrod Crab Spider in its white/purple stage ….

I am paying attention to  the changes in the form of chlorophyll in these maple leaves.  The red light is still being reflected off of, (not absorbed by)  the new leaves, indicating an absence of long wavelength (red) absorbing chlorophyll.   That brand of chlorophyll will go absent again this fall, just before leaf drop.

A poor imitation of C. Monet …

The rainshower stopped a variety of pollinators to visit this butterfly attractor, a relative of Common Milkweed…

C. Monet made me stop to photograph this nice habitat for a big gang of little flies.

Yet to be identified… maybe a bit easier when I see a few more of them.  Skipper-like behaviour..

These Tamarack cones  on Hwy 522 are still purple, unlike the green/yellow ones along Shebeshekong Rd.  I wonder why?

Elegant but unknown Hoverfly on an OED.

Bumblebee nectaring …

I finally have identified this beastie, which I’ve seen a lot of… always nectaring on OEDs.  It is a Flower Chafer, a Hairy Flower Scarab, a Bee-Mimic Flower Beetle, a Trichiotinus assimilis.   I came across the late Eugene Reimer’s photograph of T. assimilis while searching images for “beetle on Ox Eye Daisy”.  Eugene Reimer has a very interesting About Me at his website, http://ereimer.net/

Try using his collection of insect photos as a very handy way to check out obscure insects, like the beastie below…

Thanks a lot, Mr Reimer.


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.