Snowberry clearwing moth (Hemaris diffinis)
A snowberry clearwing moth (a member of the Sphinx family), nectars on a dame's rocket flower (Hesperis matronalis).
Artists - work in progress
Artists working with the group behind the formation of a botanical garden in Ottawa, are beginning to set up installations in the field adjacent to the FWG. This is one, there are four others.
Millipedes (Julidae family)
Turning over the old rotting polypores that have fallen to the ground (or been pulled off), looking for horned fungus beetles, I came across these two shiny millipedes, and one minute fungus beetle of some sort, not the ones I was looking for. Polypores in particular are fun to search for a variety of insects.
Banded hairstreak butterfly larva (Satyrium calanus)
Turning over oak leaves on both red and bur oaks, looking for insects, particularly a certain treehopper, I found this tiny rather flat little critter. I reckoned it was a butterfly larva but only when I got home and checked field guides did I think it was likely that of a hairstreak. I turned to the expert in these matters, Ross Layberry, who promptly identified it as a banded hairstreak, about 3rd instar. It was on the underside of a bur oak leaf. I was quite pleased to find it because finding the larvae (caterpillars) of butterflies seems to me to be far more difficult that finding the larvae of moths. Or perhaps it is simply that there are so many moth species compared to butterflies that chances are that much greater.
Leaf-mining beetle Microrhopala excavata)
This tiny little beetle with its flat pitted elytra, is rather unusual looking. As with all things in nature there is a reason for the shape. In its larval stage it lives within leaves, and you can imagine how slender and flat it would need to be for that! The shape is retained as an adult. It is common during late spring and summer all over the region. It belongs to the Chrysomelid family of beetles, in the subfamily Hispinae.
Little lost bird
While I was talking to a few people at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, this little bird suddenly appeared, flying straight at us, almost as if relieved to hear human voices, and to see us. Not your typical behaviour, and we were all startled, until the bird landed and I could see it was some sort of finch, mostly white, but with faint yellow on the wings. It hung around us for a short while and several of us held our hands out hoping it might land on them, so we could catch it. It was obviously very used to human company, but not to the extent of trusting us enough to land on our proffered hands. It is clearly a lost bird, possibly escaped from a nearby house. Its chances of survival are slim. I tried to relocate it after it flew away, but with no luck. Poor little creature.
Ash woods no more
After the removal of 50 ash trees, all the ash trees in fact in our little woodlot, and that gave it its name, we will have to think of something else to call this section of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. While nature is good at regenerating after logging, which this essentially is, it will not be in the lifetime of many of us, that we'll see any of the new trees that will one day be planted, grow to the size of the trees taken down. Their removal is all due to the exotic pest, the emerald ash borer which is destroying ash trees throughout southern and eastern ontario.
David took this photo from behind the barrier preventing access to the work site in our woodlot, where big ash trees are being felled. Sad, sad.
Ash woods destruction
The destruction is due to the emerald ash borer, an exotic pest of ash trees, that is causing immense havoc in southern and eastern Ontario, as well as in other areas too. The big ash trees that gave the woodlot at the FWG its name are no more. Fifty trees have come down, leaving only a few red oaks, and some conifers. David's photo shows the main part of the woodlot.
A vibrantly hued oriole in full sunshine, late afternoon on Friday. It sat and sang for some time, allowing a great view.
Gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor)
Treefrogs are still calling vociferously, and will continue to do so, on and off throughout summer. Looking down to the amphibian pond I spotted what looked at first like an emerald green blob, and when the sun shone on it, it was blindingly bright green. Eventually, after taking many photos, most of which were blurry and very poor because of the distance, I got this not-too-bad one. There is actually a second treefrog in the photo. If you look to the upper left, you can just see it through the cattails.
27 May 2014
This little groundhog is creating quite a stir with its acrobatics. Robert sent us this photo last week, when he noticed it near the top of a 15-20 foot tree in the ravine that runs through the FWG. Can you see him in the upper left corner of the photo? (Sandy)
Groundhogs are adept climbers, and we often forget that they are in fact, squirrels in the family Sciuridae, along with, in our area, chipmunks, red squirrels and grey squirrels), and therefore, like others in their family, they can climb. Unlike the tree squirrels (reds and greys), they are not arboreal, despite their climbing ability. These heavy guys are ground dwellers. However, when trying to elude a predator, which at the FWG would be dogs or foxes, they can and will climb, sometimes to quite a height, as Robert's photo shows. (Christine)