Really Big Bumble Bees It’s years since we tried to grow sunflowers, in fact the only time I can remember doing so in Canada was the first summer we were here when we had them like soldiers on either side of the front porch and steps … this year, the birds have carefully planted a single sunflower seed taken from the feeders we provide (about one big sack of seed a month) and placed [...]
A friend, yesterday, accused me of being a "closet entomologist" (and he's a professional, so he should know ;) ) so moving on from the pretty butterflies of my last post we find ourselves staring at the kitchen window and really rather large bug. A true bug, in fact, using the word in it's proper sense. This big, brown chap is a bit over an inch long and decided to check out what we were [...]
There were some exceptionally heavy storms in this part of Quebec yesterday so we changed our usual “Wednesday Wander” in the Arboretum to a walk of equivalent distance along the riverside in Cap-St-Jacques - for the exercise and to see what was around. A couple of years ago I added a Guide to West Island Birding Sites to my small collection of free guidebooks. I think it is useful and lots of people have [...]
Lots of Photographs, lots of birds and a few whales and butterflies. We have just returned from a stupendous week of (mostly) intensive birding plus a bit of botanising in the Bay of Fundy that produced some amazing photographic opportunities we would like to share with our friends. Usually, after these trips we produce a lengthy “trip report” but, let's face it, they can be just a bit too long for some, otherwise interested, [...]
These are not birds ... but they do fly. Warm sunshine in the garden today brought forth four species of butterflies at the same time. None of these are at all rare, but they are beautiful and they behaved exceptionally well for the photographer. I have provided both spread wing and "head and antennae" images for each one. Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) [...]
Found this afternoon on the leaves of a large canna lily in the garden was this spectacular caterpillar of the White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma) ... such a gorgeous creature, but not one you want to touch as those setae are very brittle, stick in your skin and "inject" a rather painful allergenic and irritant liquid. Why it was on the canna lily one can only speculate. They have 140 or so known food plants but [...]
Fearsomely hot and humid today, more so than in Cairo, Kabul and Bangkok according to the meteo people. Pictures limited by the need to stay huddled indoors around the air-conditioner. Outside almost nothing is moving other than the odd fly, some grumbling Sparrows and Chickadees cowering in the shade, a couple of cabbage white butterflies and this handsome blue fellow sucking up water like a sponge. The trouble with identifying insects and the like is, [...]
Today's moth is a really tiny one, less than 1cm across at rest and less than 2cm with wings spread. Spotted on a rose bush but that's not where it came from ... I am reasonably confident that this is an Orange-spotted Pyrausta (Pyrausta orphisalis) whose caterpillars feed on various plants of the mint family - including Monarda which we have a stand of to attract the Hummingbirds not far from where it was found. Rather a [...]
Probably the commonest butterfly on the planet, but not to be sniffed at for all that. Really the Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) is a very attractive little creature if you can persuade it to sit still just long enough to have i’s portrait taken … this one was stalked for ten minutes before I could “digitally collect” its likeness. Note the long proboscis inserted into the flower.
Found under a leaf of a Pontaderia plant - the empty exoskeleton of a dragonfly larva.