Thursday, June 30, 2005

On a Milkweed

I found this insect hopping about with 20 or so of its brothers and/or sisters on a milkweed leaf earlier this week.

I think it is a planthopper of some sort. Can anyone help with the ID? It's about 3 mm (1/8 inch) long, if it is stretching.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


We often see deer on our property but our neighbour managed to take this photo out of his bedroom window.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Wild Strawberries

Wild strawberries are in fruit right now in southern Ontario. We have two kinds growing on our property. The Field Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) and the Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are hard to tell apart at first glance but with closer inspection, over a period of time, one can usually tell the difference. According to Edward Voss's Michigan Flora, which is the three volume guidebook set that I usually use, the two plants do not hybridize. He states that they have a different chromosome count, but that is beyond my knowledge and certainly not a field recognition point.

If one looks at the leaves, the Field Strawberry leaves are lighter green and lighter in texture than the Woodland Strawberry. I have also noticed that in our area the Field Strawberry starts blooming sooner, usually in April, and blooms longer. I have found Field Strawberry flowers in November during warm years. The Woodland Strawberry blooms that I have found start in May and finish by August. Normal bloom times tend to be in April and May.

A more telling point, to sort out these two strawberries, is the fruit. The fruit of the Field Strawberry has its achenes (seeds) in depressions on the fruit. The Woodland Strawberry has its achenes projecting from the surface.

I wish that the fruits were even half the size shown in these photos. Both are very small, about the size of a single bean. The taste helps make up for the small size.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


As I was out wandering, earlier this week, I found this butterfly that actually stayed still long enough for me to get my camera out and set up. I have never had much luck with butterflies as they, like birds, just don't stay still long enough for me to get a good look.

Can anyone help me with identifying this species? If not, perhaps it is enough to just enjoy.

....Thanks to Rexroth's Daughter's comment, I now have an ID for the butterfly. Unless anyone complains, i.e. has a different opinion, this butterfly shall be called Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis). The butterfly is listed for our area, was found by an open area, and was close to the adult food plants listed in the guide to which Rexroth's Daugher sent me. (I never would have identified it with my old Peterson Guide black and white photo.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Great Blue

When I was wandering by the Hamilton harbour at the end of Lake Ontario yesterday, I saw this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

Back when I was a "Kansas Wanderer," I used to live near a colony of herons that nested in sycamore trees. I have no idea where this heron nests.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Hummm, something looks familiar about this caterpillar.

It is very, very hairy, grey, and has a black and yellow head area. On its back are five pairs of blue round, coloured bumps (tubercles) and then seven pairs that are red. The tubercles on the side look more yellow. It's sleeping on our walnut tree.

I wonder...oh yes, it's the nasty gypsy moth caterpillar. It, and its friends, can strip all the leaves from a tree very quickly which, if it happens for a few years in a row, can kill the tree.

Hummm, it looks green inside. I don't think I will post that photo.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Blog One

Well, a new adventure for the Ontario Wanderer. I have been reading other blogs for a couple of months and decided to try my hand at doing one also. I already have a web page that is devoted to flowers but often I have photos that are not flowers that I would like to share. Since I have wandered about Canada, the U.S.A. and various other points around the world during my life, I thought that the Ontario Wanderer might be a good title that allowed me to write and show photos from anywhere and anywhen. (Yes, I know, but if it's my blog I can make up words too if I wish.) So here is the start. I hope to add photos and comments as time permits and the spirit dictates. See you all later!

Solstice Hummingbird

Just a quick blog note for summer solstice. I took the summer solstice sunrise photo just as the sun came up this morning. It's hard for me to believe how far north the sunrise is in summer compared to winter. I hope to post a composite photo of summer, fall, winter, and spring sunrises in the future, so here is number one.

On this first day of summer, I managed to photograph, through my bird spotting scope, a photo of a hummingbird sitting on her nest. I found the next yesterday more by accident than by design as I heard the bird flying in the same place at the same time of day for the second day in a row and then spent time looking at the tree in my binoculars. Birds on the nest are a real treat at any time but this is only the third time in my life that I have seen a hummingbird nest and the first time I have actually seen the hummingbird on the nest.