Monday, July 31, 2006


Saturday, July 29, 2006

From My Flickr Page

Just in case you have not looked at my Flickr site, here is one of my "creative" photos from there.

Friday, July 28, 2006


It seems that each year I forget, from the year before, what the differences are between Common Burdock (Arctrium minus)and Great Burdock (Arctrium lappa). In the photos below the Common is on the left and the Great is on the right.

In general, Great Burdock is larger. The flowers are larger and on longer stems. The Great Burdock grows 1 to 2.4 metres (3 to 8 feet) tall and the Common grows .6 to 1.2 metres (2 to 4 feet) tall.

The stems of the Great Burdock are solid with deep grooves while the Common Burdock has hollow stems and shallow grooves.

Of course, just to make things more difficult, the two can and do hybridize. I am not sure how to tell the hybrid. Does anyone else know?

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Gypsy Moth Egg Invasion!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday Morning

The web counter on this blog is not all I had hoped but it does show that a lot more people look at this blog than comment. As expected, most of the activity comes from eastern Canada & U.S. Contacts from western U.S. have made a few comments but there are more hits from there than I might have expected. Contacts from Europe are kind of expected as we have Flickr contacts there but the contacts from South America, Africa and Asia were a bit of a surprise.

The camera that I normally use has retired to a shop for four to six weeks. Sigh! We are relying on the camera that Églantine has in her possession for about 98% of the time. Meanwhile, I can still find things to photograph and call her attention to consider. Thus "we" found and photographed this moth this morning during our dog walking time.

I really like it when insects have logical names. This most was found on an Evening Primrose flower and, when I went through the moth book, I found that it is named "Primrose Moth." The Latin, for those who are interested is Schinia florida.

I've been trying to get this next wild flower to grow in one of our wild flower gardens for two years now. It grew, for the first time, this year and bloomed, for the first time, this morning.

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum var.perfoliatum)


I seem to be having trouble getting to Blogger lately. If and when I do get time to blog, either the photos won't load or I cannot even get Blogger on my computer. Oh well, when I can . . .

Here is yesterday's "quick" blog of one of the things I found on Friday, between rain storms, while looking for flowers.

That's right, Thamnophis sirtalis, the Common Garter Snake.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Alive & Well

Just in case you were wondering, I am alive and well but did not find time to blog for a few days. Electrical storms kept the computers off for quite a bit; I did a 16 km run mostly in rain on Saturday; much of today was spent trying to cut down the remains of a large walnut branch that fell part way off the tree yesterday. (I think it would have been easier and quicker to cut down the tree.) I also got caught up in finding and photographing clocks for a Flickr project. Below is one of the photos that I put on Flickr:

The explanation of the clock photo is on Flickr.

Below is the photo that I had planned on putting up last Friday before things got too busy.

My title for the photo is a take off from Shakespear, "Is this a [rabbit] I see before me, the handle towards my hand." Maybe I did not remember it quite right, but I am sure you get the point, so to speak. OK, enough, I am away again to see what I can see.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Three July Flowers

This was to be posted yesterday but somehow the day slipped away from me.

When I first saw this lettuce in the early morning, it looked like it was almost ready to bloom but an hour later the petals had opened. It is Wild Lettuce or Lactuca canadensis.

The second flower of the day was a stinging nettle.

This nettle is called Tall Nettle or Urtica dioica ssp.gracilis which is a subspecies of Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica ssp dioica.

I saw this flower by the roadside yesterday and did not have time to stop to make a positive ID but stopped today to find that I had guessed correctly.

It is a Tansy or Tanacetum vulgare.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sparce-flowered Willow-Herb

Églantine found a flower in our yard.

When she brought in part of the plant for identification purposes, I had to go get my wild flower key as I never seem to remember, from year to year, what the name is.

Some willow-herbs tend to be harder than others. I usually need to use my microscope for this one. OK, first we check to see if it has "hairs" on the stem and if so if they are very short incurved or longer, mostly horizontal and spreading.

These are longer, mostly horizontal and spreading so we move on to the stigma or end of the pistil in the flower. Is it a smooth curve or deeply 4-lobed?

OK, deeply 4-lobed stigma means one can look back at the leaves. Are they NOT clasping and very hairy? If so, according to Edward G. Voss's Michigan Flora, which is a three volume key for plant identification that is often used in the Royal Botanical Gardens Herbarium and here at my home, the flower is a Sparce-flowered Willow-herb Epilobium parviflorum. (OK, I left a bit out to make it easier for me, and you, but this is essentially how to ID this particular plant.) Fun?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Friday Seeds & Berries (and a dog story)

(I had photos ready to post on Friday evening and then our dog went missing. We spent Friday evening and into the night looking, started again at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and looked off and on all day Saturday with no luck. Around 10 p.m. on Saturday, after we had given up and gone to bed, our neighbour heard Calla barking from the ravine only 200 metres from our house and let us know. With our neighbour, Chad, and I working together looking through the undergrowth our dog was found. The dog had run off with a 10 metre (30 foot) rope attached to her and had been tangled in the undergrowth for 26 hours and only barked three times which made her very difficult to find. Right now the vegetation is so thick and tall that one can easily hide only 1 metre (3 feet) off the trail. Thanks to Chad for helping us find our missing dog!)

Meanwhile, back to the seeds and berries . . .

These seeds are developing on a Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis).

Below are the ripening berries of Star-flowered False Solomon Seal (Maianthemum stellatum),

. . . and False Solomon Seal (Maianthemum racemosa).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Early Morning

I was out with the early morning sun yesterday.

Dew was everywhere.

Really, everywhere! Even on bugs on Milkweed. Can someone find the name of this one before I do? I havn't had time to check my books yet.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mostly Overcast Day

Some days wake up foggy.

Since it was cloudy and not too dreadfully hot, I thought I would try to reclaim some of our trails from the White Sweet Clover that is taking over our property this year. Last year there was hardly any White Sweet Clover. This year it is up to 3 metres (9 feet) tall and when it bends over our walking trails we have to fight to get through. I spent about two and a half hours this morning cutting back clover from about 200 metres (200 yards +) of trail. Below is a before and after shot of about 20 metres of trail.

While cutting, I found this Yellow Bear caterpillar from the Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica).

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fruit and another Bug

Our dog, Calla, as well as Églantine and I have been eating Wild Black Raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) off the shrubs for a week or so and Églantine even picked a container full to put on our breakfast cereal a few days ago.

The wild Currents (Ribes rubrum) are ripe now. I hope to pick a container full after I finish putting up this blog.

Below is a photo of the "Small Milkweed Bug" (Lygaeus turcicus). Its colours are similar to the "Large Milkweed Bug" that I posted yesterday but it is smaller with a different pattern. Both are brightly coloured to remind birds that they are not good to eat as they both contain poisonous milkweed toxins.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bug, Moth, Frog

Lots of animals were enjoying the summer heat a lot more than I today. Below is a Large Milkweed Bug. (Yes, that's its name in English; the Latin name is Oncopeltus fasciatus). It's on a Common Milkweed.

Next, on a Red Pine, I noticed what I think is a Sparganothis Fruitworm Moth (Sparganothis sulfureana). Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I am still a beginner at moth identification.

And the last photo for today is of what I think is a Green Frog (Rana clamitans).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friday Bugs

I keep seeing different kinds of Ladybugs. This one is on Swamp Milkweed.

This beetle, unknown species, is on Poison Hemlock.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

At the Milkweed

As I was walking past some milkweeds this morning, a bit of bright orange caught my eye. This Ladybug had two joined spots and two single spots on each side.

The Eastern Tailed-blue Butterflies were pearched on both leaves and flowers of the milkweeds.

While I was attempting to take photos of the ladybugs and butterflies, this Deer Fly thought I would not notice her. I did notice, as I have fed these beasts before and don't like them eating on me!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sunrise Caterpillar

A wonderful sunrise this morning needed to be photographed several times. Here are two of the results.

I also put up a long, skinny photo made up of several photos stitched together on my Flickr site. I didn't think the blog would handle it very well. Have a look if you wish.

The caterpillar was not photographed at sunrise but closer to sunset yesterday. I have gone through two caterpillar books and not found a name for it yet. It was found next to Rue (Ruta graveolens) plants and near a Shadbush (Amelanchier) shrub. If any one knows, please let me know. Thanks.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Art Walk 2006

For several years now, on the long July weekend, I have been setting up an art walk. Églantine has been out every year while others have come and gone. This year there were three of us that hiked back to a small waterfall near Tews Falls.

Below is a photo of the other artist, Sean, at work looking downstream.

Next are four small individual photos of parts of a large balance sculpture that I used to bridge the stream.

And finally, here are two artistic photos that Églantine took in the stream.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Canada Day Surprise - Polyphemus

Way back in February, February 15th to be exact, I found a cocoon. I had no idea what kind of cocoon it was and posted it as a Mystery Object. Several bloggers suggested that it was a Cecropia moth cocoon, and when I looked at my field guides, I agreed. I put it into a box with a screen front in the unheated barn and have been watching it almost every day since then. When the weather warmed up this spring, I put it outside the barn most days to warm up with the weather. I was thinking, just this week, that maybe it was time to throw it out and put in some new caterpillars and food plants to try to raise some other butterfly or moth as there had been no change since February.

Surprise! When I got home from my long run this morning, Églantine told me to grab my camera and follow her. She led me to the box with the newly emerged Polyphemus moth. I managed a few photos but Églantine took many, many more and it is from her collection that I chose these three photos to share. This first one I have changed a bit by blurring and greying the background to make the moth stand out a bit more.

This second photo shows the underwings.

This last photo is a close up to show some of the many beautiful colours on the moth and its hairy body.