Thursday 30 June 2016

More Bugs, More Plants, and Birds Too

After having such a success going down to my local park the previous day, I decided to go again. I found a few new plants and insects, and I managed to get a few pictures of a couple things that I saw on Saturday, but failed to get a photo. Another reason I wanted to go back was to re-find the Eastern Amberwing that I had seen earlier while riding my bike.

The first thing that really caught my eye was a male Northern Cardinal. I don't have that many pictures of this common SW Ontario bird, so I was happy with the shots I got!

The Mallard ducklings never seem done hatching! I came across these young birds with their mother.

The male Mallards are molting right now. They will look like their female counterparts for a few weeks, but soon will regain their familiar plumage.

The world of Dragonflies and Damselflies is still new to me, so correct me if I've made any identification mistakes. I believe this one is a Familiar Bluet.

There is a Muskrat that frequents the pond. I've stumbled across him/her on numerous occasions.

Yet another Familiar Bluet?

I saw this wasp yesterday. It is called a Mud Dauber as it is usually found around, you guessed it, mud!

I find that American Robins always seem so photogenic.

I finally saw my first Hairstreak! I must say, they are smaller than I thought. After consulting my guide, I can confidently call this one an Acadian Hairstreak!

A plant that I had missed the day was the invasive Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Although they are quite pretty, they spread rapidly and cause havoc on the native ecosystem.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Green Frogs were everwhere.

The local Barn Swallows were making their rounds.

An exciting find was Butter-and-eggs (Linaria vulgaris). This was the only spot they were found around the pond.

Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis) could be seen along the trail.

There was an abundance of English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Common Plantain (Plantago major) was not far off.

It is amazing that only a few minutes away, such as rich ecosystem exists.

Variable-crown Vetch

Barn Swallow Photobomb! (Top Center)

Fast forward a few days (4 to be exact) I finally got out to photograph a few plant specimens that I had seen after my initial trip, but had no camera to take pictures.

Bitter Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) was a nice colour purple. The flowers are quite tiny as well!

Estimated Flower Length: 12mm (0.4724409in)

I found some Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) a couple days prior, and knew the general area of which to find them, but I was unable to locate the plants in all the greenery when I went out. I was about to give up when-OUCH! I had found my plant.

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), also known as Queen Anne's Lace, was just beginning to flower.

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) was covered in berries. The red ROD branches are a common sight in Christmas and holiday wreaths.

That is it for now! More Summer birding and nature posts will be coming soon!

Saturday 25 June 2016

Late June Wildflowers and Bugs

Today, I decided to go down to my local park and take photos of plants and bugs. Usually I'll do bird photography there, but lately I've noticed a lot of nice wildflowers around, so I outfitted my camera with my 55mm lens (though I did bring my 600mm lens just in case).

The first wildflowers that I decided to take photos of were these Bird's-foot Trefoil (lotus corniculatus). These flowers were probably the most common one I saw all day.

Next up was this Variable Crown-vetch (Coronilla varia). Also seen a lot throughout my walk.

Just a few feet away from the last flower, was some Common St. Johns-wort (Hypericum perforatum). I think that these are one of the prettier flowers that I saw today.

My only deep purple coloured  flower of the day was Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca).

This flower is called a Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus). It looks sort of like an Aster, so it can be a little difficult to identify.

The Thistle family all look similar. This one, the Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense), is one of the more common members.

I only saw this plant once on my walk. The unique plant below is none other than Pineapple-weed (Matricaria discoidea).

The dried out stems of the Wild Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) is a common sight in Ontario. I managed to see (and feel) a couple of the green plants today. Ouch!


I saw some Common Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) along the pathway. Come this fall, the berries will be ripe for the birds. I have seen Waxwings, Robins, and Hermit Thrushes enjoying the fruit.

I did not spend much time looking at the trees, but I did decide to photograph a White Oak (Quercus alba). The two species of oak I have seen in the area are Red and White. You can tell a Red from a White by looking at the leaves. White has round leaf points and Red has more pointy leaf points.

White Oak

I could not find any clover species other than Red Clover (Trifolium pretense).

Probably the most familiar wildflower to people is Ox-eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum lewcanthemum). I surprisingly only only saw this flower at one location during the whole walk.

This little white flower did not seem to be doing so hot. I am not 100% sure on the ID, but I think that it may be a White Campion (Silene latifolia).

After spending almost an hour out in the field, I finally came across a small bunch of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). When I was younger, I remember that the hill going down to the pond was covered with milkweed. I would always look for Monarch Caterpillars and Eggs hidden in the leaves. Now the hill is nothing but Variable Crown-vetch and dirt.

I saw that a leaf was broken off, and the white liquid that gives the milkweed its name was oozing out.

The Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) was growing along the trail. These are a favourite of American Robins and other thrushes.

Other then plants, there was some fun things as well. A Great Blue Heron was one of them.

I changed to the 600mm for this one!

I found an abandoned Red-winged Blackbird nest in some of the Phargmites.

No photos, but the Mallard ducklings were everywhere. The adult males were also molting.

The highlight of the walk for me was finding a Virginia Ctenucha (how you properly say that is beyond me!) He (or she) was very friendly, and even decided to crawl onto my hand while I was taking a few photos!

I saw three species of Dragonflies and Damselflies. The first being a Tule Bluet.

Common Whitetail and Common Green Darner was also observed.

Common Whitetail

I saw a Solider Beetle for about a minute before it flew off.

I am sure that one day I will get to identifying this bee, but for is just a bee.

Just a Bee...

Hoverflies, Mud Daubers and Cabbage Whites would not sit still for a photo, but were seen quite frequently.

That is it for now, though I am sure that another post will be coming out soon enough. Thanks!