17 June 2021
Our Backyard, Waterloo, ON
Our backyard continues to remain a safe haven for a range of wildlife, with food, water and shelter present, and native vegetation aplenty.
I cannot think of a day when at least a couple of Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) are not there from first light until the end of day, and at times in the winter there have been more than twenty.
Its familiarity does not detract from its delicate beauty.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is blooming prolifically at present and delights us when we sit out on the patio.
Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) are regular visitors to the feeders, and it is not surprising that they have been bringing their young to visit.
They are fully capable at this stage of taking care of themselves, but waste no opportunity nevertheless to cadge from mom and dad - usually with great success.
A regular visitor is a male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) seemingly in the process of moulting his head feathers.
This fledgling cardinal was constantly begging from its parents.
18 June 2021
Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Waterloo, ON
Other than for a few very common species, it was difficult to find birds; and the fact that the park was quite busy did not help the situation, so we applied our energies to insects primarily.
The is a Hover Fly in the genus Cheilosia, commonly known as Blacklets.
That's as far as I can get with the ID. There are almost 500 of these creatures worldwide, and they all look very similar to the uninitiated eye, and many of them are impossible to identify visually.
Similarly, I am unable to name the species of the following Sweat Bee in the genus Lasioglossum.
This is the larva of a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae. A handsome little creature, don't you agree?
Spotted Grass Moth (Rivula propinqualis) is quite common at this time of the year, but easily overlooked.
Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum) does not seem to host many insects or their larvae; in fact the odour of its crushed leaves is claimed to repel mosquitoes.
This American Robin (Turdus migratorius) was gathering food to take back to the nest to feed its young.
It is conventional wisdom that most bird species find the Gypsy Moth caterpillar distasteful but this individual seems to have included them on its menu. Miriam and I have also witnessed Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) battering Gypsy Moth larvae against the ground and either consuming them or flying off with a beak full.
We were very happy to find a cooperative Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok),
The caterpillar of the Gypsy Moth is quite beautiful but its impact on a deciduous forest is devastating.
Shown below is a pond spreadwing in the genus Lestes , but I am unable to extend the ID beyond that.
Spotted Spreadwing (Lestes congener) would be my educated guess, but if anyone feels confident to confirm or refute this supposition I would be happy to hear from you.
Clemen's Skeletonizer (Acoloithus falsarius) is an impressive name for a tiny insect!
This species is known from wineries, but I am not sure whether it is a great hazard to the grape crop.
There are over 35,000 Long-horned Beetles (family Cerambycidae) in the world, and identification other than by an expert in this taxon is extremely difficult. I am fairly confident based on the research I have done, and on probability, this individual belongs in the genus Oberea.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Bluets (Genera Coenagrion and Enallagma) are also difficult to identify as to species without having the insect in the hand, and sometimes under a microscope.
We caught movement out of the corner of our eye and were happy to find a Common Carpet Moth, also known as White-banded toothed Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata).
Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) is an exceptionally handsome dragonfly, and Miriam captured a couple of great shots of a male.
23 June 2021
RiverSong Banquet Hall, St. Jacobs, ON
After a long hiatus when COVID restrictions prohibited lunch on the patio, it was finally possible to resume this very pleasant activity.
I am quite sure that this newly fledged Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) was very happy to see us.
A Red-spotted Purple (Limenthis arthemis astyanax) went about its business unconcerned, although it too would be wise to be vigilant. We saw both Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) and Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens), both of whom would find a large butterfly a very tasty treat.
Much of the Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) was brown and withered and has been subjected to a full frontal attack by a beetle of some kind. I am unable to identify the larvae. (See YAM's comment below).
The cheery song of the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) was seldom out of earshot, and it was a delight to be in the company of this ebullient musician.
26 June 2021
A drive through the country, Region of Waterloo, ON
It was hot and sticky, not the kind of weather to go for a walk, so we decided on a drive through the country.
And what could be more pleasant than this?
This foal was sticking close to mom, but when the mare approached Miriam at the fence, obviously hoping for a carrot or an apple, the foal was not reluctant to make friends too.
This recently fledged Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) was waiting patiently for devoted parents to fly by and stuff an insect into its waiting bill.
This Common Starling, bashing a Gypsy Moth caterpillar into submission, no doubt had hungry mouths back at the nest to take care of.