Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Bird in the Hand ...

... is worth one or two sheets of tissue paper, as a rule that's the thanks I get from a bird when I save it.

This male White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) flew upstairs in my hallway and got trapped at the window.



He's not hurt, just played out. I recall reading somewhere or other that turning a bird over on its back and stroking its tummy would put it to sleep. Though I haven't been able to verify this on any Internet sources, it's always worked for me.


Even after he woke up the little guy seemed oblivious to the fact that he was free to go at any time. The black-and-white striped crown, white throat patch, yellow lores (the area between the eye and the beak) and distinctive song make this sparrow easy to identify.



Learn more about the White-throated Sparrow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Close Encounters with Dragonflies in mid-January

The New Year started off with some serious winter weather, but Mother Nature has given us a break for the past three days, with the temperatures hovering around a more bearable 5°C, plus or minus a degree or two. As good a time as any to take advantage of the moderate meteorologic conditions and search for whatever dragonflies might be out and about.

The woodland stream depicted in the next photos is along the trans-Canada Trail, roughly half a kilometer east of Tweed. This is the view looking north of the trail.


And it didn't take long to find a dragonfly. She is 30 mm in length, and it definitely is a girl – the tiny ovipositor can be seen peeking out between abdominal segments eight and nine.


A photo of the stream to the south of the trail, and again, a few scoops of sand and silt from the stream bed produced a pair young males. The larger of the two is 25 mm long, the other little guy is 18 mm in length.



This is the same site where I found the Spiketail naiads last August, and I know there are lots of them lurking in the bottom of the stream. The real purpose of this excursion was not to look for dragonfly naiads, it was to satisfy my curiosity as to what they might be eating. Are any of these insect species food for Cordulegaster larvae? I don't know for certain, but given what I've read about odonate larvae in general, they are voracious eaters and will take whatever they can capture and overpower.

There are some mayfly naiads inhabiting the stream but they are not common. Caddisflies are a bit better represented, I found two species, a small one that makes its protective casing out of grains of sand, and the larva in the following photo. (Incidentally, the insect was pulled from its case by accident, I didn't tear it out for the sake of a few pictures.)


I think the caddisfly larva is probaly genus Triaenodes, at any rate both the insect and its casing strongly resemble the one in the next photos (taken during the much warmer days of a summer long past).



There were also some stonefly naiads hiding in the leaf debris along the steam's edge. Like the mayflies, they are not common, and they are tiny, almost translucent, only about 5 mm long. Not much of a meal for the naiads that I dredged up, but good enough to feed a hatchling.



The most likely source of nourishment for the growing young Spiketails are the large, maggot-like critters in the following images. Based on their aforesaid "maggot-like" aspect, I surmised (as it turned out, correctly) that they might be cranefly larvae, indeed, I think they are the larvae of the Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis). The stream bed is teeming with these detritivores and one scoop of muck can yield half a dozen. They are large, normally chunky, oval shaped and grub-like in appearance and about 25 mm long, but can extend themselves to 40 mm or 60 mm.



The insects didn't like being out of their element and weren't co-operating, so this is best macro I could obtain of the spiracular lobes. Here's a link to some much better images at BugGuide.Net.


This is an old photo from a few years ago of the adult fly, not an uncommon species, and aptly named too.


The air was warm enough to permit some active insect life outside the insulating confines of the water and there were a few small black midges flying around. And before I left for home I saw this on the snow ...


A little Long-jawed Orbweaver spiderling, no longer than 3 mm. No matter how tough the circumstances or adverse the conditions, life goes on ...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Sketchy Summary of the Butterflies of Tweed and south-central Hastings County, Ontario

With today's temperatures hovering around –22°C (–34°C with the wind chill factored in) a topic that brings back memories of the warm, sunny days of summer seems in order.

Like the list of Dragonflies and Damselflies posted late last autumn, this is not intended to be a comprehensive summary, it's just my personal life list. To get an idea of the big picture, visit the Toronto Entomologists' Association's Ontario Butterfly Atlas.

True Butterflies ... Superfamily Papilionoidea

Swallowtails ... Family Papilionidae

(1) Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)
June 14, 2009
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722

(2) Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
Summer 2006 – about 1½ km west of Thomasburg
Summer 2008 – Tweed, near Spring St., this is now a common butterfly, often encountered east of town near Collins Point
44.47845 ... -77.30371

(3) Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
May 06, 2012
Actinolite – Price Conservation Area
44.54917 ... -77.32528

(4) Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
July 16, 2012
Tweed (roadkill)
44.47472 ... -77.31028

Whites and Sulphurs ... Family Pieridae

(5) Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
August 19, 2008
Tweed – Heritage Center Garden
44.47472 ... -77.31028

(6) Mustard White (Pieris napi)
April 19, 2012
Along the trans-Canada Trail, near a dry field west of Tweed
44.46333 ... -77.32890

(7) Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
July 10, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(8) Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
September 01, 2008
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(9) Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole)
September 19, 2013
East of Tweed – near the intersection of the trans-Canada Trail and Alexander St.
44.47874 ... -77.30335

Gossamer-wings ... Family Lycaenidae

(10) Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus gryneus)
May 18, 2013
West of Tweed – frequenting a copse of Eastern Red Cedar
44.46333 ... -77.32890

(11) Henry’s Elfin (Callophrys henrici)
April 20, 2012
East of Tweed – the intersection of the trans-Canada Trail and Lajoie Rd.
44.48240 ... -77.29663

(12) Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)
May 12, 2011
East of Tweed – blueberry scrub along the trans-Canada Trail
44.48152 ... -77.29776

(13) Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)
July 30, 2012
East of Tweed – along the Moira River near Collins Point
44.47845 ... -77.30371

(14) Spring Azure (Celastrina argiolus)
May 12, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(15) Summer Azure (Celastrina neglecta)?
June 30, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(16) Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas)
July 24, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(17) Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)
June 12, 2009
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(18) Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)
September 11, 2008
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722


(19) American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
September 03, 2011
A dry field west of Tweed
44.46333 ... -77.32890


(20) Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)
Encountered June 2010
Photo below acquired on September 03, 2011
East of Tweed – near the intersection of the trans-Canada Trail and Alexander St.
44.47874 ... -77.30335


(21) Acadian Hairstreak (Satyrium acadicum)
June 21, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(22) Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)
June 28, 2010
East of Tweed – along the Moira River near Collins Point
44.47845 ... -77.30371

(23) Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorum)
June 28, 2012
East of Tweed – along the Moira River near Collins Point
44.47845 ... -77.30371

(24) Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops)
July 04, 2012
East of Tweed – the intersection of the trans-Canada Trail and Lajoie Rd.
44.48240 ... -77.29663

Brush-foots ... Family Nymphalidae

(25) Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)
September 07, 2009
Tweed – Moira River, near the footbridge and the dam
44.47472 ... -77.31028


(26) Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
July 24, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(27) Harris’ Checkerspot (Chlosyne harrisii)
June 09, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(28) Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton)
June 08, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(29) Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
September 25, 2011
Tweed – near the intersection of Lakeview Lane and the trans-Canada Trail
44.48000 ... -77.30389
Uncommon, but sighted every year since 2011

(30) Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
June 15, 2010
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722

(31) Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti)
August 05, 2009
Tweed – Heritage Center Garden
44.47472 ... -77.31028


(32) Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vau-album)
March 20, 2012
East of Tweed along the trans-Canada Trail
44.49139 ... -77.28556

(33) Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)
March 20, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(34) Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
July 01, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(35) Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
May 05, 2012
East of Tweed along the trans-Canada Trail
44.48152 ... -77.29776


(36) Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
June 25, 2010
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722

(37) Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
May 11, 2012
Tweed – reared from caterpillars
44.47472 ... -77.31028

(38) American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
May 06, 2012
Stoco Fen, east of Tweed
44.46417 ... -77.23222


(39) Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis)
First week of Novemer, 1996 – along Highway #37, north of Tweed
44.51981 ... -77.32621
Sighted east of Tweed every summer since June 20, 2010 – near Collins Point, and along the trans-Canada Trail to Lajoie Rd., near its host plant, Hackberry

(40) Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
August 20, 2008
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(41) Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona)
July 15, 2013
Tweed
44.47472 ... -77.31028


(42) Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene)
June 16, 2011
Stoco Fen, east of Tweed
44.46417 ... -77.23222


(43) Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele)
July 01, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(44) Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)?
July 10, 2011
Drag Lake, about 7¼ km west of Tweed
44.44306 ... -77.39083

(45) American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)
June 27, 2012
East of Tweed – along the Moira River near Collins Point
44.47694 ... -77.30194
Three other encounters in 2012, west of Tweed along the trans-Canada Trail to Lajoie Rd. The host plant, Hackberry, occurs at the locations of all of the sightings.

(46) Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
August 10, 2008
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722

(47a) White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
June 16, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(47b) Banded Purple (Limenitis arthemis proserpina)
May 31, 2010
East of Tweed – the intersection of the trans-Canada Trail and Lajoie Rd.
44.48240 ... -77.29663

(48) Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala nephele)
July 18, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(49) Common Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia)
August 16, 2008
East of Tweed – along the Moira River near Collins Point
44.47694 ... -77.30194

(50) Northern Pearly-eye (Enodia anthedon)
June 27, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(51) Little Wood-satyr (Megisto cymela)
June 10, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(52) Eyed Brown (Satyrodes eurydice)
June 27, 2012
Tweed – near the intersection of Lakeview Lane and the trans-Canada Trail
44.48000 ... -77.30389


(53) Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia)?
June 23, 2012
Tweed (roadkill)
44.47472 ... -77.31028

My catalogue of local Skippers is even shorter than the Butterfly list. I'm not that familiar with this group of leps and many of them – for example, Erynnis spp. – look alike to me.

Skippers ... Superfamily Hesperioidea

(54) Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan)
June 09, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(55) Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor)
June 09, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(56) Arctic Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon)
June 09, 2010
Stoco Fen, east of Tweed
44.46417 ... -77.23222


(57) Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
June 06, 2011
Tweed – north shore of Stoco Lake
44.47389 ... -77.30722
Also common east of Tweed, near Collins Point


(58) Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
May 19, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(59) Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
May 17, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, west of Tweed
44.45917 ... -77.34250


(60) Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)
August 16, 2008
Tweed – Heritage Center Garden
44.47472 ... -77.31028

(61) Leonard’s Skipper (Hesperia leonardus)
August 05, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(62) Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok)
June 03, 2010
Tweed – garden at 417 Metcalf St.
44.79261 ... -77.31582


(63) Long Dash (Polites mystic)?
May 30, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528

(64) Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
September 01, 2011
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528


(65) Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)
June 05, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, west of Tweed
44.45917 ... -77.34250


(66) Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)
May 26, 2012
Trans-Canada Trail, west of Tweed
44.45917 ... -77.34250


(67) European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
June 20, 2010
Trans-Canada Trail, near a marsh about ½ km west of Tweed
44.46889 ... -77.31528