Saturday, August 19, 2017

Placeholder

I owe some longer posts on things that have happened this summer, but in the meantime at least have some photos of cool bugs I've found.
Calico Pennant

Banded Hairstreak

American Copper

Large Lace Border

Little Wood Satyr

Great Spangled Fritillary

Unicorn Clubtail

Monarch

Eastern Giant Swallowtail

Northern Blue

Silvery Blue

Least Skipper


Monday, May 1, 2017

Take A (50km) Hike

Somehow I've gotten myself involved in two fundraisers over the next couple of months.

One is the Great Canadian Birdathon... which I admit I only signed up for because I want the tshirt. As far as I can tell the requirement is simply to go birding in the month of May, which I was going to do anyway so it's not a hardship. But it seems gauche to beg money for two things at once, so I made a decent donation to my own 'campaign' to overpay for my 'free' tshirt, and will probably call it even.

The second thing is the Bruce Trail 50 km challenge as per my team page. That one, I'm actively fundraising for. And I really hope the weather is nice on June 25th because otherwise that ~30km of walking is going to be pretty miserable (since there are two of us, we'll be trading off the various legs of the total 50km trek). It'll be a long day, but the last one of these I did was a lot of fun so I have high hopes for this one too.

Making more donations is one of my goals for 2017 (and beyond). There seems to be so much nasty in the world right now, and I know that throwing money at things is not going to make that go away, but maybe it can help in some small way to make some good things to counteract it. Conservation is definitely a cause near and dear to my heart, and the BTC does Good Work towards allowing the preservation and appreciation of some truly beautiful landscapes.

And, I mean. Shiny limited-edition challenge badge. How can I resist?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy (Belated) Earth Day!

I spent most of actual Earth Day on the couch napping off the aftereffects of a minor stomach bug, so I did my best to make up for it today by spending some quality time outdoors and contributing to citizen science via eBird and iNaturalist.

The spring ephemeral adventure continues at Starkey Hill - today's additions were Carolina Spring-Beauty, Dutchman's Breeches, and Cut-leaf Toothwort. Lots of things still to come. The trilliums are just barely beginning to flower here, I anticipate full carpet status within a week.

Have you appreciated your planet today?

Carolina Spring-beauty
Cut-leaf Toothwort
Dutchman's Breeches
Trout-lily
Marsh Marigold

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Picky Plants

Sharp-lobed Hepatica
Something I learned yesterday, after branching out from my beloved Arboretum to try and find some different species, is that our two hepaticas grow only in maple-beech forests. Like, exclusively, no exceptions. I had been wondering why I wasn't seeing any at the Arboretum, which is lousy with trout lilies and trilliums and bloodroot, but not a hepatica to be found. I guess it just isn't maple-beechy enough? Because Starkey Hill is covered with hepatica in bloom right now. Geographically, the two areas aren't that far apart. Topographically, both have wetland pools interspersed with (I thought, at least) maple-beech upland forest. Starkey is a bit rockier and hillier, of course, so maybe that makes the difference.

Clearly I'm going to have to keep an eye on both places from now on, if they're going to throw different species at me like this. I am apparently on a mission this year to document the bloom times of the spring ephemerals. For posterity! ...and iNaturalist.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Definitely!

Spring has sprung. Thank goodness.

Early Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum giganteum

Early Meadow-rue - Thalictrum dioicum

Greater Bee Fly - Bombylius major
Mourning Cloak - Nymphalis antiopa

Eastern Garter Snake - Thamnophis sirtalis ssp. sirtalis

Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
Yellow Trout Lily - Erythronium americanum

Coltsfoot - Tussilago farfara

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis

Midland Painted Turtles - Chrysemys picta ssp. marginata

Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta

Eastern Comma - Polygonia comma
Not shown: the Common Green Darners that would not settle down for a good photo, the Wood Frogs quacking away in the ponds, and one crescent butterfly of unknown type that flew away far too quickly.

God I love spring.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maybe?

Despite the freezing rain in the forecast for this afternoon, I have hope that perhaps we are actually for-real into spring now. The weekend is supposed to be sunny and warm; time to start visiting the forests to try and find the early-blooming wildflowers.

Spring ephemerals are kind of awesome, when you think about it. It's this entire group of plants that have all evolved to sprout, flower, and produce seed in the tiny window of time between when the snow melts and the tree canopy closes in. Once the light is gone from the understory, a lot of them will die back completely and you'd never even know they were there. Trilliums are probably the most famous around here, but there are so many others.

Green is coming. I can't wait.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Climate Change Sucks

What a weird freaking winter. Spring? Sprinter? What do you call it when it's 15 degrees in the middle of February, then drops 20 degrees in one day at the beginning of March? There are tons of migrants showing up early, the ponds are already free of ice... for now, at least. We'll be below freezing for the next 2-3 days so that may not last.

I'm hoping to go visit one of those ponds after work today, see if I can catch some of the ducks that have been reported there. Unless it's frozen over again, in which case I'll probably try the nearest section of the Speed River instead, since that would be the closest open water.

In the meantime, please join me in admiring this Merlin that I saw on my lunchtime walk earlier this week: