Great Egret

Great Egret

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Mid July action

Plants and insects abound right now, providing lots of opportunity to photograph! I've been out regularly, here and there, in the Rondeau area.

Open areas with Common Milkweed and other wildflowers are always good for attracting insects. Along the South Point Trail were things like this American Lady on a Black-eyed Susan.

American Lady
Something that caught my eye was a whole bunch of caterpillars feeding voraciously on some willows. This large distinctive caterpillar is the larva of a Mourning Cloak.

Mourning Cloak larva

Mourning Cloak
On a raspberry leaf, I noted this brightly coloured critter. It is a Red-banded Leafhopper, one of the more bizarrely coloured insects. It is very small, only about 5-6 mm in length, so the way you see it on your screen is several times life size! I find these more often on a milkweed plant than any other species.

A female Eastern Pondhawk was in the area. It is one of the more gorgeous dragonflies, in my opinion.

Other dragonflies were around, including many White-faced Meadowhawks. They would be perched, then dash out before returning. They were catching smaller insects, such as midges and mosquitoes, and are voracious predators.

Here a female of the species chowing down on a recent capture, followed by an 'in-your-face' view.

Woodlands are attractive on a heavily overcast day. I enjoy the Spicebush Trail in these conditions.

The ferns are quite lush at this time of year, with a good diversity: Ostrich Fern, Sensitive Fern, Silvery Spleenwort, Maidenhair Fern, Broad Beech Fern, Marsh Fern, Cinnamon Fern, Royal Fern, Rattlesnake Fern and others are scattered along the trail, sometimes in abundance. A healthy fern diversity means a healthy forest.

Broad Beech Fern

Silvery Speenwort

There is lots of Spicebush along this trail, not surprisingly. Here is a clump of Spicebush stems. Do you see anything else in this photo?

If you look closely on the largest stem, there is a moth. It blends in quite well, and a casual passer-by would easily miss it. It is a moth with the common name of Tulip-tree Beauty.

A common plant in the damp areas of this trail include the Wood Nettle. The flowers are very tiny...not spectacular at all! And yes, being a nettle, the stiff hairs will sting.

Wood Nettle
One reader of a previous post asked why there was no mention of Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) in my post of early season native orchids. Well there are two reasons: first of all it is not a native species, but an orchid that came from Europe. And second of all, at Rondeau it is not an early season orchid. However it is just coming nicely into flower these days, and is quite widespread along this trail. An image is below.
Epipactis helleborine


  1. Thank you very much for your help identifying some of the ferns I saw today on Spicebush Trail. I'll go back tomorrow with my fern key. What a lovely blog you have here!

  2. Hi Kelly....thanks so much for visiting my blog and providing your encouraging comments. I always enjoy the Spicebush Trail and the diversity it has to offer, and I am glad that you do also.