Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Backyard wildlife......more but different!

Many people have relatively well-manicured, even relatively sterile lawns. Not us! The less grass to cut, the better, and so a lot of it has been put into trees and gardens. The latter may be of the veggie type or the ornamental flower type or even the wildflower/tallgrass prairie type. It is amazing what one can get into a small space!

And that leads to a wonderful diversity of fauna making use of it. Some of the interesting critters you may have already seen on previous blog posts. But there is often something new popping into view.

The Echinacea in particular attracts a wide diversity of insects. Bees are buzzing around like crazy, as are various fly type pollinators that look like bees.


On the dill, we see the larvae of Black Swallowtail.

Black Swallowtail larva

This guy is still pretty tiny....it has a lot of growing to do before it becomes an adult.

Black Swallowtail adult

I came across another immature katydid recently. This appears to be another of the Fork-tailed Bush Katydid type. It spent some of its time on this Echinacea, but was on its way to a nearby tomato plant.

Fork-tailed Bush Katydid female


One morning, tucked up under some raspberry bushes, was this magnificent moth. It is a Pandorus Sphinx, one of the largest moths of the area. It feeds on wild grape among other things. It looks very fresh, so it may have just emerged from its cocoon in the previous few hours, and was spending the day drying its wings and waiting for nightfall to begin the next chapter in its life.

Pandorus Sphinx

Much smaller than this sphinx moth is a planthopper, looking very much like a small leaf with legs on the move. It isn't much larger than your thumb, and usually gets around by walking on the vegetation, but it can both leap and fly at least for short distances.

Acanalonia conica

On the underside of some cucumber leaves were these tiny Lace bugs, just a few millimetres in body length. They get their name because upon a closer look, part of their body has a delicate lace-like pattern. The adult is on the left and the much smaller nymph is on the right and lower down.

Lace bugs

Attached to a stem that had been cast into a future compost pile was this empty case of a Cicada. There are several kinds of cicada in this range....I am not sure exactly what species this one is. Maybe now I will hear the adult singing/buzzing away in the tree tops on a warm day.
Cicada sp nymphal case

Not a true insect, but a member of the Arachnidae family, are spiders. They aren't the favourite critter to warm up to, but they do catch lots of insects! This Garden Cross Spider had its web stretched across some plants, and had already captured several small insects.
Garden Cross Spider
This Orchard Orb Weaver had its web stretched between a couple of milkweed plants, and likewise had had several feeds of insects that became entrapped. It really is an attractive critter when you get up close to it. Go ahead....take a closer look!

Orchard Orb Weaver
Because we use a lot of composted material in our garden, fungi appear from time to time. The parts that we typically see are just the fruiting bodies of the much larger organism below ground. There, the 'roots' of the fungi (called mycorrhizae) are busily devouring dead plant material. The fruiting body above ground lasts just long enough to have the spores disperse, to enable more of them to find a suitable substrate to live on. This one is, I believe, a type of Coprinus or Inky Cap. Many of them are much larger.....this one's cap is only about 1.3 cm in diameter.

Inky Cap
At the opposite end of the size spectrum, we have our resident bunnies......you will be hearing more about their exploits in life and death in a future post.


American Robins have several broods over the season. I think our local ones are on their third brood already. This recently fledged youngster was hanging out along the pathway through our prairie/forest patch.

 It then hopped up to the fence, and seemed to be interested in the nearby house wren nest box. I'm not sure what was going through its mind!

Just below this spot, a fledged young Song Sparrow was resting, waiting for one of its parents to come by with food.

Song Sparrow fledgling

And above the house late today, this adult Mourning Dove had it own 'aerial view' of the property......perhaps it was getting ready to view the super moon tonight.....or not.


No, we don't have cable or satellite tv.....we only graduated from bunny ears a couple of years ago, but with this set of rooftop aerial, we can get all the channels we 'need'. We can spend more time in the garden or elsewhere observing nature, and we provide a good resting place for birds.....what would they use if we had cable or satellite :-).




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