Great Egret

Great Egret

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday flyday

OK not all of the following occurred today, Friday Aug 8, but I liked the title. And since I have the option, I will pop a few in from a trip to Rondeau a couple of days ago.

Fyi the 'fly' part refers to butterflies, dragonflies, and true flies.

The warm summer weather is a great time to see many flying insects, whether in the back yard, where many of these photos were taken, or any natural area. The skies are a-buzz with flies!

Today was a good lepidoptera day in the yard. I saw:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

Painted Lady

This was quite a fresh looking Painted Lady. More and more of the butterflies I am seeing are showing wear, with tattered wings. So it is always nice to see a fresh individual.

Monarch female
 It has actually been a pretty good year for Monarchs, well at least compared with some recent years. I've seen dozens of them in various places, and probably well over a dozen in the yard. The milkweeds are regularly visited by the females to lay eggs, and we have seen almost two dozen caterpillars of various sizes. No pupae yet, but I am sure they are there. More on that in a future post.....

Red-spotted Purple

Red Admiral

Cabbage White
 I almost didn't put the Cabbage White in.....they are so common! But it isn't their fault, so here is probably one of the few times I will ever post a photo of it. Actually they are often flitting around so steadily, they aren't always easy to get photos of.

Unknown moth
This little moth is quite more than about half a centimetre across. It may be one of the Tussock Moths, but I'm still working on its id. If anyone has the latest Moth ID book and can tell me what it is, it would be appreciated.

There were others present in the last day or two that I wasn't able to get photos of, such as a Giant Swallowtail which didn't stick around long enough to allow me to document its presence. And earlier today, I noted one of the few skippers I've had in the backyard this summer. I didn't have the camera in my hands, and by the time I got back about two minutes later, it had vanished. If memory served me correctly, it looked closest to a Dion Skipper, which would be quite unusual considering the habitat, so I can't be sure.

There were other 'flies' present as well. One of the more common ones is this green blowfly.
Green Blowfly

Flower or Hover fly
There are quite a few species of hoverfly to choose from. It seems this one is Toxomerus marginatus, seen here on the tiny flower heads of dill. It is common, but very tiny, with a total body length of only 5-6 mm! Needless to say this is the realm of macro photography, and for this I had my 100mm macro lens on my full frame camera along with three extension tubes totalling 68mm of extension, and then I cropped it on the computer. It is a beneficial species, as the larvae feed on aphids and the larvae of other harmful insects.

Other 'flies' over the last couple of days after a visit to Rondeau, include:

Appalachian Brown

Common Buckeye
 This is only the second Common Buckeye I have seen this year, the first one being on July 24 along a railroad corridor in western Elgin Co where I was doing some inventory work. This species is extremely rare this year, quite unlike a couple of years ago when they were in fact, very common.

Northern Pearly Eye

White-faced Meadowhawk
The White-faced Meadowhawk is certainly one of the most common, if not the most common, dragonfly I've seen anywhere I've gone in the last couple of weeks.

Horsefly species
There were a lot of deerflies (Tabanidae) around while I was hiking at Rondeau, but I didn't let them land so I could get a photo. However this Horsefly, which in general is a lot less common than deerflies, was buzzing around and landed on the path, enabling me to capture this photo without donating a big chunk of my flesh to the cause.

Ribbon Snake does a snake fit in with the 'fly' theme? I came across it, belly up, along the road that is closed to vehicles. But something had recently caused its death, and if you look closely you can see some of its innards popping out of its slender body. A cyclist or park vehicle (since it is closed to public vehicles) was undoubtedly the cause of its death. And there were flies on it, attempting to lay eggs, no doubt, so that the larvae (a.k.a. maggots) would be able to feed before becoming adults themselves.

It is quite unfortunate that this Ribbon Snake was killed. It is a declining species in Ontario, and is officially considered Special Concern, which is one short step away from being legally Threatened. Ribbon Snakes like the habitat provided by wooded wetlands, so there is lots of habitat for them at Rondeau. However since paved roads go through or close by lots of the wet woodland habitat at Rondeau, they are at risk of being run over as they bask on the pavement in their attempt to absorb the warmth of the sunlight. For that reason, some roads at Rondeau have been closed for part of the year, especially when reptiles such as the Ribbon Snake may be using them more frequently and thus at greater risk of being harmed.


  1. That moth may be an Apple Leaf Skeletonizer. They can be quite variable like many moths. Apparently uncommon!
    Just my 'nickel's' worth!

  2. I think you may be on to something, Blake, with the moth id....a lot of the details fit nicely....thanks! My older Peterson Moth Guide, my Caterpillars/moths of Eastern NA, and my Steve Marshall's Insects Natural History and Diversity of eastern NA do not illustrate this moth......good old Google came through!

    1. I have Dave Beadle's moth book (Peterson) which is very good. I use it all the time. Sometimes I still cannot find some things I come across! Moths can be highly variable.

    2. Ah....I knew that Dave Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie (former newsletter editor for OFO News when I started with OFO News) had worked on this guide, but I haven't seen it yet, although it has been out for at least three years now, or thereabouts. Will have to check it out. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for the Pearly Eye and Appalachian Brown shots. That helped me start figuring out one I'd seen briefly early in the week in heavy shade (which turned out to be a Pearly Eye) I hadn't any idea where to start till I saw your clear photos!

  4. You are quite welcome, Bet.....glad they were of help!