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11 September 2009 @ 09:14 pm
Insects and Spiders at Hurdman  
I only managed to get to Hurdman once this week, and although I was hoping to find some more migrants, the insects proved more interesting and cooperative instead. However, I was happy to see one Northern Parula along the trail to the bird feeders (which are not yet up), although unfortunately this was the only migrant I saw on my outing this week.

Once I left the woods, I started seeing lots of spider webs in the tall, thick weeds growing along the bike path. There were no argiopes that I could see; instead, I found a couple of different orbweavers.

This is the most beautifully patterned spider that I have seen to date. Deb and I found one of these guys at the Richmond Lagoon as well on the weekend, although it wasn't sitting in its web when we photographed it.

Cross Orbweaver

The pattern on this fella is also quite interesting and makes me think of a face surrounded by flames. This is one of the orbweavers that seems to prefer to remain tucked away out of sight rather than conspicuously sitting in its web.

Shamrock Orbweaver

This is another Cross Orbweaver that I found. Although spiders still give me the creeps, I kept a lookout for these intricately detailed orbweavers on my walk.

Cross Orbweaver

While scanning the edges of the brush for spiders, I came across a single reddish-orange lady beetle. This non-native species, called the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata), is appropriately named as it is characterised by seven spots, three on each wing cover and one right behind the middle of the prothorax. It was repeatedly introduced to North America in the last century to help control pests such as aphids, ultimately resulting in its establishment in the eastern states and here in Ontario where it has become the most commonly encountered member of the Coccinellidae. However, like the majority of schemes to introduce non-native species to North America, this introduction had a price; the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle has almost entirely replaced the formerly common native Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella novemnotata).

Seven-spotted Lady Beetle

Further along the trail, in a grassy area I noticed a small orange moth fluttering quite low to the ground. When I approached it, however, I noticed that it was not orange at all, but yellow with pink stripes. This tiny creature was most cooperative when I attempted to photograph it with my macro setting.

Chickweed Geometer

That was the last of the interesting insects that I saw that day as I had to get back to work. Still, it proves that even though summer is just about over, there are a few interesting and different species to be seen!