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02 May 2010 @ 09:42 pm
Hurdman in late April  

I visited Hurdman Park twice in the last week, hoping to see some new migrants. I didn't find any new species of birds, however, and devoted my time photographing the insects and flowers I found instead. On my first visit there on Monday, I found a sunny spot on the side of the hill where wild strawberries were growing and a few blossoms had opened on a nearby shrub. The white flowers attracted insects to their nectar, and I spent a few minutes watching and photographing them.

Ground Ivy

The first bug I noticed was a stinkbug crawling behind a leaf on the unidentified shrub. These small insects look like they are carrying shields on their backs, and in fact are sometimes referred to as shield bugs. They are named for their ability to secrete a malodrous liquid when threatened by predators.

Stinkbug (Pentatomid sp.)

Wild strawberries are common in the conservation areas that I visit, and they are blooming everywhere right now.

Wild Strawberry

I saw a few hover flies at Hurdman, though only a few landed close enough to photograph.

Hover Fly

Lejops (Anasimyia) species -male

When I returned later in the week, the clouds had moved in and the temperature was cooler. Leaving the bus station, I noticed these tulips growing alongside the bike path. The stripes were quite striking.


I found more ground ivy growing beside one of the side trails. I quite like these pretty purple flowers, though they are small and grow so close to the ground that they are often difficult to see.

Ground Ivy

A few insects were flying despite the cooler weather, including a few bees.

Bumble Bee on Garlic Mustard

I also came across a Cabbage White butterfly. This one was a female, as evidenced by the two small black dots on her wings. These butterflies were first found in North America in the 1860s. Originally introduced into Quebec, they spread across the continent in only a few decades. Its range in Canada now extends from coast to coast and up into the boreal forest.

Cabbage White

Even though the birds were quiet, there were still enough flowers and insects to make my outings interesting, and any time outdoors is time well spent indeed.