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15 June 2010 @ 07:51 pm
The Larose Forest BioBlitz - Part II  

There was one main path into the woods, which were quite dark in the mid-afternoon gloom. We saw a Long-horned Beetle on a daisy just inside the woods and a White Admiral fluttering by before landing on a leaf high above our heads. The path went straight for a short while before splitting into two. One branch continued straight ahead, but quickly became narrow and overgrown; the other branch curved to the left, but stayed wide enough for two people to be able to walk side by side. If we had gone straight we would have come out to the river, which probably would have been a lot more interesting. However, as we hadn't known that at the time, and as that trail looked less appealing, we followed the track to the left.

Xanthotype sp.

Long-horned Beetle (Strangalepta sp.)

We saw a couple of small birds flitting through the woods near the treetops but were unable to get a good look at any of them. The woods were fairly quiet, with no chickadees or blue jays calling and no woodpeckers tapping. At one point a Red-breasted Nuthatch landed on a tree right in front of us, and it seemed that that was the only species we would see. However, further down the trail we heard a couple of Pine Warblers trilling away, and even managed to see one high up in the conifers. A little while later we heard a pair of Hermit Thrushes singing a duet somewhere off the trail and set off to find them. We managed to track one of them down, singing on a branch just above eye level, and at that point we realized there were in fact three Hermit Thrushes singing, not just two! In addition to the one in front of us we could hear one singing back the way we had came and a third Hermit Thrush singing somewhere off in the distance. Amazingly, the nuthatch, the Pine Warbler, and the Hermit Thrush were the only three bird species we would identify in the woods.

To be honest, there was not as much diversity in the woods as I had hoped, and the thick ferny undergrowth made the idea of venturing off-trail unappealing. Deb and I stuck to the main trail, finding a few unidentified moths and insects and little else. I recognized one of the moths from my outing at Nortel last month.

Xanthotype sp.

The sun broke through the cloud cover just once. We found a large sunny clearing and watched to see what insects would come to take advantage of the warmth and sunlight. An unidentified emerald dragonfly zipped around the clearing a few times before flying up into the trees; I also saw what looked like a large hover fly land on a fern leaf. When Deb told me it was a horse fly, I was startled; I hadn't realized they were such pretty insects.

Horse Fly (Stonemyia sp.)

The sun disappeared agin, and eventually that trail petered out as well. Deb and I decided to head back out to the road where the insect life was more abundant anyway. We saw a Milbert's Tortoiseshell, some chickadees, and quite a few beetles gathering pollen among the daisies. I had seen my first Flower scarab beetle last year during the butterfly outing at Larose Forest; I was happy to find several of them during the BioBlitz, all collecting pollen from the daisies.

Flower scarab beetle (Trichiotinus affinis)

This one didn't like having his picture taken; here he is running away from the camera!

Flower scarab beetle (Trichiotinus affinis)

We found a couple of larger beetles as well. This Rose Chafer is one of the scarab beetles and comes in shades of golden-yellow to reddish-brown. It is found in old fields, gardens, and forest or field edges where vines are abundant. Adults emerge in early summer and feed on flowers such as roses, irises, and peonies, as well as foliage and fruits.

Adults have a life span of up to 6 weeks. They contain cantharadin, a substance poisonous to chickens and other birds.

Rose Chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus)

We also found another longhorn beetle...

Flower Longhorn Beetle (Trigonarthris sp.)

...and a katydid nymph. The katydid belongs to the long-horned grasshopper family (Tettigoniidae) in the order Orthoptera. In this case, the "horns" refer to antennae. They live primarily in trees and shrubs, and many are green in order to blend in with their surroundings. Nymphs, such as the one I photographed, molt several times as they grow.

Katydid nymph

We saw a few more butterflies, including a very worn and tattered Red Admiral, an uncooperative Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, and an uncooperative White Admiral; both of these flew up into the leaves along the forest's edge without stopping. We also found a more cooperative White Admiral further along. Like most of the other insects we saw, it was nectaring on the daisies.

White Admiral

Deb and I left shortly after that, as it was getting close to dinnertime. Participating in the BioBlitz was very interesting, and I saw a lot of neat insects. The best find was definitely the Arrowhead Spiketail, although the beetles were certainly fun to watch too, especially the pollen-coloured flower scarab beetles. I would definitely take part in any future BioBlitzes, now that I know how they work and what to expect!

Soul Diasporasoul_diaspora on July 16th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
You must be posting these privately and then editing them for awhile before making them public--I don't see anything from you on my friends page, but then I come over here and notice new entries are up! I'll have to keep an eye on your main page so I don't miss any more pretty pictures :-)

I like the horsefly.
Gillian: Butterflygillianm on July 16th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
Hi Suzanne! Yes, I'm still dreadfully behind on my blogging, ever since I went to Point Pelee in May. I do work on them privately for a couple of days, and then when I post them I have to back-date them. I guess when I back-date the entries they show up on your friends page in chronological order. So, yes, I am still blogging regularly, I haven't taken a month-long hiatus as the dates would suggest!

If you're interested in seeing new photos, I am much more current with my Pbase galleries. All my recent shots are posted in my "Recently Addded" gallery....much easier to update, since I don't have to write up anything!

I like the horse fly too. From a distance, though!!!
Soul Diasporasoul_diaspora on July 18th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
BTW, my husband and I just visited Larose Forest for the first time today...and what should we find but three Hermit Thrushes singing in concert! I wonder if they were the same three you found? We didn't spot any of the singers, but did glimpse a fourth on the ground.