Butterflies and Moths we sighted at our retreat in Tuscany.



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Butterflies and Moths we sighted at our retreat in Tuscany

Stone cottage at Il Colombaio di Cencio, Tuscany

The morning following our arrival in Tuscany at first looked like it would be dreary and wet.  A light sprinkle of rain dampened the patio stones as we ate breakfast, but by the time we finished our fruit and cereal, warm September sunshine cast shadows of the tall trees surrounding our farmhouse, so we set off to explore the vineyard.  Butterflies and moths were everywhere in our dooryard, on the wildflowers and clinging to bushes and vines. Read more

A Northern Parula Warbler in a Backyard Oasis



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A Northern Parula Warbler in a Backyard Oasis

Northern parula sitting on a tree limb in Toronto, Ontario

It was this past spring that Bob and I finally visited the Long Point area of Ontario during the peak period of songbird migration.  We had a long wish list of new birds that we would like to see, and on this list was a Northern Parula.  We failed to spot any when in that area of the province but did have one spend the afternoon in our Toronto backyard soon thereafter.  What a pleasant surprise! Read more

An Eastern Comma Butterfly at Rosetta McClain Gardens



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An Eastern Comma Butterfly at Rosetta McClain Gardens

eastern comma butterfly, rosetta mcclain park, toronto, pic 12

Late this summer, Bob and I popped down to Rosetta McClain Gardens in Toronto to see if we could discover any birds of note but also to look for Monarch Butterflies given the few that we had seen in our own garden over the summer.  What we found was an Eastern Comma Butterfly on one of the Butterfly Bushes. Read more

Dog-day Cicadas mating in the heat of summer



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Dog-day Cicadas Mating in the heat of summer

mating cicadas in toronto, ontario

On a recent sultry summer day here in Toronto, Ontario, I went out to the garden to tend to some chores.  Imagine my surprise, as I bent to the task of deadheading my Gaillardia, when something clipped the side of my head.  Seconds later, I noticed a pair of Dog-Day Cicadas mating where they lay on the pavement of the street. Read more

A Hummingbird Clearwing Moth at Oxtongue Lake

A Hummingbird Clearwing Moth at Oxtongue Lake

Image of a clearwing hummingbird moth at lilac bush at oxtongue lake, in ontario.

If ever you have seen a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, you were probably mesmerized as we were by the sheer look of its see-through wings and the way it hovers like a hummingbird.  In fact, you might have mistaken it for one of those teeny birds.  Bob and I have seen Hummingbird Clearwing Moths on a couple of occasions, once in Algonquin Park and this one above in my mom’s garden at Oxtongue Lake, Ontario. Read more

A Black-throated Blue Warbler in our Garden



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A Black-throated Blue Warbler in our Garden

black-throated blue warbler, male, toronto, pic 1

One day in early May, as I returned home from doing some errands, I found Bob tied up on the telephone.  He no sooner hung up the receiver but what he declared, “there’s a new bird in our back apple tree!”  It turned out to be a male Black-throated Blue Warbler. Read more

Flamboyant Cacti at Mesa Verde National Park



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Flamboyant Cacti at Mesa Verde National Park

musk thistle, mesa verde national park, colorado, 2

From the Visitor Centre at the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Bob and I ascended a sinuous and steep roadway to the Museum that is located near Spruce Tree House, one group of cliff dwellings open to the public.  When we pulled into the parking lot, my attention was immediately captured by the most outstanding examples of wildflowers, Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans), that were bobbing atop tall stalks next to one of the adobe outbuildings. Read more

Sunchokes growing wild at Lower Reesor Pond in Toronto



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Sunchokes growing wild at Lower Reesor Pond in Toronto

sunchokes growing at lower reesor pond - toronto 2

How beautiful is a sprawling drift of Sunchokes fading into the distance!  That is just what we found when Bob and I visited Lower Reesor Pond in northeast Toronto.  This native species of sunflower goes by many different names including Sunchokes, Sunroot or Earth Apple. Read more

Red Lily beetles plague my Toronto Tiger Lilies



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Red Lily beetles plague my Toronto Tiger Lilies

Red lily beetle in toronto garden 4

For the past several years, starting each spring and into the summer months,  I have been pestered by Red Lily Beetles (Lilioceris lilii) on my Tiger Lilies .  It is actually the beetles’ shiny, hard forewings that are red.  These pretty little beetles stand out quite well on green plants, but they are a trick to catch and squash.  I declare that I think they see me coming because, often, as I move in on their position, they drop to the earth below and essentially disappear in the shadows.  It doesn’t help that, this year, I spread red cedar chips in all my gardens, so imagine trying to find a red bug on that red surface. Read more

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