How would you like to come face to face with this fierce-looking caterpillar if you were about knee high to a grasshopper? It was about 4 inches long (10 cm), around 1/2 inch in diameter (1 cm), and surprisingly quick at navigating through the tangle of grass. This is the larva of a Modest Sphinx Moth (Pachysphinx modesta) that we saw in the community of Oxtongue Lake, Ontario, near the end of August. Read more
I relocated some Coneflowers in my Toronto garden last fall, and was blessed with the gift of a few more from a friend, and the plants seem to be flourishing in their new location. Bob and I have monitored them closely since they are said to attract butterflies, and late one afternoon, we spotted this beauty, a Black Swallowtail Butterfly tasting the nectar from one particularly tall specimen. Read more
On a particularly hot July day, Bob and I decided to seek cooler temperatures along the lakefront here in Toronto, so we loaded our bikes and made for Tommy Thompson Park. There, along the bicycle trail, Bob spotted this dainty Hickory Hairstreak Butterfly. It was a Lifer for us. Read more
An Eastern Comma Butterfly was the icing on the cake for Bob’s and my bicycle tour around Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, Ontario one Sunday. Eager to check out the construction of new cells along the eastern perimeter of the Leslie Street Spit, we had embarked on a day-long circuitous route around the man-made peninsula in the hopes of seeing some shorebirds in the dwindling amount of water in the huge holes. Read more
Even before we left Canada for Mexico, Bob and I had planned to visit all three of the monarch butterfly sanctuaries that are near Zitacuaro. Pablo, the host at our hotel, Hotel Rancho San Cayetano, was very pleased that we included Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in our plans. Of the three that we would visit, Cerro Pelon is the least known and hence less visited, two pluses in our book, but perhaps it is for good reason. To reach the roosting location of the butterflies, riding on horseback is almost a necessity. It made for quite the adventure. Read more
There are eight butterfly colonies that exist in protected areas of Mexico, five of which are located in the state of Michoacan, but only two of these are open to the public. We wanted to check out both for the different experiences that they provide. On Day 4 of our trip, we retraced the route towards Angangueo and then branched off towards the Sierra Chincua Butterfly Reserve. Although smaller in scope, with fewer butterflies overall, we were actually able to get closer to those resting in the trees. Read more
For a number of years now, Bob and I have intended to go to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico to witness the spectacle of the Monarch Butterflies that winter there. We realized our dream in January 2015 when we flew into Mexico City, and two days later found ourselves at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in the State of Michoacán. The sight literally brought me to tears. Read more
Great Black Digger Wasp At McKenzie Marsh In Aurora
When Bob and I set off to explore the Atkinson Park Wetlands found at St. John’s Sideroad and Yonge Street in Aurora, Ontario, we expected to find ducks and herons, frogs and toads, but had not anticipated or planned on focusing on a number of interesting insects. As I studied the frogs in the pond, Bob was absorbed in observing a curious black bug that turned out to be a Great Black Digger Wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). Read more
A Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly In Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
This past summer, Bob and I undertook to hike the Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. For a summer’s day, the temperature was not all that hot, but we were blessed with wonderful sunshine and a gentle breeze to cool us over the course of the 7 hours that it took to complete our hike. Along about mid-morning, amidst the flickering shadows cast by millions of green leaves, a Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly (Lethe anthedon) settled its dainty body on some foliage at the edge of the thick forest. Read more
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