Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Young Butternut Tree in Winter

This picture is of a small butternut tree growing about 300 metres (~1000 ft) from the house. On the ground to the right is a bare patch that I believe is created by the butternut root’s characteristic of transmitting the juglone toxin to neighbouring tree roots thus limiting their growth. Only shallow rooted plants such as grass will grow in this area that do not contact the roots. To the left it is also clear. The branches on the ground are left over from a Manitoba maple that was felled and limbed just before the snow fell.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A visit of a Leaf-Footed Bug

Throughout the winter we are in the company of several persevering insects. These include ladybugs in the highest abundance as well as some cluster-flies and the odd single curious bug such as the one pictured here.

According to Insects by Borror and White it is the leaf-footed bug, Family Coreidae. There is little else provided in the field guide. It may be predaceous or a plant feeder.

According to it is a Western Conifer Seed bug [Leptoglossus occidentalis].
According to it damages douglas fir, ponderosa pine and incense cedar. None of these trees exist on this woodlot that I know of so I wonder what host trees it feeds on around here?

INSECTS, Borror, Donald J. and White, Richard E., Peterson Field Guides, 1970, ISBN 0-395-91171-2 (pbk.).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Only Two Turkeys So Far this Winter

From past postings on this blog, you will note that we have had as many as a dozen or so turkeys on a single visit at our bird feeding station for the last three winters. This year has been disappointing as we have only had these two turkeys pictured here.
I captured this picture this morning just as they started to take flight. The wing breadth and span is quite impressive and they fly very well. This time they flew off over the tree tops out of sight.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Found several Snowshoe Hare Beds

Just before dark this evening, I took a little stroll around the two spruce plantation plots near the house. I found numerous snowshoe hare tracks and several beds. The snowshoe hare must rest right on top of the snow. It is a well used patch with a concentration of rabbit droppings.

I also found ruffed grouse tracks and flushed out two perched high up in the trees.

An Inspection of a Fisher Pelt

A colleague brought a pelt – fully tanned hide with fur intact – of a fisher [martes pennanti] to work, which we proceeded to inspect and hover over during lunch break. He is a certified trapper in the Province of Quebec so he is permitted to trap fur-bearing animals. The pelt was that of a male fisher. It is not as nice and dark as that of a female I am told. What intrigued me about this pelt were the porcupine quil puncture marks that were clearly visible from the inside of the pelt. The head, shoulder and upper body area of the pelt were scared by several dozen quil punctures. Probably not a good skin for making waterproof clothing. I have heard that the fisher is able to resist injury caused by the quils and this pelt obviously proves the point. The fisher was caught because it had become a local nusance and was devouring neighbourhood cats where my colleague lives in Quebec. It was still quite healthy and thus not affected by the quils.