Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Snow Bunting is a Regular Winter Visitor to the open fields

Every winter we see the odd flock of snowbirds -- as we might call them -- fluttering across the snow covered farmer's fields out here in the country. They are actually snow buntings [Plectrophenax nivalis ]. Shown here is a flock that is just about to take flight after feeding for mere moments on some corn that was put out on the snow for the wild turkeys.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Dogbane Beetle

Our third unusual and interesting bug for this week -- so far is this very attractive Dogbane Beetle [Chrysochus auratus] sitting still on our green bin (food compost recycling bin).

Stump Stabber

So whats with all the weird bugs. Over the last week I have found 5 unusual and very interesting insects. Today I also found a Stump Stabber [Megahyssa spp.] which appears like a wasp with a very long tail as shown in the photo.

This insect preys on eggs of a horntail -- another wasp that lays eggs in the wood of trees. It apparently 'sounds' the wood looking for horntail eggs to lay its eggs in.  This is likely the [Megarhyssa macrurus] as shown on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dog Day Cicada

Today was one of those hot dog days of summer when you can hear the high pitched buzz of the "heat bug" as we used to call it as kids. In my 60 years I have never seen a cicada until today. While climbing the TV tower to do some work, I found this green Cicada on the roof next to the stabilizing bar of the tower. And there was also quite a buzz in the trees above.

According to Bugs of Ontario, by John Acorn, ISBN 1-55105-287-3, this is the Dog Day Cicada [Tibicen canicularis.]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bear Tracks

Sunday, while clearing some trail we came across this bear track of a fairly young bear. Relatives say that they have seen a small 300 lb or so bear near here. There is only one species of bear here which is the black bear.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A small white moth in the woods

Walking through the woods one occasionally stirs up a small white moth like the one pictured here. I have identified this one as Pale Beauty (Campaea perlata). A nearly all white moth with black beads for eyes. It is quite an evaisive moth and quite hard to capture. This moth was found dead on the forest floor and stood out quite strikingly agains the dark background.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Oak Trees are tolerant to Juglone toxin (Butternut and Black Walnut)

This woodlot is entirely forested but for a few open clearings. Clearings can always be found about the dead butternut stands, which one can assume were created by the juglone toxin produced by the butternut trees when still living. I am looking for sites to plant the red oaks that have germinated. Red oaks are partially shade tolerant so clearings are ideal for planting. The question then is if the oaks are tolerant to the juglone toxin which apparently they are. According to the following list of trees are resistant to juglone toxin. So far 60 acorns have germinated and to date I have planted 52 in various clearings.
Most maples except silver maple (Acer spp)
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Serviceberry, Shadblow (Amelanchier)
Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
River Birch (Betula nigra)
Hickory (Carya spp)
Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Oak species (Quercus spp)
Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Hawthorne (Crataegus spp)
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Arborvitae or Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Canada Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)
Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
American Elm (Ulmus americana)
Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana)
Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Further Acorn Tests and Acorn Gemination

The collection of acorns that were described in earlier posts, were bagged into ziplock bags and stored over winter in the fridge to be "stratified" as they call it. By now all the weevil worms would have emerged and some were still found in the bottom of the fridge. They chewed their way through the plastic bags. The surviving acorns were again float tested and only 130 finally survived. These were then placed on a layer of earth and covered by wet newspapers. in about a week the acorns started to produce a tap root as pictured here.