Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A Fly Devouring a Mosquito

In this photo a fly pounced on and grabbed a mosquito that I swatted but didn' kill. This is my kind of fly. No idea what type of fly it is. Identifying that will be a project for a winter day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Verdict - Buckthorn Disease is Oat Crown Rust

I received a number of responses and all led me to Oat Crown Rust as the disease that has affected our buckthorn bushes. Some bushes are so badly hit now that they appear to be dying, or at least severely weakened.

Thanks to Drs. Andre, Bernard and Richard.

Richard Wilson,  Forest Program Pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources provided the following response.

 I am pretty sure what you are seeing is Oat Crown Rust, and buckthorn is the alternate host for this disease. This is a tentative identification for now and I will send you positive ID once our lab can confirm this.

The causal agent of this disease is Puccinia coronata, a serious disease on oats and as you have seen, can be very damaging to buckthorn too.  I have include a few websites here for your information.




I now see the rust affecting buckthorn quite widely for many kilometres all around.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buckthorn Blight

As mentioned in previous posts, our woodlot is infested from corner to corner by the two common invasive species of Buckthorn. These are the Common buckthorn [Rhamnus cathartica] and the Glossy buckthorn [Frangula alnus]. Both have also been referred to as European buckthorn in different sources, so I have decided to avoid that name altogether.

In the last week I have found a disease on both species of buckthorn that in some cases has completely defoliated the bush. The disease is quite widespread but still only infecting selective trees. It looks like a bright orange mould as pictured here.

I wonder what that is?

Black Bear sighting

This afternoon I spotted a small black bear [Ursus americanus] browsing and foraging along our road about 150 metres ~ 500 feet) away. It was about a head taller than our neighbour's full grown St. Bernard dogs. At first I wondered who's black dog that was, until I saw the thick legs and paws that immediately gave away its identity.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Return of the Ant

After a much colder and snowier winter it seems that it took longer for the ant population to resurface. In the past we have experienced what likely is a carpenter ant. We have been diligently trying to get rid of it with varied levels of success. 

This year however we have found a very different ant. It had a black abdomen, a red torso and a larger black head. It has very aggressive mandibles. Based on some very basic research it most closely resembles Myrmica incompleta (lets call it MI). This species can be viewed at: http://www.insectsofalberta.com/myrmica-incompleta.htm

Last summer, I had observed ant wars between the carpenter ant and the Myrmica incompleta so the two species are evidently not compatible. Could it be that MI is now keeping the Carpenter ant away, a blessing in disguise.