Monday, 28 July 2014

More Milkweed critters; part 3: Charlotte's web spider family

Yes! Charlotte is on a milkweed plant, with all her little children! I've been enjoying my Macro lens and the various critters on my ubiquitous Milkweed plants.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Monarch butterfly video

July 28 UPDATE:
After a massive thunder and lightning show, and 46mm of rain in an hour, I brought her into the kitchen. Maggie Monarch passed over night, tucked in behind the curtain on the plant.

It's so pretty, with a pretty useless wing.
I ended up putting it out in the garden. The wing is irreparable. I tried it on the phlox, where it unfolded its long proboscus and drank the dewy rain water.
I wondered if I should put it on the Milkweed, if it had eggs to lay. I set it there, then went back, and an ant was crawling all over it. They are merciless, so back I put it on a plant on the sheltered back deck. It is now pouring rain and thundering. It was a good move. The wind acted as sort of a physiotherapist, but I'm not sure if this is a good thing.

Broken-winged Monarch from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
This poo little Monarch was smucked by a car. I brought it home.

Wounded Monarch butterfly - what do I do with her?

UPDATE: July 28th

Maggie passed over last night, safely ensconced in the Goldfish plant in the kitchen. The rain and winds were terrible, with thunder and lightning. She was blown off a plant outdoors, flung, sodden, to the ground. She'd taken some water.

Maggie's story

I'm so sad. I was out taking photographs of a new bird, Common Yellowthroat, by the mailbox. I saw this butterfly fly into the path of a car. She ended up on the road.
At first I popped her on the petunias in the planter. I tried giving her some of the hummingbird food, but she wasn't interested. Then, thought she might like the Milkweed, but she's likely in no mood to lay eggs. (My first Monarch caterpillar has disappeared, in its place was a spider. I'm not optimistic.)
I put her in the back yard overnight, on the Hops bine, as the wind was picking up and she cannot fly. This morning, she was drinking water from the rainfall on the plant leaves this morning. Her wings are soaking wet.

Now what?

The Book of Mormon; Fortissimo; Parliament Hill

Yes, musician friends will know that this is a musical term (ff) applied to this 18th annual Ottawa event.  We were having dinner downtown when we heard bagpipes playing. It was a mother/daughter date! The sound of bagpipes isn't totally unusual in Ottawa, but surprising to at 7 p.m. and we went to investigate!
selfie at the Darcy McGee pub!
 We were on our way to see The Book of Mormon. I'd seen snippets of it on TV and thought it might be fun to see. It was totally coarse and vulgar, I had been warned, but it was funny and the music, actors and musicians were fabulous.

We have been desensitized to the f-bomb, with shows like this and the South Park movie. I suggested to my students, when we were studying K'Naan, and his music and lyrics in our Language Arts class, that those who have lived through coups and lived in poverty in war-torn countries, have a right to use such strong language!

I've taught kids who fled war, running to the hills amongst gunfire (they were Vietnamese Boat People). I also taught kids who were civilian victims of the Gulf War, fleeing to the safety of Canada. Some of my students have come from Arabic nations, as well.
Nothing says summer like eating outdoors!

Not great photos with the videocam,
but easier to take selfies
than with my camera!

Me an' my girl!

But, back to Parliament hill...

It turned out that we were watching the bagpipes warm up for Fortissimo, and we walked over to take a look. We had time between dinner, and our show.
War Memorial

Chateau Laurier

I loved being downtown, with the hustle and bustle of the city. All the cool people were there. I enjoyed seeing people dressed up, too. There is much casual about Ottawans clothing. We were nicely dressed, Caitlin hadn't changed from her work clothes, as were many in the NAC!


Fortissimo is a military and musical spectacular created for the lawns of Parliament Hill featuring massed military bands, pipes and drums, guest performers and the soldiers of the Ceremonial Guard. It is a showcase event in the Nation's Capital that has drawn thousands of spectators since it began in 1997. 

 It was stirring. My brother was part of an Air Cadet band, as was my son-in-law. What they have done is amalgamated two regular sundown events into a three-day evening show.

1. Retreat - when the soldiers would retreat into their fortified camps, lock the gates and lower the flag.
2. Tattoo - at or near dusk, when night watch began. They checked sentries, first post and last posts, drums beat a warning to return to barracks, bands played familiar tunes, a hymn and the national anthem.

The word tattoo is said to have been derived from the Dutch "die den tap toe" which is translated to 'turn off the taps.' They think the name arose from 17th and 18th centuries, when a drummer was detailed to beat an order to the innkeepers to stop serving ale, and parade for a final muster before returning to quarters. In the light of recent news items, with navy personnel being brought back to Canada, it might be a good idea to recall the tradition. Navy Ship Recalled to Canada.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A new bird for me: Common yellowthroat

It seems the male was more shy than the female! My bird book tells me that it is common in North America, but unusual here in Southeastern Ontario. All About Birds has more info. Bless its little heart, it eats bugs!

More milkweed critters: caterpillars

I'm encouraging milkweed
even in my gardens!
I posted a series of photos of the critters who either depend
upon the Common Milkweed plant for food (which is unusual, since it is poisonous to some) or eat the critters that feed on the milkweed.
[Visit more Saturday's Critters at Eileen's blogspot.]

The white 'milk' drips where critters break a branch. I think our raccoons, or somebody in our forest, breaks the plant, bending it over wince the scent of the blossom is so sweet. I'm not sure, though!
The second one I've found!

From they have a great chart which illustrates the critters who feed on this plant, shelter within it, and plants which are associated with it.
They also explain the poisonous aspect of the Common Milkweed. It does poison domestic animals, goats, sheep, etc., as well as crowding out crops. Many farmers kill it off.

This sap has poisons in it, called Cardiac Glycosides. Some animals can eat the glycosides and not be harmed. When the Monarch butterfly's caterpillar munches the leaves of milkweed, the glycosides go into its body, making the caterpillar poisonous to predators. Even after the caterpillar has changed into an adult butterfly, it keeps the glycosides in its body.

These weeny little caterpillars are Milkweed Tussock moth larvae, as confirmed on BAMONA. They seem a bit
Milkweed Tussock caterpillars
They devour the entire leaf!
Thankfully, we have a lot of milkweed about.
furry, but, unlike the Monarch caterpillar, they haven't any colourings. I will continue to watch them. They totally devours the leaves, as a group, then move on to another leaf. I can only predict this from what I observed last year!

It's tough identifying some. There are several on-line sources to help, many run by volunteers! This one allows you to match by visual identifiers.

The monarch caterpillars are easy to ID, since they have the familiar green/black stripes upon hatching and they don't have fuzzy hair to grow!

Mystery caterpillar
Many have the same hairy appearance
with a wide variety of colours.
Can you believe the size of it?!
I stumped my BAMONA regional expert last month with this fuzzy little guy (left). He couldn't officially ID it, either!

There are caterpillars all over the place! This one I found on my front deck.

Here are what I believe are the Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars.