An Admirable Red Admiral

Our 11 year old neighbour who lives across the back alley from our house in Courtenay is always calling us over to check out insects or plants that he’s found—this week J. came over to tell us that there was a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) in his backyard. Typically, Lorquin’s Admirals (Limentis lorquini ssp. ilgae) are much more readily seen on …

Photographing Backyard Insects

I had a quiet day at home while Jocie and the kids were up at Black Creek so I experimented a little photographing backyard insects with my two macro lenses: the 105mm Micro Nikkor and a recently acquired 60 mm Micro Nikkor. I’ve used the 105mm for a couple of years now and am very happy with the results that …

Return of the Tent Caterpillar

I was out supervising the neighbourhood kids bicycling in the back alley when I noticed a very interesting caterpillar on the leaf of a lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) in our rather wild roadside flower bed. Several of the kids took a break and had a closer look at this striking caterpillar and one mentioned that he had seen several similar …

A Succulent Story

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Whenever I come in my back door, I’m greeted by two pots of hardy native succulents that I planted last summer: Oregon stonecrop and broad-leaved stonecrop. Attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves have completely engulfed the pots, and I marvel at the vigour of these plants that thrive in wet winters and dry summers with no …

Garden Gold

We’ve recently added a winter layer of seaweed to the garden and, in addition to the nutrients returned to the soil, it has attracted a whole host of new flies. Rotting seaweed added to the garden to replenish the soil has attracted a number of Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria). These gorgeous golden flies are Golden-haired Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria). …

A Couple More Flies

I’ve spent some time wandering through BugGuide.Net trying to figure out some of the backyard flies that I’ve photographed over the last couple of weeks in our garden in Courtenay, British Columbia. I think that I’m starting to narrow a few of them down and I’ve tentatively identified them to species. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m …

A Few More Flies

On the odd sunny day these last two weeks I’ve been focused on trying to capture more images of flies that have been frequenting our purple asters. The flowers are pretty much done now and I’m not sure how many more chances I’m going to get to enjoy these fabulous flies. I haven’t had a chance to work out the …

Hazelnut Harvest

We’ve always liked growing our own food and have four very productive raised beds in the backyard garden. These have been a great source of fresh produce throughout the summer and the kids love to help with the harvesting. The gardens are also a bit of a biodiversity oasis in our little patch of suburbia and we get all sorts …

A Tough Tachinid

I recently read an excellent post by Julia Craves over at Urban Dragon Hunters about the dangers of using images on the internet to identify insects so I’m being more than a little cautious about my identification of this large fly. This large, bumbling, black, tachnid fly could possibly be Tachina algens – a species that is common in British …

Finding Time for Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun, and one of the things that makes time fly is watching flies. I had a spare hour this week, and on a sunny afternoon decided to check out a purple aster on our back border that was in full fall bloom. This late in the season, anything that is producing nectar and pollen is …