Lions in the Dunes at Goose Spit

The sand dunes at Goose Spit are a small and remarkable place to visit in the Comox Valley. It is easy to miss this unique dune ecosystem located about mid-way from the last parking area at the gates of HMCS Quadra and the end of the spit. Yellow Sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia) can be found in the dunes at Goose Spit. The dunes …

Sand-verbena Moth Surprise

It has been too long since I’ve checked out the plants in the spectacular dunes at Goose Spit. A number of specialized plants grow in these dunes—yellow sand verbena (Abronia latifolia) and black knotweed (Polygonum paronychia) are prolific. With a little effort, other interesting plants can be found as well. A large patch of Black Knotweed (Polygonum paronychia) just above …

Crossing the Country Road

For the last couple of weeks I’ve seen at least 30 banded woollybears (Pyrrharctia isabella) crossing the country roads every time I’ve been out on my lunch time walks. One of my colleagues has taken to rescuing these cute little caterpillars and moves them from the middle of the road to the safety of the shoulder. They curl up in …

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 …

Lorquin’s Admiral

Out for a family walk at Morrison Creek Park yesterday and we came upon a number of butterflies puddling on the wet mud beside one of the creeks. There were several Lorquin’s Admirals (Limentis lorquini ssp. ilgae) busy in the mud and I was able to get relatively close to one with my new Fuji X100S. The upper wings of …

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 …

Book Review – Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West – Dennis Paulson Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West Dennis Paulson Princeton University Press Paperback 535 pages 2009 Living in British Columbia, I’m fortunate to have a copy of Rob Cannings Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and Yukon as a field guide when I’m out photographing dragonflies or practicing a little catch and …

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 …