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 …

Eight-spotted Skimmer

One of the great things about backyard gardening, especially in an urban/semi-urban setting, is the different kinds of wildlife that turns up. We’ve got four raised beds in our small garden and the flowers and vegetables attract a whole host of insects and birds. The insects that are attracted to the flowers and water sources in the garden attract predators …

A Backyard Visitor

We keep an informal backyard bird list and this week a new year bird showed up to investigate our fuchsia out front and our garden in the back. We’ve got lots of flowers in bloom and it seems like this immature Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) was stopping in for a quick feed. Our backyard visitor, a Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) …

Common Nighthawks Put on Twilight Display

On certain warm, summer nights in Courtenay on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) put on a complicated and beautiful display that surpasses that of the annual Snowbird performance at CFB Comox. A warm clear night with a bit of a cloud bank building – the Common Nighthawks and Black Swifts put on a show against this backdrop. …

Scat Cat!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of cats, probably has something to allergies. My neighbours however do like cats very much, so much so, that they have somewhere between six and a dozen. We’ve never been able to get a conclusive count on these wily felines. Unfortunately, our neighbours also don’t seem to …