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) …

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 …

A Blue-eyed Visitor

It’s been a busy month so it was great to have a bit of downtime this afternoon in the backyard garden enjoying the sun and a cold beer to celebrate the end of the teaching year. Both of the kids were out in the yard and I was nominally on child minding duty when I spotted a dragonfly basking on …

Summer Swallowtails

With the arrival of warmer weather comes the swallowtails of summer. This weekend I got a great look at one of my first Western Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio rutulus) of the year sunning itself on a hedge at Miracle Beach. The crispness of the wings and bright colour were stunning in the late afternoon sun. A bright Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio …

Apple Blossom Time

We’ve had a small apple tree in our backyard in “downtown” Courtenay for a couple of years now but it has yet to produce blooms. It’s actually a refugee from my mother-in-law’s place in the country where its growth was effectively kept in check by deer browsing. Looks like the little tree is finally feeling comfortable and now its decided …

Savannah Spring

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed quite a few Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) in the playing fields at work. The grass is growing a little long and there are plenty of dandelions, many of which are going to seed. Flocks of Savannah Sparrows are working their way through the flowers, plucking out the fine white fluff and eating …

Backyard Beetle

This interesting Ground Beetle (Pterostichus sp.) was hiding underneath some rotting wood in my mother-in-law’s backyard. I found some small black beetles underneath rotting wood up at my mother-in-law’s place in Black Creek a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to check on whether or not they were still there. What I discovered was a large Ground Beetle …

Gorgeous Ground Beetles

One of the joys about having a backyard garden is the opportunity to discover something new. It might be a strange looking slug, an odd looking sow bug, or in this case, a gorgeous beetle. The European Ground Beetle (Carabus nemoralis), a gorgeous introduced ground beetle that can be found in many North American gardens. This week I was prepping …

Meet the Meadow Slug

If you’ve got a garden or a flowerbed it’s always fun to leave some boards lying around on the ground. Come back in a week or so and you’ll discover some of the organisms that live in your garden but perhaps have never seen before under this makeshift shelter. A warning to the squeamish – you may not like what …