Christine’s Walks: Mid-October at the garden

Hi all,

Many new photos have been added to the October photo blog at PBase, recently. The first lot were taken last Tuesday on a cold and grey day, and the rest today, when my mission was to see how many insects I could find at this time of year.

The colours are still vivid and while many trees have lost their leaves, many more are still ablaze with colour. The tamaracks are a bright yellow, soon to drop their needles, but making a great show at the moment.

box elder bug. Photo by C Hanrahan

There are still lots of sparrows around, and today golden-crowned kinglets, some robins, and a common raven. On Tuesday there were both hairy and downy woodpeckers, as well as several white-breasted nuthatches. And now that the feeders are both operating (thanks, Tony!!), the chickadees appear to have multiplied in number! On Tuesday, I was greatly entertained with watching a chickadee eating scores of New England Aster seeds in the BYG.

As for the insects I was looking for, today, on a windy, but relatively mild (about +15) mostly sunny day, I found lots of Asian ladybeetles wandering over the walls of the Interpretive Centre and the red barn, looking for somewhere to shelter before winter arrives, as well as the large and striking western conifer seed bug. This insect is unfortunately often killed by people who think that because of its size and rather odd shape, it must be dangerous. In fact, it is entirely benign. It can often be found around dwellings because it, like the Asian ladybeetles and the box elder bugs, is looking for somewhere dark and warm to spend the winter.

western conifer seed bug. Photo by C Hanrahan

Small milkweed bugs were also looking for leaf litter in which to overwinter, and a lone box elder bug was seeking warmth on the red barn. There were a few yellowjackets, some European paper wasps, lots of honey bees, cucumber beetles, scentless plant bugs, a sow bug on the Interpretive Centre, and so on.

While sorting out the large brush pile on the edge of the Old Field on Tuesday, with Claudia and Laura, I found a couple of birch logs with the lovely but very tiny, lemon drop sac fungi. If viewed through a hand lens, you can see how neat they are, but viewed without, they look like minute pinpricks of yellow.

Lemon drops. Photo by C Hanrahan

Still flowers blooming in the butterfly meadow. And one lone, perfect, lupine in the BYG!

Unfortunately, some moron ‘tagged’ one of our map signs, the one by the old field, with bright red paint.

More on the October blog: www.pbase.com/fwg/fwg_blog_oct_2012

Cheers

Christine

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