There are a couple of species of Cladara that are apparently almost indistinguishable, and photographs alone will not allow identification. Except that there is only one that is found on Vancouver Island, Cladara limitaria. I like that when it happens. The other, by the way, should you be looking at green blotched geometrids somewhere else is C. anguilineata. The larva feed on conifers and the adults generally fly April to June. Please imagine the background as a particularly artistic rendition of the star lit night sky in which this critter flies.
Among the plethora of the spring flying moths, Euthyatira pudens stands out as one of the flashier. The coppery fringe is quite spectacular. As the English name suggests, the larvae prefer to feed on flowering dogwood, but will occasionally feed on oaks and other Cornus species. They range across much of North America - most resources say southern Canada, but they do appear in a checklist of Alaskan moths! Pudens means bashful or modest, not sure how this flashy species got that moniker!
"A Preliminary Catalogue of the collection of Natural History and Ethnology in the Provincial Museum, Victoria, British Columbia" , 1888 (or 1898?), lists this a specimen that had been collected in "Fowl Bay". I assumed that it was just an old name for Foul Bay in Victoria; but apparently Foul is the original spelling. This from Curious Victoria Street Names:
"The origin of the name rests with Capt. George Vancouver who surveyed much of the waters around Vancouver Island in the 1790s. On his survey chart of this particular bay he marked it ‘Foul Bay’ because an anchor would not hold bottom so it was a foul anchorage for ships. The name persisted and was transferred to the British Admiralty Chart 577 in 1864, and was formally adopted in 1924."
Mostly I got lost in a volume that lists all of the natural history collections at the museum at that time and imagining the natural historians in the field and the curators preparing and cataloging. Today one goes to the online search tool with the jillion (and that is not all of them!) specimens in the collection.
Pacific Sanicle ( Sanicula crassicaulis var. crassicaulis ) is a very common plant here at Leaning Oaks. It is a member of the Parsley Family (Apiaceae). Flowers are in small clusters, and are mixtures of bisexual and male only flowers. It is also called Pacific Black Snakeroot. Pacific Sancicle grows in dry woodlands, disturbed areas and the meadow here at Leaning Oaks. The seeds are borne in clusters and are covered in curving prickles which enable the seeds to stick well to socks and sweaters.
When you see this rock in the meadow with a bright, almost florescent yellow dusting, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that a vandal had come along with spray paint. There are a number of species of brightish yellow lichens that occur on rocks, but this one seems to fit Caloplaca citrina. C. citrina is found from Alaska to California and can be on a coastal rocks as well as dry land.
We only know of 3 instances of cougars (Puma concolor) occurring at Leaning Oaks, although we suspect they pass through our property more often than we know. The first is a sighting from the previous owners of our property. The second was a single footprint on the top of a pile of soil dumped the from a wheelbarrow the night before. The third record is by far the most fun, when Leah had a female cougar screaming from under our bedroom window one night. Cougar screams are loud and blood curdling at anytime, but particularly so at close range and when you are alone! Click here and choose the clip of a female cougar in heat to get an idea of what Leah heard that night. There are cougar sightings in our neighbourhood almost every year however and Leaning Oaks is frequented by deer daily, so we keep hoping to catch one with our wildlife camera. Vancouver Island has one of the highest densities of cougars in the world with an estimated population of 1200 cats. This photo was not taken at Leaning Oaks - this is a slightly overweight cat from the Calgary Zoo.
This largish jumping spider was living beneath a flat of plants that had been sitting in one spot in the garden all winter. The characteristic scuttling and yes, jumping of this member of the Salticidae family got me very excited -these guys do have a huge cute factor. There is only one member of the Genus Evarcha in BC, so we are pretty sure that we got this identified as Evarcha proszynskii; but as always, let us know if we are wrong; or if there are others that this could be. Identifications are humbling! An interesting factoid - the family Salticidae has approximately 5000 known species worldwide, and at that the highest percentage of members of any family of spiders.
This day flying moth,(Amblyptilia picta) with its long slender wings and legs with spines on it, is the Geranium Plume Moth. The larvae feed on a wide variety of plants, including Shooting Stars. They feed on the foliage and flower buds of their host plant, and also bore into the seedpods and the leaves. The species overwinters as an adult
Two biologists on a beautiful property armed with cameras, smart phones and a marginal knowledge of websites took up the challenge of documenting one species a day on that property. Join along! Posts and photographs by Leah Ramsay and David Fraser (unless otherwise stated; started January 1, 2014.