Canadian in Candia

August 17, 2009

Another lovely insect from my garden

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 7:30 am

I’m sorry for anyone who reads this blog with arachnophobia because I’m about to make a post that may send you running for the hills due to irational fears. We often come across Spiders in the garden. We probably have dozens of different varieties in a small area of the garden alone. I generally ignore them and let them eat bugs I dislike more.

But yesterday was different. I found this black spider with yellow dots on her back and belly and had to: 1) take pictures, 2) identify her. And because I spent a significant amount of time identifying what the spider was, you my readers must deal with my nerdiness.

First of all she had a strangely weaved web. I found a picture of an Orb weaving spider that looked like her so I dug deeper. After looking at dozens of pictures of different kind of (entirely harmless) orb weaving spiders I found what she was. A simple Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) eater of bugs (BugGuide here, Wikipedia here). I mean after all that work I would love to have a fancier name like Reynolds Goldbar Spider or something.

O.K. on to the pictures.
Argiope aurantia
Argiope aurantia

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August 15, 2009

Things I hate – Japanese Beetles

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 9:24 pm

My mom asked me the other day if I ever write negative things in this blog. I generally try to keep this blog pretty positive. I like to write posts that remind me that my life is full of adventures.  But today I will make an exception. I will write about something I hate: Japanese Beetles.

Japanese Beetles
I hate Japanese Beetles. I hate how they skeletonize the plants they eat. I hate finding their grubs when I dig in the garden. I hate controlling them by hand picking them off.

Japanese Beetles
I’m actually a little happy that I gave up on the garden this year because of the drainage issues. Otherwise I think I would be spending every evening trying to kill off some of the population.

Japanese Beetles
These annoying bugs are just one more reason why I need to get some chickens and relatively soon. I guess Chickens love to eat them.

August 9, 2009

Pigeon in the Park

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — Miriam @ 10:20 pm

I’m absolutely loving my new lens. It’s not a very high quality lens and the aperature does not open as large as I would like, but I love having the flexibility of a 200 mm zoom.

I used the lens this weekend to take pictures of Pigeons in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I think a few of them turned out pretty well. Despite the fact that pigeons aren’t generally considered to be beautiful (with the exception of the domestically raised varieties).

Portsmouth Pigeons

Portsmouth Pigeons

Portsmouth Pigeons

Portsmouth Pigeons

Portsmouth Pigeons

Portsmouth Pigeons

I think they are pretty adorable for the sewer rats of the sky.

August 5, 2009

Wasps like their Nests

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , , , — Miriam @ 7:43 am

The other day I went to visit the hubby in ManLand (aka the detached garage). As I left the building I heard some buzzing about. Mind you I had been gone for 5 days. I hadn’t been paying attention to my surroundings much since I had been back, but I really should have noticed what I saw. And it’s a wonder that Adam didn’t notice considering that ManLand is his personal sanctuary.

Right above the door, was a giant wasp (hornet?) nest.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

So perhaps the nests do get bigger, and I’m exaggerating about the giant size. But this was a fully developed hive. And it had grown right over our heads.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

I do actually kind of admire the delicate beauty of the design though. They did a lovely job building a home.

Wasp Nest on the Garage

Too bad that home is made of paper.

I went inside. A few minutes later my husband comes running in, disheveled and excited, “I threw a shovel at them and ran”.

“A Shovel???”

“Well I didn’t know what else to do to get rid of hundreds of angry hornets.”

The next morning I went out to inspect the damage.

The hive was still going.

Wasp nest on Garage

Even with half of their papery hive on the ground.

Wasp nest on Garage

The wasps were still caring for their young and rebuilding their home. It was a little interesting to watch the inner functions of an established hive.

Wasp nest on Garage

The details of a hive can be so interesting.

Wasp nest on Garage

By the next day the hive was already well into it’s reconstruction phase.

Wasp nest on Garage

And the leftover pieces of the hive on the ground were showing their biodegradable properties.

Wasp nest on Garage

The hubby still has not eliminated them. He’s done a great deal to anger them, but I think he forgot about the wasps for the most part.

Wasp nest on Garage

One last detail is the little abandoned mini hive next to be big one.

Wasp nest on Garage

July 9, 2009

Frog Catcher

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 7:20 am

A couple weekends ago, in the middle of all the rain we went for a walk in Pawtuckaway State Park. The backwoods of Pawtuckaway have trails that go around several swamps.

I spotted several frogs and because I didn’t have a zoom lens I was having a hard time taking pictures of them.  I found this guy on a rock and started snapping away.
Frog Story

My husband looks at me with a strange look in his eyes, “do you want him”.
“What?”
“Do you want the frog, I’ll catch him for you. I can do it.”
The excitement in his face, the emphasis on the word catch. I could see he was reliving his childhood in rural New Hampshire. So I said, “sure, then I can get a good pictures of the frog”

Frog Story
As he got going I could tell there was some ingrained technique involved in catching a frog.

Frog Story
I mean, look at the concentration. The cat like moves.

Frog Story
Then he went for the grab… and the miss.

Well not quite a miss, but the frog slipped right through his fingers. He seemed to think that when he was a kid, he just grabbed on as hard as he had to. Now that he’s a more aware adult he’s afraid of hurting the little guys. So growing older has hindered his mad frog catching skills.

Later in the walk Cooper was standing on the shore when I realized he was standing right next to a frog. He was so close I’m surprised he wasn’t standing on it. So I carefully approached it and it let me get some pictures.

Frog StoryAnd closer
Frog Story

Heck I think the lens was only a couple inches away from this one.
Frog Story

“I’ll catch him honey!”

Frog story“Drat, I swear I used to catch them by the bucketful when I was a kid”

I’m sure you did, and I’m sure your mom appreciated it.

June 9, 2009

Newt

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 9:27 am

Bear Brook Evening walkI think the first time I ever saw one of these little guys was on a hike in the White Mountains.  Since I have seen them on trails all over New Hampshire.

They are native to the parts of Ontario where I grew up but I never seen one in the wild. Perhaps the areas were not swampy enough. Or after doing some research on wikipedia it’s possible that those in New Hampshire are part of a subspecies known as Red-Spotted newt, while those on the western edge are called Central Newts. Central newts typically lack the red markings, thus making them less noticeable.

They are brightly coloured because they are toxic. I hope the puppy doesn’t try to learn it the hard way. Both for the sake of the puppy, and the newt. I’ll try to get a better picture of one next time I see one.

For more information on them read the Wikipedia article on Eastern Newts.

June 1, 2009

Eastern Tent Caterpillar

Filed under: Bugs — Tags: , , — Miriam @ 8:30 am

Caterpillar in the yard

We’ve had a lot of these around lately. The Eastern Tent Caterpillar is a very common caterpillar  in the NorthEastern United States.  Their silky nests can be unsightly and they can do a lot of damage to the foliage in the area.  Every few years we get an infestation of caterpillars that is bad enough that they cause a nuisance and become eyesores.

Worst of all they don’t become beautiful butterflies, they become boring little moths that fly around at night.

We have a pretty normal quantity of caterpillars this year, although I’ve seen them in some very strange places.  I’m not a  fan of caterpillars in general but this one was just an interesting photography subject.  Adam’s been trying to train the puppy to eat them… with some sucess.

May 7, 2009

My Tic the Ticks

Filed under: Bugs, Cats, Dogs — Tags: , , , , — Miriam @ 8:42 pm

I’ve always heard about ticks.  I didn’t really remember ever seeing one until a couple years ago when I found a wierd bug crawling on my sweater which Adam identified as a tick for me. We pulled one off his mother’s cat that had dug in under the cat’s chin.  It was an adventure to pull that one out. Adam pulled one off himself when we lived in Fremont. It was still alive and started making threatening motions towards Audrey. I grabbed my cat and rushed her to a room far away from the bloodsucker.

My experience with ticks prior to my move to New Hampshire consisted of mythical creatures.  They were extensively discussed in my “Kids who want to be Veterinarians” summer camp when I was 9 or 10 years old.  And I developed a disgust for them then and there.

In the last couple days I have probably had to deal with ten Ticks.  And by “deal with” I mean “honey can you kill this tick for me”.  We have pulled two ticks out of the puppy and I’ve taken at least three ticks out of his hair (including a tiny deer tick, carriers of lyme disease). I had three ticks crawling all over my clothes yesterday, and Adam had a couple on his.  I still havn’t had to pull any out of my or the cats’ skin, but I’m constantly convinced that every little itch is a tick.

Oh and they don’t seem to die when slapped, squished or stomped on.  They are pretty much indestructible!

I just spent a pretty penny to get Frontline for the cats, and will get what the vet recommends for the puppy when he gets to a more convienient size, but is there anything I can do to keep the ticks off me? Is it just a high tick year? It’s silly that I can handle the mosquitoes and black flies, but the ticks make me want to run back to the city… and take my pets with me.

April 7, 2009

Hummingbirds

Filed under: Birds, Wildlife — Tags: , , , — Miriam @ 9:39 am

My Google Reader came up with a Post on the Garden Vines Blog about the Ruby-Throated hummingbird migration today.  There was a link showing a Hummingbird Migration Map.  I was pretty excited about last year’s map, I guess the little hummingbirds start showing up in New Hampshire around late April.  There’s already sightings in Southern Massachusetts.  And here I was convinced that I had plenty of time to get myself a hummingbird feeder.

Any recommendations for a nice looking hummingbird feeder that wont attract hungry bears?

I’m pretty excited about hummingbirds coming to my yard, my husband and I have always enjoyed eating a takeout dinner on the firetower at Pawtuckaway State Park, and part of the charm has always been the little hummingbirds coming to eat at the feeders.  We got to watch some of the social interactions between the little guys.  I’m pretty excited to get to watch them from my house… if I can attract them.  And of course try to get pictures of them too.

The map site is part of hummingbirds.net an excellent resource on hummingbirds of several different varieties, not just the ruby-throated beauties.

April 2, 2009

Baby moose

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , , , , — Miriam @ 10:29 am

Baby moose, originally uploaded by mbarsalou.

This morning Adam called me for my daily “are you out of bed” call. I look across the street and standing there I see some gangly legs under a tree next to the pond. I’m thinking “Oh No, one of the foals got out”. Then I realised the legs were skinny even for a young horse. So the place across the street is a federally licensed zoo. I became concerned that perhaps it was a reindeer that had escaped. Then I realised what it was “Gotta go honey, there’s a moose in John’s yard, I gotta take pictures”. “Ok, be careful”.

Baby moose

At first the moose just happily stood around munching on the buds of the willow tree. And I snapped a bunch of pictures. From the side of the road, pretty far away.

Baby moose

Then the moose decided to get out of there before the evil geese he’d been reading about on my blog showed up. At this point I was back on my side of the road. She wandered around John’s driveway for a bit, acting a little skittish every time a car passed by. I was worried for her and she was getting a little close to me.

Baby moose

Then she crossed the road only feet away from me. Maybe she thought I was a crossing guard, but either way, I had no fear that she was going to bump into me or anything. Sorry for the blurry picture, but I was concerned for cars as well.

Baby moose

She then proceeded to hang out behind my house for a while just on the other side of our stone wall. I couldn’t get over how close she let me get. When I got too close she just very gently walked away. I hope she’s OK, she has a bit of a limp in her front leg.

Baby moose

As for the evil geese, they almost caused a crash this morning long after the moose was gone. They were IN the road hissing and flapping at cars that stopped for them. One car had to go into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid hitting someone who had been stopped by the geese.

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