fresh from the garden

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

All three of these photos were taken while I was working in the garden this morning. I was up bright and early — but more about that down below. The Gray Treefrog was found in the front garden while I was hanging out laundry. It was quite a good-sized frog, and in all likelihood, the one that serenades us from the front porch area when rain is imminent.

Giant Ichneumon (Megarhyssa macrurus)

The second photo is of a Giant Ichneumon that I found in the back yard while watering the vegetable garden at 5:30 a.m. This is the first of these insects that I’ve ever seen here at the farm, although I have photographed them elsewhere in the past.

Eight-spotted Forester Moth (Alypia octomaculata)

Third photo is of an Eight-spotted Forester Moth, found flying around between a rugosa rose bush, a cedar tree and some Virginia creeper vine. I’ve seen these around the farm before, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to photograph one as they’ve usually disappeared before I can switch my camera on.

The weather continues to be hot, and everything must be hatching out at a great rate now. Last night, we were awakened at 4 a.m. by what must surely have been a raccoon with its “kids” wandering through the back garden just outside our bedroom window. There were steady, grumpy growls and occasional screeches accompanied by the oddest “bee-bee-beep! bee-bee-beep!” noises that sounded like several R2D2’s, first moving slowly across the yard, then circling around the house and through the front garden, before fading off across the roadway. I shone the flashlight out into the garden, but we have so many trees, shrubs, rose bushes and perennials around the place that the search was rather futile. And so the mysterious bee-bee-beeps remain….a mystery. Ah well, at least my day got off to an early start. If not for the weird sounds at 4 a.m., I probably would have missed the Giant Ichneumon in the back garden. It seems that all things happen for a reason.

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12 Responses to “fresh from the garden”

  1. celeste Says:

    Awwww, that frog is a cutie pie, definately kissable(unless he’s got some kind of communicable poison skin thing)!

  2. robin andrea Says:

    All those early morning critters, what a treat. That frog photo is really grand. Like a portrait of a dignified froggy elder. We have not moved into a second phase of hot weather yet. Still have coolish, early spring-type temps. Not a lot of insects or bugs seen. I come here for that!

  3. John Says:

    I’m particularly fond of the Giant Ichneumon. I immediately thought, “if I had the talent, I’d like to paint a greatly enlarged version and hang in outdoors, in my garden.” I haven’t the talent. And my neighbors who can peer into my garden probably would not appreciate it if I did. Great photos, Bev, as always!

  4. Larry Ayers Says:

    Wonderful early-morning photos, Bev! They make me wish I had a garden… maybe next year!

  5. Wayne Says:

    More gray treefrogs! If I were the sort to decorate my surroundings with cute pictures, they would be full of pictures of gray treefrogs. And that’s a very nice photo!

    Night sounds are always intriguing. I’ve had a few mystery ones too, and the problem is that it’s always too dark to see what’s making them.

    Nice forester moth – that was one of the first lepidopterans that I identified all by myself!

  6. Pamela Says:

    Eight-spotted forester! I was talking to a neighbour yesterday about a moth he’d photographed. “Sounds like an eight-spotted forester,” I said. A moth I’d never noticed before last week–and had just learned the name of. So it proved to be, and he reported seeing dozens of these feeding on a honey locust in the neighbourhood. So I wonder, is this a case of seeing something just learned everywhere I look, or are there really a lot more of these around this year? I’m seeing a big surge in virginia creeper, one of their caterpillar’s food plants. Related phenomena? Or madness?

  7. bev Says:

    Pamela – Yesterday’s was my first one of the season, but I’ll watch to see if there are more. Another moth I’ve seen more of than I can remember in the past is the Yellow-collared Scape Moth (Cisseps fulvicollis) which can easily be mistaken for the Virginia Ctenucha. Yesterday, I found many individuals of both species together, feeding on the flowers of a Golden Ninebark in our garden. Btw, another moth that I’ve been seeing in huge numbers here at the farm and elsewhere is the Toothed Somberwing. Perhaps the cooler, damper spring has produced a bumper crop of moths in a number of species. I haven’t been doing much photographing of moths after dark this year, but perhaps I should make a point of doing so.

  8. Pamela Says:

    I’ve been seing the yellow-collared Scape moth/Virginia Ctenucha over the last few days–not in strikingly large numbers. Of course, I wasn’t even sure they were moths til I read this–and I would have never thought they were two different critters (nor do I know if I’ve been seeing both–but maybe I’ll be able to tell now, maybe). Thanks for pointing this out. I’m guessing the Toothed Somberwing is a night flyer? I saw the remains of something very similar in a spider web on the porch a few days ago–but couldn’t say for sure it was this moth.

  9. bev Says:

    Pamela – the Toothed Somberwing is most often seen in longish grass or pasture. It and the Clover Looper Moth look kind of the same and are often seen in similar locales.. think longish grass and clover where wild strawberries grow . They are both sort of pyramid-shaped when you see them at rest in the grass. They’re easily distinguished though as the Somberwing has the large, dark marking on the wings, while the Clover Looper has 2 black dots close to the tips of the forewings. The Virginia and Ctenucha and the Yellow-collared Scape Moth are different enough that you should be able to tell them apart. The Ctenucha usually has a blue shimmer on dark wings, and the forewings are sort blunter at the tips and larger. The Scape Moth is a bit smaller in size tends to look sort of dull and brownish black and with wings that come to more of an oval point. I find the head section quite different too. I should have mentioned that there is another moth that is sort of similar to the Eight-spotted Forester and it’s a little more common, so you might watch for it too – Anania funebris glomeralis. It’s a bit smaller though, but even has similar orange feather stuff near the head. I shot this photo of a pair here at the farm last year. They are different from the Eight Spotted Forester in a few ways, but most easy to spot is that the forewings have a small extra white spot, and the body has white stripes. There are so many moths to get to know, but the nice thing is that there are quite a few that are so common that it’s not too hard to get to recognize them on sight. I like the day-flying moths as I don’t ever seem to have enough energy to spend time photographing moths in the evening. Check out the rest of my Moth Gallery on Pbase if you’d like to see some of the more common moths in this part of Ontario. Of the day flying species, the Slant-line moths, the one called Desmia funeralis, and the Xanthotype urticaria, are all ones you should see fairly often.

  10. Dave Says:

    I’ve heard raccoons make noises like that. My rule of thumb is, if it’s a weird noise and it’s not porcupine mating season, it’s probably a raccoon.

  11. Tila Kellman Says:

    Hi–love your photos; all of you people are answering questions for me. Maybe you can help me, although I don’t have a photo. We have what I think is a day-flying moth, and I’ve only seen one this year although they are usually common around our place. It was at least a month ago. They are small, although bigger than than 8-spotted forresters/white-spotted sable moths. They have the same general shape. Colours are amazing: pearly grey fore wing with, I think, a red leading rib, and brilliant red hind wing; furry red body. We live on the NE coast of Nova Scotia, in damp to wet fields and pastures. It seems to like alfalfa. Any help?

    Thanks very much–Tila

  12. bev Says:

    Tila – Offhand, I don’t know that moth, but you do you belong to the NatureNS nature discussion email group? There are several people in the group who are good at identifying insects, so you could post and email to the group. If you want to find out how to join, go to this web page and follow the instructions in the section under “Email Communications”. You’ll probably enjoy reading the emails from that list – there are usually 5 or 6 per day containing lots of interesting sightings, etc… Good luck with IDing your moth!