bioblitzing here at the farm

Diurnal Firefly (Ellychnia corrusca) resting atop a bright yellow Xanthoria species of lichen
which is growing over a Physcia aipolia lichen.

This is just an update to let everyone know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the Blogger BioBlitz map — at least, not yet! I skipped posting yesterday to concentrate on taking photos, and…well… because I was feeling a little burnt out after the previous couple of days of bioblitz posts and a late evening of visiting frog call monitoring stations to check out the calling activity. I believe I may be getting a little too old for such things. Anyhow, back to the business at hand.

I’ve been shooting lots of photos of insects, birds, trees, and even a couple of mammals. I’ve barely begun editing the photos and have decided to leave that for tonight or tomorrow as there is rain in the forecast. However, the weather is looking good for today, so I’m heading back outdoors to do some more wandering around in search of flora and fauna to photograph. I seem to see at least one really nice thing each time I walk about through the fields and woods. Yesterday, it happened to be this nice Diurnal Firefly (Ellychnia corrusca) sitting atop a little bright yellow patch of some kind of Xanthoria lichen, which, in turn, is growing atop a larger patch of Physcia aipolia, a lichen that seems to grow everywhere on the Trembling aspen around the farm. If you would like to know more about the firefly (this is a non-luminous species), check out this page from the University of Alberta entomology collection website.

So, what am I doing with the photos that I’ve been taking?

I have just set up a gallery for images. There’s not much in it as yet, but here it is. Inside the gallery will be “sub-galleries” for each flora and fauna group. I’ve just put up a few insects and one bird so far, but I’ll try to add a few more during breaks today. As I get around to adding mammals, plants and trees, etc… the thumbnails of each of those will appear. To get into each sub-gallery, just click on the thumbnail with the caption “Insects at the Farm”, “Birds at the Farm”, etc…

Hopefully, if I’m lucky, there will plenty to see by the end of the week. I’m also working on drawing up a sketch-map of the farm to help you visualize what it’s like here.

By the way, one creature I was *not* at all happy to find here at the farm was a tick. We’ve never had problems with ticks here, but did find one small one on Sabrina’s coat last summer — first one in the thirty years we’ve been here. Well, this morning, as I was scratching Sabrina on the head, I felt a lump, and sure enough, there was an engorged tick attached to her skin. I removed it and will have to check around to see if there is somewhere here in Ontario to send ticks to have them ID’d and checked for Lyme disease if they are of the species known to be carriers. When we were in Nova Scotia last year, Sabrina got three ticks on her, and I sent them to a government lab in Halifax to have them checked out. All were of a species that does not carry Lyme. Anyhow, just another “new thing” appearing here at the farm.

Anyhow, enough talk… time to get my cameras and head back out to the field!


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11 Responses to “bioblitzing here at the farm”

  1. Cathy Says:

    I suspected you might have been busy yesterday. Not to worry, Bev. Your posts are worth waiting for.

    Now, I’m thinking a firefly with no flash is a bit of a disappointment, but those lichen are great. I’m realizing more and more what a gift macro photography is to our appreciation of that part of the universe we just don’t see.

    Ick. Ticks. We lost a dog to some mysterious ailment back in the early 80’s. We’d been vacationing on Cape Cod. We’ve always wondered.

  2. Jimmy Says:

    It has been awhaile since I have seen your blog…so cool seeing your photos and reading about the things you find.

  3. Marcia Bonta Says:

    We only recently have had Lyme’s disease ticks. At this time of year, they are absolutely minute in size. Son Steve showed me one the other day. I never would have seen it on myself. I did read that they do the most damage in the summer. Also, a couple years ago I was bitten in November. I felt it on my shoulder. We identified it from a Lyme’s disease site on the Internet. One doctor put me on a mild antibiotic, saying that it was better to be safe than sorry. The other had me tested and it was negative. Not sure about dogs. Maybe it’s a dog tick, such as we always had in N.J. and eastern PA when I was a kid. They are bigger ticks, ones you can see readily when you do a body check.

  4. Wayne Says:

    Heh – no fault there, Bev. I took the day off yesterday too. Or today, not even sure now. I don’t think it’s a matter of getting too old, it’s a matter of spending 8 or more hours working up all the photographs, posting them, and describing them. I know scant 20-somethings who could accomplish that, even if they considered it.

    Ticks – if anything, our hot dry weather seems to have reduced the number this spring, and I’m all for that. I picked one off yesterday (considered blogging it), but it was a far cry from picking off a dozen or more. And it was Marcia’s deer tick, the extremely tiny ones that potentially carry Lyme disease. The good thing is that here there are very few incidents of that, unlike in parts of the north and northeast.

    The other ones we find are dog ticks, with the white dot in the middle of the back. Particularly gross when they get gray and engorged.

    Here at least they’ll calm down by midsummer.

    Off to check out your Farm Gallery!

  5. robin andrea Says:

    I’m glad the weather will be cooperating a bit more for further looks around. I’ll head over to your gallery. I’m always interested in seeing what you’re seeing around the place.

    I haven’t seen any ticks here. Maybe we’re just too wet. That might be one of the more positive aspects to our weather. We do have a lot of deer though. I can’t imagine that there aren’t any ticks around given the deer population.

  6. Dana Says:

    I came across your blog last night through another homeschoolers blog, although I don’t remember which blog right now. My 6yo daughter and I have really become nature enthusiasts lately and have been trying to identify the various insects, birds, and wildflowers that we see. Most of our nature walks are in our own backyard, but we still seem to find plenty.

    I am really enjoying your blog! I love your photography and just seeing all the wonderful finds that you photograph. Thank you for posting them.

  7. Celeste Says:

    hey! just wanted to say I REALLY like your firefly photo, love the lichens, the bug, the ochre color. I’m going to go check out your other pictures. Lucky you to have fireflies, all I’ve got is glow in the dark fungified firewood ;0)

  8. burning silo Says:

    Cathy – Yes, a non-flashing firefly is a bit of a disappointment. When I first found this species a couple of years ago, I brought some indoors hoping they would flash, but no dice. Then I read about the diurnal species and discovered why.
    I have a friend in NJ who has Golden Retrievers and had one get Lyme Disease. It had to be kept on antibiotics for quite a long time. There are quite a few tick-borne diseases, so it always makes me worry when there are ticks around. It’s annoying to suddenly have them here after 30 years of never seeing them. Oh well!

    Jimmy – Hi! It’s good of you to drop by for a visit! Glad you find the photos and writings of interest.

    Marcia – I’m not sure which kind this is. It was probably small to start with, but when they get engorged, they puff up so much that it’s hard to say what they were like before. I’ll probably try to get it checked at a lab if this is available. There haven’t been too many *known* cases of Lyme up here, but last summer, the city newspaper did a story on 3 people who contracted Lyme — probably in this area — so I guess it has arrived.

    Wayne – I was wondering what you do about your cats. Don’t the ticks climb aboard when the cats go out on walks with you? I know some people use these systemic treatments to keep ticks and fleas off of dogs, but we tried using 2 different kinds with Sabrina a couple of years ago when she got a bad case of fleas after we took her with us on a road trip. She got very sick from both of the treatments, so I wouldn’t want to use anything like that again.

    robin – I guess there is Lyme even out west, but it seems confined to certain areas. Last year, before I went out west, I was doing some reading about hiking trails in the Klikitat River area along the gorge and found warnings about ticks and Lyme Disease. I also found quite a few references to people who had picked up Lyme after being bitten by ticks in some areas of N. California. I try to be careful about ticks wherever we go these days as they seem to be present in many places and Lyme is starting to show up just about everywhere. I don’t much like ticks to start with, and knowing they could be carrying a disease makes me like them even less.

    Dana – I’m glad you found your way to my blog. There’s usually a lot of info here, so it may be helpful for nature study.

    Celeste – Thanks! I thought it was a neat photo – an offbeat combination of flora and fauna. We get the brightly flashing fireflies in summer too — in fact, we get some great displays of flashing here at the farm. We have a large bedroom window looking out onto our yard where we let the grass grow very tall. On warm, damp summer nights, the air is just filled with streaks of greenish light as the fireflies zip and zoom across the garden. It’s really quite magical!

  9. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    What I have discovered, during our bio blitz, is how little I know about insects and we’ve not touched the lichens yet. (And the damned income tax that I’ve been putting off seems to taking up time now too.)

  10. vicki Says:

    I’m loving this BioBlitz series and learning so much. A lot of what I am seeing is helping me put names to previous discoveries I couldn’t identify. Speaking of which, I’m just about to post a photo of a caterpillar you can probably name for me. And it’s Good Planets day for submissions.

  11. Cindy Says:

    I did the right thing by dropping out, you’re doing ALOT of work.. but fun work ;)
    Glad to hear Sabrina is ok.. we have deer ticks here, although I’ve been lucky so far to not have them on us or our dogs.
    Sure seems early for fireflies.. it’s turned cold here again, so things have slowed back down… and don’t you love those little ‘cups’ on the lichens? Such a small fascinating ecosystem.
    Happy blitzing :)