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WARNING: Has Anyone Noticed There Are Few Butterflies Around?


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I hear they are a very painful bite. I am thankful we have no fire ants here in Pa. The copperheads are bad enough. There are a lot of shale veins here and they tend to blend in with the color of the shale.

 

I've spent some quality time with fire ants, and they with me, and I've seen a few copperheads within striking distance (although I've never been bitten), and, all things considered, I prefer the ants.

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Speaking of butterflies..

 

WUSF channel 16.1 in Tampa, Fl. is now showing:

The annual migration of Monarch butterflies to Mexico.

 

A narrator said, each year around 100 million make the journey. That's a lot of butterflies. Where have they been hiding?

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Yesterday I drove through a leafy area and noticed many tiny butterflies flitting about the trees.  On the same drive I saw two large rabbits (hares?) eating grass on a lawn.  At home I saw five ducks flying over head.  On my walk last night I saw a great blue heron.  

 

Quite a bonanza of wildlife!

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Yesterday I drove through a leafy area and noticed many tiny butterflies flitting about the trees.  On the same drive I saw two large rabbits (hares?) eating grass on a lawn.  At home I saw five ducks flying over head.  On my walk last night I saw a great blue heron.  

 

Quite a bonanza of wildlife!

If you saw a heron, I assume you're near a marshland. That's where I've seen a couple in the past. I envy you for that, GD.

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The Great Blue Herons are beautiful. They can stand still for long periods of time, patiently waiting to catch a fish. One comes to our pond every year, as well as a Green Heron. They have short legs.

One thing I have noticed within the last 3-4 yrs is a huge number of seagulls at our Susquehanna River. This is unusual. We've never had them in our area. They even fly around and land in the wal mart parking lot.

It is nice to see the wildlife. No Herons here yet. The bats are here at night. They are amazing creatures too. Right now it's too cold to go out and enjoy anything. 24° tonight. So much for all the hyacinths, forsythia, cherry blossoms. Last Saturday it was almost 80°!

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If you saw a heron, I assume you're near a marshland. That's where I've seen a couple in the past. I envy you for that, GD.

Yes, there's marshland  a few miles away.  Usually I see the heron in my neighborhood near a sidewalk.  So funny to be driving along see him on the side of the road!  There used to be a lake nearby, but it's been dry for years.  There's also a small creek, now with only a few inches or so of water.  I worry how the critters will  fare in the drought this summer.

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The bats are here at night. They are amazing creatures too.

A boss of mine put together a bat house on the roof of his cottage. All his neighbours thought he was nuts for encouraging them to nest on his property. But my boss had the last laugh as he was the only cottager around there that could hang out in his backyard without being eaten alive by insects.

 

I have frequently spotted bats in my neighbourhood, usually seeing them flying around at dusk during the summer. I recall one time hearing the sounds of an insect in my bedroom one night. As I listened to him fluttering around in the dark, I thought, "Man, that is one big moth," only to turn on the light and see that it was a bat flying around my room. (I have a porch attached to my bedroom but, for the life of me, I still don't don't how he could have gotten in without my noticing him).

 

Anyway I left my bedroom with the bat still flying around it (my dog in the corner of the room was very nonchalant, falling back to sleep)and returned with a towell to throw over him when he landed. Wouldn't you know it, he already had landed somewhere and, after searching in vain for him in my bedroom, I finally fell into a fitful sleep. The next morning there was still no sign of the bat so I went to work, making sure to shut my bedroom door before leaving the house, of course.

 

Returning home that evening I tore my bedroom apart looking for that bat. Couldn't find him anywhere. Finally, I moved a cupboard that was no more than one inch from the wall and there he was, clinging to the back of the cupboard. Then it was easy. I cupped the towell in my hand and placed it over him, scooping him up in it. He emitted a very high pitched squeal in protest. I took the towell outside, opened it up and the bat flew away, none the worse for wear, it would appear.

 

About  year later I heard another flapping in my bedroom at night. Turned on the light. Another bat. Same story. Left the bedroom for a towell, returned, he had landed and I couldn't find him in a two hour search. Went to work the next day and upon returning home and to my bedroom pulled back that same cupboard the other bat had been glued to. The little devil wasn't there.

 

I then pulled out a dresser from the wall. No bat. Finally, and with growing desperation, I turned that dresser on its side since there was a small space between its bottom and the floor. There was the bat, clinging to the bottom of the dresser. Towelled him, same tiny shriek of protest came from this bat as the previous one and released him outside.

 

That second bat experience was about six years ago. So far so good, but I still think of that expression about things coming in threes.

 

Yes, they are amazing little creatures. However, I would far rather be amazed by them outside my home, rather than inside it.

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Great bat story, Tom. I agree I would rather enjoy watching them outside. They come here every night, 2 or 3 of them. We have a lot of moths from a light near our pond. Many years ago we were riding our bikes past an old school house and a huge flock of bats were circling the chimney and a few would go in at a time. One or two would leave and come back with a few stragglers. This went on until they were all inside. It was quite a sight. They really are so beneficial. We walk around our property and they swoop down for bugs, sometimes a little too close for comfort. There's so much misinformation about them.

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Yes, there's marshland a few miles away. Usually I see the heron in my neighborhood near a sidewalk. So funny to be driving along see him on the side of the road! There used to be a lake nearby, but it's been dry for years. There's also a small creek, now with only a few inches or so of water. I worry how the critters will fare in the drought this summer.

Just the other day I saw a few pictures of lakes in California which were so bad. Folsom, Shasta and Oroville. I couldn't believe how they were drying up.
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Yes, there's marshland  a few miles away.  Usually I see the heron in my neighborhood near a sidewalk.  So funny to be driving along see him on the side of the road!  There used to be a lake nearby, but it's been dry for years.  There's also a small creek, now with only a few inches or so of water.  I worry how the critters will  fare in the drought this summer.

That's interesting. I've a marshland a few miles from my home, as well, where I've seen a few herons over the years. (There's a large pond, with millions of cat tails in it, along with a few swans and sometimes ducks there, as well.) However, I've never spotted any of the herons outside of the marshy area, and certainly not hanging out near a sidewalk.

 

There are deer in the area, as well. Spotted one last summer for the first time. It was in almost full camouflage behind some bushes, could only see the antlers moving and the top of the back. Other people, with some noisy children, passed by me and the antlers disappeared behind the bushes. About ten minutes after the noise died away, I saw the antlers again. It was a lovely moment, even if I didn't see most of the animal.

 

Residents in the area, though, sometimes see the deer in winter showing up in their backyards looking for food. I spoke to one who said he would leave food out for a doe and her young. (I was surprised that there were young with her in winter). I was thinking of those deer this past winter, which was pretty brutal temperature-wise in February in southern Ontario.

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Tom, I think you'll be interested in this.

Of course the issues around butterflies and bees extends to other wild creatures, including birds. And like the concerns for the decreasing numbers of the butterflies, there is a similar growing worry about the drop in the bird population.

Since you're Canadian, you may already be familiar with the CBC radio program, "The Current". I don't always like this show, and sometimes I feel  like hurling a brick at its host (Anna Maria Tremonte). Of course, it would be rather difficult to actually have the brick make contact with Ms Tremonte's person over the radio. But I digress.

 

As it happens (get the pun?!), the host today was someone else, so I actually listened to the show today. One of its featured topics was about the decreasing bird population. It's very timely. If you have 23 minutes or so, give it a listen:

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/popup/audio/player.html?autoPlay=true&clipIds=2666051269

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Tom, I think you'll be interested in this.

Of course the issues around butterflies and bees extends to other wild creatures, including birds. And like the concerns for the decreasing numbers of the butterflies, there is a similar growing worry about the drop in the bird population.

Since you're Canadian, you may already be familiar with the CBC radio program, "The Current". I don't always like this show, and sometimes I feel  like hurling a brick at its host (Anna Maria Tremonte). Of course, it would be rather difficult to actually have the brick make contact with Ms Tremonte's person over the radio. But I digress.

 

As it happens (get the pun?!), the host today was someone else, so I actually listened to the show today. One of its featured topics was about the decreasing bird population. It's very timely. If you have 23 minutes or so, give it a listen:

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/popup/audio/player.html?autoPlay=true&clipIds=2666051269

Thanks very much, MissW, for sending that link.

 

I can't say, unfortunately, that I'm much surprised to hear that something is happening to bird populations. The emphasis on this particular program, of course, was in reference to the migratory song birds that are disappearing, as well as a predatory sea bird, the jaeger.

 

Interesting that they referred to birds as the earth's canary in a coal mine. (Didn't scientists use to say that about frogs?). If birds, so attuned to the environment and acting like eco system barometers, so to speak, are disappearing, how long before man shares their fate? Loss of habitat (due to an increase in urban areas) and super pesticides were blamed for much of it. I was also surprised to hear the documentarian's estimate on the number of song bird deaths a year due to cats in those urban areas where a bird stops - 1.4 BILLION!!

 

Speaking for myself, every year I marvel at the huge flocks of starlings that I see around my home in southern Ontario. They will suddenly take flight with hundreds of birds in the sky looking like huge cloud formations, suddenly changing direction in highly dramatic fashion. They may descend upon a tree or building top, with a loud cacophony of chatter, only to sudden rise into the skies again in almost Hitchcockian fashion.

 

Last summer, however, I noticed, for the first time, an absence of these starling cloud formations. I think I may have spotted one towards the end of the summer but that was it. In a normal summer I would have seen those flight formations countless times.

 

The disappearance of song birds may be a subtle thing over a period of time that many people might not notice. To see the absence of these huge starling flocks, however, was something that definitely drew my attention. I'll be looking for those cloud formations this summer, hoping for a return of them. Is this related to, among other things, the seeming decline in insect populations, the concern that initially started this thread?

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                       Overall numbers are up, but there are elements which still plague our bees

                                                  killing them off in large numbers.

 

image.jpg

 

Survey: More than 40 percent of bee hives died in past year
 
Associated Press By SETH BORENSTEIN
22 hours ago
 
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.
 
Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 
"What we're seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there's some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems," said study co-author Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia. "We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count."
 
But it's not quite as dire as it sounds. That's because after a colony dies, beekeepers then split their surviving colonies, start new ones, and the numbers go back up again, said Delaplane and study co-author Dennis vanEngelsdorp of the University of Maryland.
 
What shocked the entomologists is that is the first time they've noticed bees dying more in the summer than the winter, said vanEngelsdorp said. The survey found beekeepers lost 27.4 percent of their colonies this summer. That's up from 19.8 percent the previous summer.
 
Seeing massive colony losses in summer is like seeing "a higher rate of flu deaths in the summer than winter," vanEngelsdorp said. "You just don't expect colonies to die at this rate in the summer."
 
View galleryPopular pesticide hurts wild bees in major field s …
FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2003 file photo, a bumblebee sits atop a gray-headed coneflower in Dauphin,  …
Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April 2014, according to the survey.
 
"Most of the major commercial beekeepers get a dark panicked look in their eyes when they discuss these losses and what it means to their businesses," said Pennsylvania State University entomology professor Diana Cox-Foster. She wasn't part of the study, but praised it.
 
Delaplane and vanEngelsdorp said a combination of mites, poor nutrition and pesticides are to blame for the bee deaths. USDA bee scientist Jeff Pettis said last summer's large die-off included unusual queen loss and seemed worse in colonies that moved more.
 
Dick Rogers, chief beekeeper for pesticide-maker Bayer, said the loss figure is "not unusual at all" and said the survey shows an end result of more colonies now than before: 2.74 million hives in 2015, up from 2.64 million in 2014.
 
That doesn't mean bee health is improving or stable, vanEngelsdorp said. After they lose colonies, beekeepers are splitting their surviving hives to recover their losses, pushing the bees to their limits, Delaplane said.
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Today I saw a couple of these flitting about a holly bush. Reminded me of two squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of an oak tree. I stopped and watched for about 5 minutes - had to run.

                                                       I enjoyed that one..

:)

1nzmrn.jpg

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Today I saw a couple of these flitting about a holly bush. Reminded me of two squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of an oak tree. I stopped and watched for about 5 minutes - had to run.

                                                       I enjoyed that one..

:)

1nzmrn.jpg

Those intricately marked wings--exquisite.

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I just had my first butterfly sighting near Toronto. Hope to see a lot more of them this year than I did last summer.

Wow.. Has it been a year already since you started this thread? Man...

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Wow.. Has it been a year already since you started this thread? Man...

Time (butter)flies....

 

Yesterday I saw two white butterflies in the yard.  A dragonfly has been circling over the pool for a couple weeks, always landing on the same little plant.

 

More dramatically, this week I was out walking a neighbor's dog.  A girl with her dog rushed up to me and said she'd just had a security alert that a mountain lion was in the area.  They wander from the hills, but not that often, at least in the daylight.  I walked home so fast, imaging the possible scenarios, trying to remember what to do.  (Make yourself look as big as possible and make a lot of noise, I later read.)   The dog is ultra friendly, so she would probably  approach the cougar with glee, as she does all dogs and people.  

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Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana.

 

We seem to have passed the season for butterflies. Lightning bugs now dominate the lawn each evening.

I spent many a youthful summer's eve pinching fireflies to make golden rings for my finger

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More dramatically, this week I was out walking a neighbor's dog.  A girl with her dog rushed up to me and said she'd just had a security alert that a mountain lion was in the area.  They wander from the hills, but not that often, at least in the daylight.

And to think that we think we have it potentially risky in some areas in southern Ontario when they put up signs warning about the possibility of spotting coyotes at dawn or dusk. I've yet to see one, by the way, though I have spoken to others who say they have.

 

My most "dangerous" encounter with an animal was the time I encountered a skunk who suddenly raised his tail towards me. (Never knew I could walk backward so quickly until that moment).

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 I walked home so fast, imaging the possible scenarios, trying to remember what to do.  (Make yourself look as big as possible and make a lot of noise, I later read.) 

 

 

When I was in the military we had to go to one of those stations that was not so important as to justify a year-around road. A truck took us as far as it could and we had to walk six miles more. 
 
Near the trail to the station there were tracks as big as dinner plates in the snow. I asked at the station what might have made those tracks. They said it was likely a tiger but I did not have to worry as there were many bears in the area and tigers prefer eating bears to humans. 
 
That did not comfort me.
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