Eastern black swallowtail butterfly emerges

We have been raising monarch butterflies for a few years now. Initially we did it as a way to bring science and nature into a more accessible setting for our daughters. It has evolved to become an annual exercise in addition to our hope that we can have an impact on the population.

We have been lucky enough to find other moths and butterflies like the eastern black swallowtail. The eastern black swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly that frequents our region from mid-summer to early fall. As with most butterflies, they begin when the female butterflies laying eggs on certain plants. In this case, they prefer parsley and other plants as opposed to the milkweed which monarchs enjoy.

My daughter found an egg a number of months ago.  Once it hatched, she fed it everyday a healthy diet of parsley.  It entered the chrysalis phase just over 2 weeks ago. The chrysalis changed colour over the last day and we knew by the transperency that today was the day.

Here is a video of the butterfly emerging. I was disappointed she turned the other way but it is still amazing to think they know exactly what to do. read more

Butterflies go free


We took a trip to the Montreal Botanical Garden to see the annual Butterflies Go Free exhibit. It is stunning to see all the varieties of the butterflies moving around in utter silence.

The exhibit ends April 24, 2016, so there is still time to catch it.

If you can’t make it, here is a meditative video I made from some of the slow motion video I captured, as well as some pics from today. Enjoy!

Slo-mo Bumbling Bees

Here is a short slo-mo video I shot yesterday using an iPhone 6 Plus and a ShoulderPod. Very difficult to track and keep in focus but interesting nontheless. Not the most elegant in flight but they get the job done. The shrub he is exploring is a caragana which has interesting flowers in the spring followed by exploding seed pods in the summer.


Water Scorpions

Water Scorpion

I was working on the getting the pool ready and found this bug floating on the surface. It is a water scorpion and they seems to be fairly common in eastern Ontario. I have probably seen half dozen of them around the place over the years. However, I have rarely seen them alive. This is the first time I have seen them in our pool and in this case it was probably the chlorine that killed him.

The water scorpion according to Wikipedia is fairly widespread. This one is a member of the genus Nepa.

There are 14 genera in the family, in two subfamilies, Nepinae and Ranatrinae, and they can be found on all continents except Antarctica. Members of the genus Ranatra, the most widespread and speciose genus, are sometimes called needle bugs or water stick insects as they are more slender than Nepa and feed primarily on invertebrates, but occasionally take small fish or tadpoles. 1

I am thankful he was dead. I understand the bite they can inflict is quite painful.

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_scorpion