Fri and Sat

Friday had been a good day for us in the bird department. In the morning I spotted Purple Finches (Carpodacus purpureus) feeding on niger seed in the dispenser hanging in our apple tree. Of course I grabbed the camera and tried to find a spot for  pictures, but they were flighty and did not return. While I waited, however, I saw a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), chickadees, two crows and a tiny ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula), none of which provided good opportunities for photography!

Saturday was better for insects. I spotted at least 3 different species of bumble-bee, but could photograph none. However, I did purchase some plants for the garden, and included with these was a blooming gentian speedwell (Veronica gentianoides). This immediately attracted attention, and despite it being a windy day, I managed to photograph some of the wee beasties that came to call.

The afternoon was spent cleaning out the front beds that follow the city sidewalk. I pruned back some juniper branches, trimmed back old material from the various groundcovers and raked out an excess of dried leaves. I do not have a lot of leaf raking to do, because in most areas the leaves may stay where they fall. In this case I removed leaves that were smothering groundcovers or otherwise too deeply matted. A benefit of removing leaves later in the spring is that you are not disturbing or removing any hibernating insects. Ladybird beetles often hibernate in the leaf litter, and raking and bagging leaves too early (or not leaving them in place in the fall) may end up sending these beneficial insects to the landfill.

As usual, any help with identifying insects is always appreciated. Just leave your information in the comments.


One thought on “Fri and Sat

  1. Hi Adrian,

    I think the black and rusty haired bee is a member of the genus Andrena. There is a key to the species in the US at but it is pretty technical and picture limited. According to the key, 165 species of Andrena live in Canada, and using Montana as a proxy for Alberta, 117 species may be here.

    Now Environment Canada is predicting hard frosts for both Wednesday and Thursday mornings, but only -3-4, better than the -6 of yesterday.




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