Yes, we wrote a ‘new species’ article along this line in the autumn, but we have many more new species from 2021, five of which we will share with you now.
It is always delightful to discover a new butterfly … new to us at the cottage, not new to the world. This common ringlet spent some time flitting amongst the roadside grasses before landing briefly on the leaf of a goat’s beard, just long enough for our intrepid photographer to make this capture in June 2021. Now that we know where to look, we hope to see this small butterfly with its wingspan of approximately 3 to 4 centimetres more often in 2022.
The scarlet-winged lichen moth with its brightly coloured, conspicuously striped wings is one of the easier moths to identify which makes it a new favourite for us. Like other species of lichen moth, scarlet-winged lichen moth caterpillars feed primarily on tree lichen in wooded areas. The cottage neighbourhood has lots of wooded areas. They are nocturnal which explains why we see only the occasional lichen moth that has not yet tucked in for a long day’s sleep. This photograph was taken early in August 2021.
We always thrill at the discovery of a new bird. Usually it happens when we are pouring over the day’s photographs after they have been downloaded to our old laptop. It becomes especially difficult, though, when the bird is a flycatcher. Several species of flycatcher live in the woods of White Lake. At first glance, they are very similar looking, at least to us, … usually shades of brown, sometimes with tinges of yellow or grey. The look and colour of the wing bars is important, as is the shape and length of the tail. We have been reliably advised that this ‘new’ flycatcher is an eastern wood-pewee.
Predatory stink bug is the common name for several different species of stink bug and one must resort to the scientific name for clarity. Famously, stink bugs stink if squished, but they also release a pungent substance when they feel threatened. The adjective ‘predatory’ hints that, unlike other stink bugs, this one feeds upon insects. They prey on a wide variety of slow-moving soft-bodied insects, especially larvae. The majority of non-predatory stink bugs feed on the juices of a wide variety of plants. In July, Perillus exaptus caught our eye because its colour made it stand out on the underside of a leaf.
If, a decade ago, you suggested we would some day fall in love with a fly, we most certainly would have laughed. But that is exactly what has happened. As a matter of fact, we have fallen in love with a whole family of flies. Approximately 6000 species of syrphid fly exist world wide. A few hundred are in Ontario. We have identified 17 at White Lake, four of which were new to us in 2021, and one of which is Didea fuscipes. Unfortunately, Didea fuscipes does not have a common name. We have talked about syrphid flies before, so you may remember that some people call them hover flies, and Jeff Skevington calls them flower flies. In addition to the adult being a pollinator, Didea fuscipes larvae feed on a variety of aphids especially tree bark aphids. This syrphid, Didea fuscipes, was photographed on our cottage deck.
For this article we once again borrowed from the library the Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America by Jeffrey H. Skevington et al. Our other insect information comes from www.bugguide.net. For information about birds, we referred to David Allen Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.