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message 1: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Jul 17, 2020 12:58PM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
Many of us treasure, admire, and love city and country flora and wildlife that abounds, in our diversity of places all around the world. Some of us assist the tadpoles with hose water when a week is dry and some of us even get to behold the metamorphosis of butterflies! It is time we have a folder for a wonderful variety of updates. Name your region, climate, and passions!

Natural to us and regularly seen are whitetailed deer and wild turkies. Both species of Mothers are showing us their newborn fawns and poults now! Seldom seen at our home are black bears. Only once, I saw a Mom and her 3 cubs dash through our yard against the forest. Once our birdfeeders were visited by an well-grown juvenile. We only hang them outside by day.

The province of Manitoba abounds in so many birds, insects, and amphibians in addition to these gorgeous mammals; that individual topic threads might be in order.

I seldom see garter snakes but today, there was one sunning on the sidewalk in front of our house! I had only glimpsed one but them feeling through grass. I wish I knew which way this friendly guy went, because he disappeared when I was gone for a minute and might be in our front flowerbed. I don't want to surprise him or myself.

Yesterday, Ron showed me for my first time: a caterpillar chrysallis! It is their name for a cocoon. This one is of the great monarch. It is on the side of our house, right beside this room. Fellow-Canadian Leeanne told me today, what to watch for. I see the sweet little caterpillar tucked inside the bright green pod! I wish him a wonderful life journey! Note to indoor people: it only took a short tour outside our house to behold all this glory.


message 2: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
How lucky to see the deer! While I would of course want to be out of harms way, I would love to see a bear -- they seem like such amazing creatures.

I just looked up garter snakes, they looks sweet, and it's nice to know they aren't poisonous!

I hope you get to see the chrysallis hatching (if that's the correct term?) -- I find it so interesting to watch their evolution.

Here with the weather being flooding and high winds, most wild animals are hidden away, and all stock/outdoor animals moved to higher ground or places with shelter, so there is less to see at the moment - though I bet the ducks are loving it! There are ducks where we graze, though they mainly stick to the pond, but after the rain they wander all around digging up food. I mentioned the turkeys in the "Anne" thread, but haven't seen them since the bad weather. They tend to prefer the sunshine! When it gets warmer they reappear with their chicks. I did see a rabbit the other day, which I always enjoy. A little one, though an adult I think, just sitting in the long grass. Sometimes there are hares as well - I can usually tell the difference just based on size and the hind legs, but only if they are in the open.


message 3: by Leeanne (new)

Leeanne | 66 comments It sounds like you both have a wonderful variety of wildlife where you live! I've always wanted to see wild bears, from a distance of course. We don't have any around where I live, their up by the Bruce Peninsula area and in northern Ontario.

I live in the city so we don't get deer or turkey's walking through. We all have to go to the country to see them. Hawks, falcons and eagles are a common sight on telephone wires when you come into or out of the city. My dad just recently saw a young bald eagle when coming back home. The head hadn't turned white yet but they're so much larger than the other birds of prey around here that we can still tell them apart at that age.

Yesterday a beautiful Swallowtail butterfly hatched from it's chrysalis on my front porch. It was found in the garden and then moved onto the porch in a bucket with some grass. I know nothing about these butterflies and didn't have time to research much about them. I didn't get any pictures of it unfortunately. It had places to go, things to do. It stayed around just long enough for me to realize it was the one from the chrysalis.


message 4: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Jul 23, 2020 08:01AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
I lived in the city most of my life and there are plenty of wildlife to enjoy, including deer if you knew where to look. But naturally, Kerri and I are describing special wildlife that it warms our hearts to share. I couldn't obsere deer raising fawns and gathering as much as they do in my country home. I had one special, close encounter in my last apartment and we feed house sparrows from a plate on our balcony.

I wondered why you collect eggs and chrysallises that you find? Do they have challenges leaving them where the caterpillars laid and made them? It is wonderful that you saw a swallowtail metamorphose! It was very good timing to learn about butterflies from you just as we recognized our first milkweed plants, all eaten.

Since caterpillars have to be other places, we are grateful for those two chrysallis to watch. Two days ago, I witnessed my first hatched butterfly! I took photos of the black chrysallis where I could indeed see her wings, as you said.

We checked several times and on our way to town, she was hatched! I went inside for my camera and photographed that beauty with her pod. It was precious how this big, beautiful, graceful butterfly hung onto her pod as the home she knew so far. She would discover within 4 hours that she had the whole sky to explore and flight at her wingtips, anywhere she wants. The pod was empty when we returned but she has been around our yard yesterday. She rests on the pine tree above her rebirth pod.


message 5: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Jul 23, 2020 08:29AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
Kerri, black bears are unaggressive, except if stressed out around their young. Of course never approach wild animals, unless they need aid. Black bears can be watched at a distance in peace. One was near our bird feeders a few years ago and we cautiously got close to remove them and cautiously backed up and put them away.

Kerri, I wish your wonderful post about blue birds and chicks were here for me to find! I would love to know their names and look them up. It is wonderful to see wild turkeys and their poults, you bet! As well as eagles, rabbits, and hares. I have only twice seen a rabbit here, odd compared to Canadian cities. Their tracks go alongside the ditches in winter because they eat small trees those seeds wash up there. But they are wise to stay away from cats and dogs.

No Manitoba snakes or insects are dangerous. Of course you get rid of of mosquitoes and woodticks as fast as possible. Yes, ducks are beautiful. I am not near water but there are endless little lakes and marshes the first few minutes of driving east.


message 6: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
I just Googled Swallowtail butterflies and wow, how beautiful! I don't think I've ever seen one.


message 7: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
Good to know that Black Bears are not aggressive! I think many animals are usually as long as they're left alone.

I went out the beach both days this weekend to walk Izzy and a dog we were looking after, and I was expecting to see all sorts of animals about, especially birds, but there was very little. I think it's the weather putting them off - lots of people are still clearing up damage from flooding, and the seagulls seemed to be the only ones ready to ignore all the debris!


message 8: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Jul 26, 2020 08:41AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
Yes, Swallowtails are a beautiful yellow. I saw my first gorgeous Morning Cloak on a short hike in Ontario, whose name Ron told me. I believe I saw her at the same time as our second Monarch hastily hatched at home. It was like she was sending a message: "I am ready to go already and know you had wanted to see me". :)

I am sorry about flooding. I hope the debris is only tree branch type debris and no destruction. I love seagulls! I only see them in city parking lots or at a beach like we did in Ontario; both rare occasions for me. We still need rain. We got a little yesterday morning but not any that was expecting last night.

Thank goodness Ron bought a really good sprinkler and he is going to work with it right now. Our gardens are in different sections of our properties. He had watered two of the house flowerbeds last night and I do the flowerboxes, hangingbaskets, and herb pots by hand. I have transplanted Sumac Trees to baby too. The tadpoles and minnows were well watered yesterday, so we have time to use our hose with the sprinkler first this morning.


message 9: by Leeanne (new)

Leeanne | 66 comments I mentioned in the Anne thread I’d comment on your Monarchs here Kerri, where it makes more sense to talk about them.

You have Monarchs in New Zealand? I thought they were just a North American butterfly. I looked up the global distribution map of the butterflies and you are certainly right. New Zealand and it’s surrounding countries have Monarchs. The North American monarchs are more commonly known and referenced because of their incredible multi-generation migration.

I looked up your swan plants and they are not the same as the milkweed we have over here. It is a species of milkweed though, so is still toxic. It looks a lot different from our milkweed, with thinner leaves and ball shaped seed pods.

That park sounds like a beautiful place to visit Kerri! Especially when all the monarchs are around. Some might be drying out if they just came out of their chrysalis’, but most are probably just enjoying the warm sun!

I wonder if you are familiar with the North American monarch butterfly’s great migration, Kerri. It is the great migration that makes them famous (along with their distinctive wings). If not I suggest looking into it for it is certainly a natural phenomenon!


message 10: by Leeanne (new)

Leeanne | 66 comments Carolyn, I help raise the Monarch butterflies because they are an endangered species. Climate change and habitat loss are their most major threats. Road mortality, weather and their natural predators don’t help their declining numbers either. Many people have started raising them at home to help ensure they won’t continue to decrease. They are doing better now, thanks to this extra help from us.

This year I have only two chrysalis’ inside and one caterpillar. Recent studies have shown it is better to raise them either in a sheltered area outside, or bring them in as young caterpillars and eggs and then take them back outside before they form the chrysalis. This adapts them to natural life, giving them a better chance of surviving as butterflies.

I wonder if you know how to tell female and male monarchs apart? There is an easy way to do so. It’s hard to explain without a picture of both. The males have two black dotes on a wing vein (the black lines) on their hind wings. The females do not. They must have their wings open to see this difference though so you might have to follow them around your garden until they fly off.

How exciting that you got to see one before and after it hatched. It really is good timing that you have monarchs when I can help you learn about them! I’m really enjoying hearing about your butterflies.

I looked up the Mourning Cloak butterfly and it looks very beautiful. I don’t think I’ve seen any around here.

I hope the flooding isn’t too bad Kerri. I have lots of seagulls by the river where I live. That and an abundance of Canadian geese that don’t feel the need to migrate anymore. It’s illegal to feed any of the waterfowl since the geese stopped migrating because they could get enough food here. We have an overpopulation of geese now, and they’re set on staying.


message 11: by Leeanne (new)

Leeanne | 66 comments The two chrysalis’ I had inside hatched yesterday! One was already hatched when I woke up and the other hatched in the afternoon! I released them later, into my front garden. The smaller of the two held onto a flower and drank some nectar. The larger one immediately flew up into the neighbouring maple tree to sun himself. They are both boys this time! The kids that live across the street from me ran over to see the boys go. They were very excited! I wish them well on their long journey. God speed boys!


message 12: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Jul 31, 2020 09:35AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
There is a lot of information needed to understand the picture. It makes sense to ensure that Monarch caterpillars and their milkweed are protected and I would be wary of interrupting their process by moving them or their chrysallis, although I am glad you know what to do. I think I asked somewhere else what else they can eat but if not, that is a question we wonder.

At one time, you said their only predators are ants and didn't explain why you put chrysallis you find in your garden, onto a pail of grass on your porch. But whatever the reason, that seems a safe enough place from which to hatch.

Then you said you bring caterpillars inside and put them outside before they build a chrysallis. Do you grow milkweed indoors, or pick leaves for them? Do you estimate the number of days before caterpillars would build chrysallis?

Next, you write of chrysallis inside the house. We are missing details. Surely indoor chrysallis lay in an enclosure, so hatched Monarched are not lost in a house! If you explain these various details and decisions, I will get the picture. I sure do share in your excitement of seeing these babies being born and wish them God speed, on their trip!


message 13: by Leeanne (new)

Leeanne | 66 comments Sorry I didn’t include as much information as was needed to understand. I will try to explain all this in more detail.

Yes I did say that ants are there biggest predators when they are young . They do have other predators. Other insects like spiders and wasps will attack them when they are in caterpillar stage. As caterpillars they have no defence, just the bright colours to warn birds and other creatures that they are not safe to eat. There are a few species of birds that will eat them. These birds can handle small amounts of the toxins in the caterpillars. I said you shouldn’t have to worry about the birds too much because most will avoid the Monarchs.

I do not move chrysalis’. It is a critical part of their lifecycle so they should be left quite alone. I only moved the Swallowtail’s chrysalis because I found it weeding and it was not in a very protected or sturdy place. I simply brought it onto the porch so it wouldn’t be accidentally harmed by me or something else. Plus I could also observe this species that I have never had in my garden before.

The caterpillars are much easier to move and they can handle transitions quite well. As long as they have milkweed and relatively protected from the elements they’re good. As I mentioned moving a chrysalis is very risky.

As far as I know Monarchs only eat milkweed. I have never heard of them being able to eat anything else. They get their toxins from the milkweed so if they didn’t eat the plant they wouldn’t get the toxins. The loss of many milkweed filled habitats are helping cause their numbers to decline. If they could eat other plants we wouldn’t need to worry quite as much about them anymore. If they can eat other plants their first choice would still be the milkweed so they can get those important toxins. You’ll probably only find them on those plants.

The caterpillar period is 10-14 days. Then they are in the chrysalis for about a week. I have several years of experience so I can tell by the size of the caterpillars, who should be going into a chrysalis and when. I can then act accordingly based on this guess.

Inside I have a fish tank with a wire mesh top. The tank is filled with soil and some grass. Every couple of days I usually go looking in the garden for eggs. These are always on the bottom of a milkweed plant and are easy to see once you know what you’re looking for. I simply cut the whole leaf off and put it in the tank. Then I continue to add more fresh leaves every day or so. (Whenever the old leaves start to dry out.) I could grow the plants inside but I have a cat who loves to eat plants. I wouldn’t feel safe having milkweed growing in my house with Mittens around. I mentioned before that the milkweed took over a good portion of my front garden, so I have an abundance of plants to get leaves from.

I mentioned a wire mesh lid on the fish tank that the caterpillars are in. They would previously make their chrysalis’ on the mesh top. As I said, new research shows it’s best to either have an enclosure outside (I will build one of these sometime soon) or raise them until they are almost to the chrysalis stage and then move them outside again. It might seem like a lot of moving around, but it hasn’t seemed to bother the caterpillars much and they are easily moved during this stage.

The baby caterpillars haven’t escaped the tank yet. If they really, really wanted to they probably could (through the mesh top) but they have lots of food so therefore no desire to go anywhere. There were some sticks in the tank so the older caterpillars could make their chrysalis’ on the top but I am not encouraging this behaviour anymore.

The most recent boys have been the last caterpillars to go through their life stages in my house. They built their chrysalis’ on the mesh top and I waited patiently for them to turn black. Then they hatched and dried inside the tank and then were released into the garden. There are lots of flowers there for them to drink from. I haven’t seen them since and must assume there on their way to Mexico!

I hope I cleared up any confusion and answered all your questions well, Carolyn. I’m sure the boys appreciate your support and well wishes for their journey.


C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
It isn't only for me! Anyone would wonder if butterflies were loose in the house, without the detail of an enclosure. It was not the caterpillars whom I imagined would get out and I did wonder if loose leaves were appealing enough. In my experience, most cats aren't interested in toxic plants but certainly caution is wise until you know your adoped kitty well. You might grow potted milkweed in the enclosure. Thank you for your details and information, Leeanne.

I got stung a 7th time, by a stray wasp in the house! These spots hurt the first night, then are awfully itchy for a few days. I am not known to be allergic to anything and imagine itchiness is normal for anyone. We did not care to kill them and he thought it might be harmful to them to wreck any part of a nest by moving it, or hazardous to us even possibly at night. I agreed to wait for fall.

Lately they are already quiet. Maybe they attacked during a period of hatching young. I am uncertain if they are gone or used to us but am glad. Rain finally seems on its way today! Thank goodness for our shared work with hoses and watering cans meanwhile.

Later this afternoon, the dear turkey family of two Moms and 9 poult children visited our home. They not only browsed for something to eat but relaxed here awhile. We love providing a place for turkeys as well as whitetailed deer and their fawns to be safe and free of being pestered or startled by dogs.

One poult chick got into "Garden #3". The precious little guy likely flew over the low fence and even though he was perusing happily on the other side of his family, I knew I had to help him out. Animals, including our kitties, aim for where they see the house or us but the door is in the middle of the east side.

The little guy was naturally afraid at my approach. But rather than letting him press his head against the fence too long and trying to calm him, I scooped him or her up and tossed him or her back to the family. He ran to hide but I am sure everyone else saw that I had helped their kin.

When they were ready to glide out of our domain, one lady yelled to the little guy to join them and he or she did. I am so glad I watch creatures to ensure they are okay. I feel no lack of being a human Mom, by caring for and guarding animal sweethearts.


message 15: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
Wow, I hadn't realised there was so much involved with the raising of the monarchs. The time we had a some there were only a few plants so was less involved. It's good to know our variety of milkweed (usually called Swan plants here, I'm not sure why) are still toxic. Thankfully our cats don't show much interest in plants, but it's always useful to know what ones are potentially harmful.

The flooding was damaging to a lot places but luckily we weren't too affected. Everyone had to conserve as much water as possible while things while the waterworks (or something along those lines) was being fixed. I think it hit so hard because prior to the rain we had been in a drought, and that seems to makes the deluge of water more damaging.
There is another weather warning out for tomorrow, but it is not expected to last for so long, so hopeful it wont be such a problem!

I do hope those wasps stay quiet, Carolyn!

I loved reading about the chick! The ones we get here often are very sweet. Sometimes you can here a strange crying that I always try to locate because it doesn't sound like a specific animal, so I want to check that it is in fact a turkey and not a kitten or something. So far it's always being a few chicks, with a mother nearby.

There are also a few pheasants around, they are quite beautiful, but they have a tendency to fly out from long grass, startling the horses which is less than ideal!

I saw the turkeys the other day, looking a bit bedraggled but happy enough. No chicks yet.

There are lots of lambs around now though. The other day we drove past a paddock that had three or four sets of twin lambs. That day they were each standing with their mothers, but the following day that had all arranged themselves in a circle in the middle of the paddock while the mothers grazed along the fence line. It looked like an absurdly cute daycare centre!


message 16: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited Dec 21, 2020 09:34AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
I wondered how many Monarch raising steps were life-saving, versus something Leeanne enjoys; just wishing to clarify. She said the danger was loss of milkweed habitat and ants threatening eggs. It sounded like hatching is as far as it needs to go indoors and metamorphosis is unhindered outside.

I am glad you saw baby lambs, Kerri! I seldom see them in Manitoba. I tend to be sad driving past baby cows, however precious they are because these are animals some people consider food. I haven't considered anyone food since 2006. You can't release a bunch animals, you have to educate.

The easiest, cost-free way of changing the mindset is to ask everyone we know to stop using the word "owner" about our own pets. That makes a huge difference. Kerri, please don't forget to transfer everything you said about "blue chicks" from the "Green Gables" thread or repeat it here.

It was great hearing about the white squirrels, Leeanne! "Exeter", is a place I only know in England. Driving across that country was frustrating because everything closes at 5:00 PM! You either skip attractions or lose a night staying over to see them. I insisted on learning to drive ourselves, with an automatic gear shift thank you very much. Why is the UK in the dark ages? That way little animals or unexpected places could be enjoyed as we saw them and a good thing we only booked lodgings when we knew where we were stopping.

I don't think Ontario has bigger squirrels than our large varieities. We both have a variety, except on black or white here. At our home the small brown sweethearts are standard. I am stunned that New Zealand has no squirrels. I thought they are a common animal that live everywhere across the world. I could open my door and show you one now. Our cats are trained to keep them off the birdfeeders, knowing they won't catch the squirrels. I exclaim: "There's a squirrel!" and any of our beauties will volunteer to charge out the door.

They only hibernate in the coldest of the cold, unlike chipmunks. This is a detail my review tore apart in the second or third Louise Penny novel, "The Cruellest Month". She gets summers right but her idea of real cold and frosty spring is surprisingly off, including when frogsong is loudest. Things that are true from Manitoba to Quebec and about certain temperatures, which cannot be brushed off as regional. Anyway, they are the only two novels that didn't get five stars from this fan.


message 17: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
Where we graze Jimmy (pony) there are lots of wild turkeys including several albino ones, which are quite striking. And pukekos (Australasian swamphens) which are blue -- their chicks are my favourites because they look like little balls of deep blue fluff. They are odd looking, but in an endearing way. --- When they emerge this year I will see if I can take some photos to share.

I googled it quickly to check that we don't have squirrels and luckily I was right! It's actually amazing that they never ended up here -- so many animals did, on ships, often unintentionally. We have stoats and weasels, and rats of course, but not squirrels or chipmunks. They feature so often in many stories from elsewhere in the world so I've always wanted to see one. I love that your cats are trained to keep them off the birdfeeders!


message 18: by C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.) (last edited May 17, 2022 08:13AM) (new)

C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.) (riedel) | 1050 comments Mod
Members: disagreeing is natural. Throwing a fit over benign suggestions is unacceptable. The way to show someone they cannot lash out an uncontrolled temper, is not to tolerate it.

We need our happy places. I have been in a long stretch of multiple grief. I had turned notifications off in unease about what this temperamental person might say next. It is a relief to remove her. I do not do it lightly and trust the ugly atmosphere was evident.

Tree sap is like molasses. Branches are all deer have to eat until green growth emerges. This woman said she was seeing deer for the first time and questioned that I was feeding them safely. No one likes assumptions and she did it at every turn.

Like Hagar Shipley in "The Stone Angel", I want to be respected, loved, and understood. Since Kerri & Shirin are co-moderators, I want to double check that you understand not tolerating rudeness or insensitivity. Hugs, Carolyn.


message 19: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (kerrisbooks) | 198 comments Mod
Hi Carolyn,

Like Hagar Shipley in "The Stone Angel", I want to be respected, loved, and understood. -- Yes, I understand where you are coming from. Certainly your group should be one of your happy places! I hope you are doing well after everything and finding times of enjoyment amidst your grief. I'm just in the process on replying to your email now.

Love, Kerri :)


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