We were all back down to the deep south of Ontario this weekend, but boy was it frigid! Brass monkeys, as they'd say in the jolly old UK. Still, we had fun on the first afternoon hunting Morels, Morchella species. They seem to be rather common this spring and we had no trouble finding more than enough to go with dinner. Not the one above though. This is a Black Morel, though what exactly constitutes this species is taxonomically confused right now. We found just one small clump in the forest interior so we left them alone. Apparently they do taste quite good in spite of their rather distasteful appearance.
Ah, yes, this is more like it. There were two other edible types in the area, this was the more common of the two and easy to find since they were on the outside edge of the woods. Washed, sliced and fried up they are totally delicious.
A nice close-up of the "brain-like" structure of the morel.
It was a disaster for moths. I had four MV lights blazing away into the night but it was all to no avail - just too cold, with a full moon to boot. I ended up with five moths of just three species. Pitiful! However, all was saved when James found the micro moth above. We were looking at a centipede on a tree trunk when he spotted it - great eyes! I was most excited because I recognized it as being in the genus Bondia, a member of the Carposinidae. I figured it was most likely B. crescentella, but have to be cautious because there are other species for which I cannot find reference material for just now. A nice looking moth all the same.
This is the tortrix moth Phaneta radiatana. A striking and distinctive-looking moth. It is an early flying species that I have caught at a couple of other sites but not here, so I was quite pleased to add it to the ever growing site list. There are quite a few Phaneta species in Ontario but this is one of the most striking and easily identified.
This is Protorthodes oviduca, the Ruddy Quaker. Rather small and chunky this common and widespread species is best identified by the reddish-brown ground color with the contrasting pale-edged black reniform and orbicular spots. The adults are on the wing from May to September in two generations and the larvae feed on dandelion, grasses and other low plants.
Finally, the distinctive Agrotis volubilis, the Voluable Dart. Another common and widespread species that is on the wing in late spring.
I'm not going back until it warms up! However, it was well worth it for the fine company and lovely morels...