It was another idyllic summer day when I arrived: sunny, not too hot, and little wind. Darners (the large blue dragonflies) were the first to make an impression on me as I made my way towards the forest’s edge. There were plenty of damselfies hovering around near the entry to the forest too, and ants were carrying white sacs up one of the wide poplar trunks. I heard red-breasted nuthatches, as well as the usual yellow warblers, red-eyed vireos, and least flycatchers. I didn’t register any sparrow songs, but I also didn’t get as close to the river as I did on my last visit.
I found myself in less of a mood for wandering around, and more for sitting in one spot this time. I’m still learning the forest trails though, and it took a while before I found the clearing with the horsetails. I took a wrong trail for a while, through a quiet and flat region of the forest with lots of ground cover. I didn’t quite feel welcome to linger there, so I wandered back the way I came, and eventually did find the trailhead of the right trail. There I decided to take a rest before continuing on to my destination. I sat on a log at the trailhead for a while, and a few mosquitos hovered around me. One landed on my left arm and extracted some blood from it - sweet reciprocity for the gifts I am receiving from the forest. So far mosquito populations have been very low this summer. I wonder if/when they will increase, and make their presence known.
Once I arrived at the horsetail clearing, I did feel welcome to sit there for a while. I noticed a few kinds of beetles - one black and round, one black, thin, and long. I noticed an ant carrying what looked like a small millipede, somewhat longer and thicker than the ant. A few orange & black coloured butterflies landed on the low foliage near me. Their ID is still a mystery to me - they are neither painted ladies nor pearl crescents, which would be my go tos. I read a bit in my garden bugs guide about pearl crescents, and how they only appear in Alberta once every 10 years or so, when their populations grow to the point where they need to migrate to find food.
Next time I will have to remember to take a notebook and pen with me, as well as my camera.
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Hi! My name is Nathan Binnema. My grandparents are from the Netherlands, and I have lived my whole life in the city of Edmonton, as a settler on this land that I have learned to call Amiskwaciy Waskahikan. Growing up my family attended Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, which is how I am connected with Doug Visser. Around 2012/2013 I joined the public activism to fight the rezoning of the northeast agricultural land, and was introduced to the farm and the forest. I stayed in touch, and a few years later Kelly asked me to do bookkeeping for Lady Flower Gardens. Though I haven’t pursued studies in ecology or biology professionally, I have always been a biophile, and for nearly seven years now have been with a practice called phenological engagement, which involves visiting a small area consistently throughout the year, and trying to get to know all of the living creatures who also visit there, and how they are related.