I was greeted by a brilliant orange, black and brown butterfly, and by a chipmunk as I approached the entrance to the forest today. There are a lot of plants and insects right near the entrance, and I realized that if I brought a guidebook with me, I could probably spend all my time within a few metres of the entrance, sleuthing IDs for plants I don’t already recognize.
Today, however, mosquitos were thick, much thicker than they were last week, and I opted to keep covered and on the move. Instead of going to the horsetail clearing, I decided to try to find my way to the river. Taking the path I have walked down before, through the middle of the forest in the general direction of the river, I eventually landed up at a wider less overgrown trail going perpendicular to the one I was on, with the choice to go either right or left, but not forward. I chose to go left, and presently found myself walking alongside an old chain link fence for some distance, before the path finally curved round to meet the river. In the end, I only spent about 20 minutes there, but along the way I met quite a few interesting insects, and was delighted to come across what I took to be an owl feather. It was relatively short and wide, with brown and white patterning. I wasn’t able to catch photos of all the insects I saw, but they included a white and black triangular moth, orange and yellow butterflies with black checkers, smaller orange butterflies with tiny black dots arranged with varying density into detailed patterns, and a large fly sporting a bulbous red abdomen with black hairs, and wings splayed stiffly out to the side, rather than folded over the thorax. I can’t find any of these on the Insect of Alberta web site, so I think I will have to submit my photos to iNaturalist!
At the river, I noticed quite a bit of wild vetch, goldenrod, and red osier dogwood. Red osier dogwood berries are actually edible, even though they are white. Some are already ripe this year (they are early) and I tasted a few, spitting out the seeds afterward. They are somewhat bitter, and not to everyone’s taste, but I like them.
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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.