About & submitting a post

I created this blog in 2009 to provide a venue for interesting natural history observations or new biological insights from Eastern Ontario and particularly from the environs of our university biological station (see below). Thus far the site has > 14,000 views (December 2010). This blog is intended to be a public repository for information and ideas that might not be suitable or of sufficient heft for publication in traditional journals. Anyone can (is encouraged to!) send a submission to me (Stephen Lougheed) and I will decide whether it is suitable for posting here. I may also make some modest editorial suggestions.

The Queen’s University Biological Station is located in eastern Ontario in the heart of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. The station proper is on Lake Opinicon part of the Rideau Canal system, a Unesco-designated World Heritage site. The > 3000 ha. station properties span a range of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, including paustrine marshes, woodland ponds, lakes, temperate broadleaf and needleleaf woodlands, pastures and granitic out-crops. Many species in this region exist here at the northern limit of their geographic ranges and are species of conservation concern in Canada (e.g. gray ratsnake, five-lined skink, cerulean warbler).

Stephen Lougheed

3 thoughts on “About & submitting a post”

  1. Today, for the first time, I had a red-bellied woodpecker visit my birdfeeder in Pickering, Ontario 250m east of the Rouge Valley and 1000m north of Lake Ontario.

  2. leeparadise@hotmail .com
    Paramount, CA 90723
    October 11, 2015
    19:00 to 19:30 Hrs. Initial Encounter
    20:25 Hrs. Final Encounter And Rescue

    While sitting in my office with the door open and while talking on the phone, I observed an incoming insect of considerable size and at
    first thought it was a June Beetle type, which would be out of season,
    but then noticed that it was a dragon-fly.

    I abruptly told the friend that I was talking to that I was going to have
    to rescue the dragon before it beat itself to death on walls and fixtures.

    While describing to my friend what I was doing by speaker phone as I
    tried to fan the air around the dragon to direct it to the front door, it
    became very apparent that it was going nowhere, but would only speed
    up its flight more frantically around the fluorescent light source that it had
    been attracted to.

    I then shut off the light in one part of the office to cause the dragon to
    fly to the other part of the office where there was not only one source of
    light, but an direct exit from office into the night, but first past outdoor
    lighting that most likely first attracted the insect to our offices in the first place.

    First not budging but choosing to rest in the dark(at this time I did not
    realize why), I finally turned the light back on in that portion of the office
    and forced the dragon into the other part of the office, then closed doors
    so it could not venture back into the area from which it had been removed, or into others.

    I then turned on the lights(fluorescent), and tried to direct it to the front door, at which time it only increased the velocity of its flight, and almost
    recklessly, so I turned off the light so it could rest. It did immediately.
    Then I left the office for about 45 minutes.

    When I returned to the office , and before eating my dinner, I said to myself before I sat down to the meal, that I would not be comfortable until the dragon was back out into the wild. When I went to see where the dragon was, I noticed that it was resting on the fluorescent light fixture, and quite still. I then figured out how I was going to make the rescue.

    Using a plastic quart and a half pitcher and stiff piece of cardboard, I
    positioned a chair just below the spot where the dragon had come to
    rest on the lighting fixtures with the light on while at the same time
    hoping that it was not too sensitive to movement as it had been earlier,
    then taking flight. It did not budge. Then a bright idea struck me, and
    that was to turn off the lights hoping that it would lessen its ability to see
    me.

    As a got closer to the dragon, expecting it to take off at any instant,
    while watching it in the dark, and still quite visible to me, I noticed no
    reaction whatsoever, and then I quickly placed the pitcher over it
    thinking that it would go crazy. It didn’t move. Then I placed the cardboard between it and the open container, and sealed off the
    container. It flittered for a second and then stop moving. I wondered
    if it had gotten away it was so quiet(I’m still in the dark).

    When I stepped outside with the sealed off container, I was able to
    see that indeed, I had caught the dragon. After closing the door to
    the office behind me, I removed the cardboard and it took off like a
    …dragonfly. Mission accomplished.

    Then I thought to myself, that was so easy, “I bet dragonflies cannot see
    very well or at all without light. Let me look that up on the Web”, and here I am.

    I have little doubt that I could have captured the insect by hand if I it
    would not have caused injury to it, but which is almost a certainty in the
    affirmative. Clearly, this insect was either helpless, or extremely
    vulnerable in darkness, if not totally night-blind.

    Species: Coincidentally the darner type pictured at your
    website, Aeshna Canadensis, is not appreciably
    different in appearance from the one I encountered here
    in California . No other remarkable color, or pattern
    features noted in the available lighting.

    Weather: 82 degrees(27.7 C)
    Clear
    Wind SSW 3 mph
    Humidity 42
    Dew Point 56 degrees F(13.3 C)
    Pressure 29.90 in
    Visibility 10 mi.
    UV index 0 out 10

    At another time in the earl part of my life, I had destined myself to become an entomologist specializing in Hymenoptera and Coleoptera.

    Hoped this increased your knowledge, added to your own observations,
    and assists you in validating any theories that you have.

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