August 13th – Nerding It Up

Identified by Karen Petrie as a Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia. -AT

In the past 2 days I have heard/seen the term “nerd” applied at least 4 times to describe a person(s) who is interested in the environment. This term has “playful” but negative connotations and what a shame. We live in an age that is awash in NDD – Nature Deficit Disorder. Most people – of all ages – don’t have any awareness of the natural world around them and, in fact, have difficulty identifying any of the plants and animals in their immediate environment. At the banding lab I have held up Robins and chickadees and asked students/teachers if they could identify them. Most could not. If people don’t know what’s around them how can we get them to appreciate what is and then take action to conserve them!? We have to come up with a better and more positive term so that folks can appreciate and talk about the natural world without a stigma attached to their doing so. Much of what we choose to do and appreciate depends on semantics.

That being said…’s a report from Karen Petrie our roving reporter who is embedded in Algonquin Park:

Ilia Underwing Moth. -KMP

Nerding It Up In Algonquin Park
Greetings from the park… bird walk this morning led by young guide Henrique (who spent some time banding at Long Point a couple of years ago with one Ben Oldfield) produced some of the usual suspects. CORA, BAWW, BWWA, MYWA, COYE, GCKI, YBSA, BCCH, NOPA, AMRE, AMRO, LEFL and most interesting possibly, olive-sided flycatcher.
Now for the REALLY nerdy part- I’ve been photographing whatever caterpillars I’ve come across, and attended a talk by the resident lepidopterist on moths this evening. I showed him my photos hoping to get positive ID, and the one I’m attaching caused him to sit down. Its a caterpillar of an Ilia Underwing moth– and according to him, probably the second-ever confirmed sighting in Algonquin Park, after the one he himself made earlier this year. It was right on my campsite.

More pics from Algonquin Park:

White-throated Sparrow – they will be upon us in another 5-6 weeks. -KMP

Black & White Warbler. -KMP

Very “washed out” Myrtle Warbler – the usual look that we get in the Fall. -KMP

Attracting moths with white and black lights. -KMP

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