I found this old strange looking fungus in our woods. Normally growing on tree trunks, this one was free standing. It had seen better days and a few month later it finally succumbed to slugs and insects.
This handsome and distinctive beetle is the largest of the scarab beetles in our area (British Columbia). They spend most of their lives underground in their larval stage, eating on plant roots. When they appear in June/July it is to look for a mate. The males have very impressive antennae which they use to find females. Once they appear they are quite short lived. At this stage mating is on their minds and eating isn’t so they aren’t harmful to handle though they are very strong and their velcro-like feet can be a little disconcerting when crawling on your hand.
Our normally fairly quiet woods aren’t so quiet at the moment with a family of barred owls having moved in. The chicks are still dependant on their parents so sit in the trees whistling for food and to indicate their location. The parents are out hunting and all the other birds find this threatening. During the daylight hours the owls are easy to find – just follow the sounds of alarm calls of robins, towhees, chickadees, hummingbirds and most other flying creatures. There the owls will be sitting while being dive bombed by anxious birds.
This week I have been building my wife a small writing studio in the woods. For three days in a row now an owl has flown slowly past us just above head level. Today we could see it coming towards us through a tree corridor from about a 100 feet away. It stared right at us as it flew towards and past us. A truly wonderful experience. As it hasn’t called either of our names yet, we are taking it as a favourable sign.