Tag Archives: Gypsy Moth

Photographing Spring Dawning Hamilton

Photographing Spring Dawning Hamilton

Monday February 7 2011

Frozen in time

It was one of those early Spring days when you could smell the earth and feel the power of the wind that would blow you away, as you listened to Roxy Music’s “Avalon” on the clock-radio falling out of bed in the early dawn.After taking all my medications and reading the Camera equipment,  I e-biked to Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail with my legs feeling a bit ropey thanks to a hard ride home last night and the fact that I’m not warmed up yet. A rabbit burst into the bushes on a helter-skelter trail course as I pass, and I see a deer along Cootes Drive, the first in the morning, swinging its white-rump (tail) as it bounds through the trees of West Hamilton. The Spring frost is deeper here along the trail – the mud is frozen into corrugations that my e-bike tires scrunches over and the puddles have a coating of crackly ice. At the top of the trail, I pause and silence descends, and I recall the conservation magazine entitled ‘Not So Silent Spring.” As I stand there, my breath curls away in white-cloud -like circles that resemble gold coloured smoke, I realize silence is a misleading word to use in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise landscapes. That is, because every bush rustles with foraging birds and bulrushes sway as Mute Swans are foraging at water’s edge; squirrels scramble up and down the tree trunks at Bayfront Park, gypsy moths gather nectar from a flower, a fly lands on a daisy flower, and from the distance comes the sound of a train horn at the C.P. Rail Yards. I punctuate this with two spring -loaded clacks as I clip back into the pedals of my e-bike and groan my way up the last of this particular trail.

October sunrise
Cootes Paradise

I think nature might be picking on me because of my invasion as the bushes whip painfully at my legs and arms, and more agonizingly is my cold ears, fingers and toes. Soon I am climbing a wide part of the trail and here I stop again. This time it is to use my camera – swollen fingers fumbling with the buttons as I attempt to photograph some bristle spikes that , to me, resemble swords sticking out of the ground. I’m not sure the pictures capture what I see, but I feel better for having tried – there is nothing more frustrating than going for a ride with a Nikon D90 in your backpack only to ignore everything because you feel that it would ruin the flow. Looking at the landscape before me, I was thinking Camera Raw and Adobe settings that I  had applied the night before.Using Photoshop cs5 and the Camera Raw made everything so much easier when manipulating a picture to the way I feel, or felt at that paticular moment in time . When shooting, align a horizon as in Cootes Paradise with the horizontal guidelines in the camera viewfinder which will help keep the scene level. As I stand on the shores of Hamilton Harbourfront spread before me illuminated by the rising sun, just emerged above a cloud – it is breathtakingly lovely. Mist lurks across the lake in front of me, in a strangely purple in the morning light. I happily snap photos for nearly an hour before realizing I was losing the sun, the time is pressing and I’ve not fulfilled the need for that perfect picture., yet.

Painful beauty
Invasive beauty

On my e-bike I even do the cheekiest of cheek trails and it is great – roots, corners that beg to be carved out in photographs. Along Cootes Drive again I see a lone deer sauntering across the highway. I get my camera out, just before the white-tailed female deer glides off silently again, out of the way of preying eyes. More photo stops occur on the route back home. Then I sit down in my chair, cup of fresh brewed Ginger tea in hand, looking down at my cat, then looking over downtown Hamilton just waking up. Frankly, I contemplate they’ve missed the best part of the day photographing Spring Dawning.

City Deer
Too may obstacles

Every morning I  rode my ebike From June 7 2010 until January 2011 drawn by Mother nature. I dream nightly of the Not so silent spring approaching, the need to be outdoors and Fulfilling the need to touch, feel,  and rebirth.


Source: adapted from Dawn by Dom Perry

By Jacqueline and Doug Worrall

Gypsy Moth upsets the Ecosystem Hamilton

Gypsy Moth upsets the Ecosystem Hamilton

Monday October 4th 2010

Gypsy moth nest

Butterfly – No !   Beautiful  Moth – Yes !  But, the Gypsy Moth is developed by a destructive caterpillar stage.  The larva is small and dark.  The very hairy caterpillars have dark heads and red and blue dots on their backs.  These caterpillars feed on leaves of more than 300 species of trees and shrubs and vines.  Their favourite food is OAK.  These caterpillars eat 10.8 sq.ft. ( 1 sq.meter) of foliage during their development.
Forest Effects:  The Gypsy Moth (Lymantra dispar) is one of North America’s most devastating forest pests. In any forest stand densities may fluctuate from 1 egg mass per ha. to 1,000 per ha.  When densities reach high levels, trees become completely defoliated = TREE MORALITY.  In Deciduous trees – if 50% of the leaves are eaten, the tree will refoliate in midsummer.  Although they develop new leaves, these leaves will be smaller.  This process of re foliage uses the tree’s energy reserves and weakens the tree.  Weakened trees are attacked and killed by opportunistic disease organisms and insects that are normal members of the forest ecosystem.  Healthy trees resist such attacks.
Natural Enemies:  The most important predator of the Gypsy Moth are  small mammals.  For example, white -footed mice and deer mice eat gypsy moths.  Birds do eat them, but most birds find them too hairy.  Other enemies are: (1) Nucleopolyhedrosis Virus – which collapse the outbreak of gypsy moth populations; and, (2) Entomopathogenic Fungus – which causes morality in gypsy moths.

Management: Most studies center on Biology, Ecology and Management of Gypsy Moths.  Gavin Cummings in the April 15, 2,008  Hamilton Spectator reported  “Gypsy Moth infects Hamilton, Ontario. These spread over a large forested area of Hamilton and the City of Hamilton Public Works, Hamilton Conservation Authority, and RGB had to aerial spray in Ancaster, Dundas,  part of the Dundas Valley, Cootes Paradise, West Hamilton, Flamboro and Glanbrook.  Yet, while hiking  this year in the Westdale Ravine, and  Cootes areas of Hamilton / Dundas , Doug and Jacqueline photographed several Gypsy Moth cocoons on various trees.

Gypsy Moth

Origin: The invasion on the Hamilton Ecosystem evolved from Europe and Asia.  In 1869 the Gypsy Moth was accidentally introduced near Boston, U.S.A. by E. Leopoid Trouvelot.  Ten years later the first  outbreak occurred in his neighbourhood.  In 1890 both the MA State and Federal Government began their attempt to eradicate the Gypsy Moth.  It failed !  Since that time the Gypsy Moth spread and every year isolated populations are discovered. Looking at the word eco (oikas) in Greek means home.  And, Ecology  is a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environment.  So, our ecosystem is put at risk (or, upset)  with the spread of Gypsy Moths.
By J Darby
Doug Worrall Photographer

Wings Of Paradise Harbourfront Trail Hamilton

Wings Of Paradise Harbourfront Trail Hamilton

TUESDAY September 6th 2010

By Jacqueline Darby


Doug Worrall

Wings Of Paradise


I  serendipitously  discovered this little gem while Ebiking in Cootes Paradise Marsh. The Entomologists of Canada are making new discoveries.  For example, Paul Herbert at the University of Guelph is leading a research group which is attempting to identify all Lepidoptera Species through a segment of their DNAGlobal DNA BARCODING the world fauna of the Sphindidae family (blackmoths) was initiated in August 2,006 as one of the first campaigns of Lepidoptera.  The massive amount of newly generated GENETIC DATA represents a valuable source of information that incorporates other sets of characteristics, making it possible to address many TAXONOMIC questions, synonymies, and revealing many new cases overlooked or cryptic diversity.  There are 1,400 species of black-moths and they are the major pollinators of flowers.  There is a poisonous caterpillar, the large green meta-morphing into a blackmoth in Southern Ontario that has to date not been identified.
Now let’s look at Trees.  I love the forest variety of trees.  One that has fascinated  me is the “Almond Tree” with its Hebrew name meaning “to be wakeful.” or “to hasten” because it blossoms in the Spring and bears fruit two months later.  And, when flowering, the Almond Tree is like an old man with his white locks.  The Weeping Willow Tree has long branches that sway  gracefully in the wind that seldom withers  until Autumn in Canada.   In Israel they used to hang their harps on the Weeping Willow Tree.  In the vagaries of nature there are things that harm trees.  For example the Forest Tent Caterpillar can make a walk in the woods an ordeal, and, at at the high end of its cycle, kill Sugar Maple Trees.  And, the harm done by the Eastern Branch of Forest Tent  Caterpillars is most aesthetic.  And, they are dangerous because when it is on the Cherry Tree ( as  in the Lilac Gardens of RGB in Burlington) the Forest Tent Caterpillar secrets CYANIDE (poison) from the cherry leaves and spits it up when disturbed.  This caterpillar is interesting to study as the broad side of it always faces southeast in direct alignment with the morning sun.  It depends on sunshine  and heat and builds caterpillar condominiums.  They spin silk that follows it wherever it goes, but its a CHEMICAL TRAIL that is like laying sticks on a trail  when hiking to find your way back .  Their food source is new leaves. They eat tree buds that  begin to open and it builds mats, not tents as it moves through the forest.  In Hamilton area, a moth of concern in recent years has been the GYPSY MOTH which eats the leaves of our trees and weakens them.  If you are hiking, for example, on the Ginger Trail of the South Trail in  Cootes Paradise Marsh you will see some cocoons with Gypsy moths forming inside.  But, on the other hand, there are many beautiful butterflies that evolve from caterpillars.  The most impressive is the lovely orange Monarch Butterfly.  What is fascinating about the Monarch is its migration to Mexico from Canada each year.

Gypsy Moth

Now looking into the lens of the camera as a Nature Photographer – how am I going to get the best-image for people to see ?   Doug says,  first of all I notice an actual face on this little creature, and the white circles on its side.  There I want to accentuate with the multitude of hair that surrounds this caterpillar.  So using depth of field the photograph will appear sharp.  It can be either deep with these items on the caterpillar in focus, or shallow.  And when shooting, the depth of field is influenced by aperture, focusing distance, and focal length of the lens, and the size of the or film frame.  There is another option to consider: the depth of focus which refers to the image plane projected through the lens onto the camera’s sensor (or film plane) that will produce an adequately sharp image.  As with depth field, the depth of focus also increases with smaller apertures.  Doug  then visualizes his photo subject, like this unusual caterpillar, and sees the wider photographic process and then decides which is the better method to use – depth of field or depth of focus before he snaps the photo.  After all, it is the sharpest, or best focused image that will be presented in  creative images of photography.