Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Black Barred Camel-cart

I noticed this gorgeous Camel-cart crouched at the side of the road near the site of the future Ferguson Fields Farm Market in Courtenay, British Columbia.

A creature that prefers the quiet solitude of open fields, it seemed confused by the constant rushing traffic nearby on the Dyke Road. Another good argument for wildlife fencing along this stretch of the bypass.

Black Barred Camel-cart
near the Courtenay Estuary, BC.
This Black Barred Camel-cart must have been a recently arrived female as it was in fresh breeding colours. In the distance I could hear a male camel-cart thrashing through the new grass in an effort to entice it closer. I can only hope that it made its way from the danger of the nearby road to the safety of the fields.

Look for this delightful cart in any urban area bordered by farmland. Creatures of open spaces, their habitat is slowly being encroached upon by urban sprawl.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Greater Gray Roller

I took a drive up to Campbell River, British Columbia this week and I thought I'd spend some time scouting for wild carts on the back streets of Campbelton on the northern edge of town. It's an area with some light industry, a few big box stores nearby, and plenty of empty lots and back alleys. In other words, prime cart hunting habitat.

Carts tend to be solitary macro-invertebrates so it took me a while before I spotted this Greater Gray Roller.

A Greater Gray Roller attempting to
blend in with its surroundings.
This wild cart is in the same genus as the Common Blue Roller but it's a larger, more imposing looking cart. Like the Common Blue, it is a predator but rather than waiting and ambushing prey it actively stalks it. And like the Common Blue, it is also an introduced species on Vancouver Island.

Some caution is required when viewing this large cart but during the day it is fairly easy to intimidate. Once confronted it will often wheel away into a side street or tuck behind a dumpster until the threat has moved on.

The large Greater Gray Roller - note the distinct
blue markings including a bright throat patch and blue tassels.
It is at night when Greater Gray Roller is more active that you are the most vulnerable - listen carefully for the tell-tale squeak of its front wheels if you happen to be roaming narrow side streets which are its preferred habitat.

Large and powerful, the striking blue throat patch, blue bar and tassels contrast with the dull gray of the body. This cart is easily separated from other less aggressive carts by its size and behaviour.

A gorgeous find and well worth the drive north to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Green-throated Gray Wobbler

Green-throated Gray Wobbler
A gorgeous Green-throated Gray Wobbler in prime breeding colours seen in Courtenay, British Columbia, this week. More active after a sudden rainfall, this delightful cart is sure to bring a fresh smile to your face.

Listen for the melodious warble as this wild cart wanders its solitary way along the quiet roads of the suburbs and attempts to attract a mate. A sure sign that spring has finally arrived on the west coast!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue-banded Silver Spinner

The Blue-banded Silver Spinner - only the second
individual that I've seen in Courtenay, BC.
Blue-banded Silver Spinner - approach with caution. Back away slowly if charged. This cart is highly unpredictable, especially if backed into a corner. Read more about this intriguing predator.