Friday, July 20, 2018

Recent Happenings

We are getting into the dog days of summer, so to speak.  I have been getting in some walks, including today.  However, just like clockwork, the weather went for a crap for the weekend this afternoon.  At least we had three weekends (the only ones this year) in a row with nice weather.
I was off work early, and just got out for a walk at Reid CA, then it quickly started raining.  I thought I had time for a walk, but I was surprised just how fast the rain came.

I did manage to see at least two Dukes' Skippers in the sedge areas.

Mosquitoes nearly carried me away.  Between those and the ticks this summer, it has been a battle!

Eastern Comma

I have not seen many shorebirds yet this summer, but due to the high water levels, habitat is at a premium.  This weekend I hope to come across some shorebirds.

I recently took the plunge and signed up for iNaturalist, a community-based  website that one can post sightings of anything in nature.  You have to have a photo, and others will comment on it either positive or negative.

I do not intend to use to the extent other fellow naturalists do, but it is a good way to get feedback on your sightings.
Some of those Dukes/Dion skippers can be tough especially if one does not get a good look at the upper sides of the wings.  I recently posted a photo of one on the Ojibway count which I suspected to be Dion, and sure enough others agreed.

Will see what happens this weekend...........(boat show in Sarnia Bay this weekend)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dukes of Lambton

Today I stayed in south Lambton looking more for insects than anything else.  I was scheduled to check out some private property later in the morning, so I wandered around.
Time of day seems to be important in finding certain things such as dragonflies.  I first stopped at McKeough CA and looked for Flag-tailed Spinylegs.  It was just too early in the day.
I next drove around a bit and found out that the field where I found Dickcissels earlier had been cut.  That means Bobolinks, meadowlarks and other birds were affected as well.  The few spots left for these birds are still a lost cause!
Another stop was Moore WMA.  The Solitary Sandpiper from Thursday was still present.

I wandered back a ways into territory I used to check out frequently.

Compass plant

There are trails that go way back and it was always interesting for butterflies, especially hairstreaks.
In my brief visit, I did find a Hickory and a couple of Banded.

No emeralds were seen in the little creek, but perhaps it was too early in the day.

Delaware Skipper

I worked my way to NW of Brigden where I stopped into the Buchanan property.  The main goal was to check out some sedge areas where skippers were being seen.

Broad-winged Skipper
Last year it was suspected that Dukes' Skippers were living here, but not confirmed.  We first checked the larger sedge area and I found several Broad-winged Skippers on the wing.  Not one settled down for a photo!

While there, one or two other skippers briefly nectared on the Swamp Milkweed.  They strongly looked like Dukes', but with the possibility of the similar-looking Dion being present, I was not 100% convinced.

However, there are things to look for which can separate the two species fairly easily. I have seen only a couple of the more common Dion Skippers over the years, but I have seen lots of Dukes'!

Later we went to a smaller sedge area (quite some distance from the other) in which I remarked that it was perfect for Dukes' Skippers.  Nobody had ever seen anything at this spot before.  At first nothing was seen, but then a couple of large skippers flew by.  I waited for a long time and finally one landed briefly.  I was certain it was a Dukes', but it was not there long enough to take a photo.  As with birds, I take a good look first before wasting time setting up the camera.

We went back to the first sedge area and I caught another photo of one of the skippers.

It certainly looked like Dukes'.
I tend to be too cautious about some things, so I sent photos to someone to examine.  Hands down these sedge skippers were Dukes'.  This is a NEW location for them in Lambton County! (The Reid CA location was new in 2008).

While there we saw other butterflies including a nice Striped Hairstreak.

And, lots of Appalachian Browns.

On the way home I stopped by McKeough CA once again and finally was able to see a few Flag-tailed Spinylegs in their usual spot.

I also stopped in nearby Reid CA and saw a couple of Dukes' Skippers there to round out the day. This one may be a Dion though.  I have seen lots of Dukes', but not Dion!

By this time, it was just too hot to be out!

Eastern Amberwing at McKeough