Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Post--Mainly Insects

I did quite a bit of wandering around this weekend.  Saturday I went to Point Pelee since I had not been there is some time.  It was one of those quiet days where I did not see much.  Possibly the hot weather was a factor, but I checked things out anyway.
I went for the long walk out Shuster, down the east beach to the Tip and back up west beach trail.  There was practically nothing to see on the east side!  Little was happening with birds at the Tip.  I noticed on the drive in that hundreds of gulls were on the lake just north of the park gate, but obviously they did not go towards the Tip!
Lots of swallows at the Tip though.

There was very little beach all the way and certainly no sand at the Tip due to all the high water and winds.

Butterflies were rather scarce.  I saw the first American Painted-Lady in several weeks.

The only skippers were Dun, Northern Broken-Dash and Silver-spotted, and those tallied just a half dozen!

Robber Flies are neat little insects.

Promachus bastardii

I did come across a Banded Hairstreak.  Very worn of course.

I noted several Canada darners during the day.

Lance-tipped Darner

After lunch I went to Hillman Marsh.  Hardly any butterflies there either, lol.  However, I did come across a spot where about a half dozen Broad-winged Skippers were milling about.  As usual they did not settle down any length of time.  This one did very briefly.

Lots of Halloween Pennants were flying around this day.  The background of the pond made a good photo op.

Today we awoke to dense fog (always something on a weekend!).  I headed to Blenheim Lagoons as the fog cleared south of Chatham.  The lagoons are not overly shorebird friendly this year.  Ponds are too high and two sprinkler cells were too wet, the others too dry.  However there were some Lesser Yellowlegs, and singles of Pectoral, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers.

Spotted Sandpiper

Water levels everywhere are the highest in about 20 years, so shorebird habitat is at a premium. There are still the odd wet spots in fields though after all that excessive rain a few weeks ago.

The Tundra Swan is till present.  I guess it decided if you cannot beat 'em, join 'em, as it associates with the Canada Geese.

The female Bufflehead is still around too, looking worse for the wear.

There was nothing to see at Erieau, so I headed east to Clear Creek.  I like to check the old quarry on the north side of the road at the entrance to the forest.  It can be good for dragonflies and butterflies.  It was virtually devoid of butterflies!  A few of the common species of dragons were present.  I usually see Calico Pennant here, but not this year.  In fact I cannot find one this year.

After that exercise, I went up to Wardsville Woods.  It is a good spot to check for butterflies, but once again hardly any!  Dun Skippers were plentiful though.   Singles of this and that.

Northern Pearly-eye

This Snowberry Clearwing was checking out a Chicory flower.

I stopped briefly in Skunk's Misery and walked one trail.  Here Dun Skippers were very plentiful.  They were obviously the butterfly of the day.

A brief stop at the river on Mosside Road only revealed about 3 Royal River Cruisers.

Last stop was near home at Reid CA.  Dukes' Skippers seem to be out in full force as I had about 8 right of the bat.  They were very active today so I could not get a photo.
Broad-winged Skippers have finally shown.  I saw a couple on Friday, and about 3 or 4 today.  Once again they were very active, and I could only get this crappy photo.

I saw a couple of Striped and Banded Hairstreaks along the way as well.  Very soon there will be no more of these hairstreaks until next year.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

The weather has been great this week (too bad we do not get these days on the weekends!) and I have been going for some walks after work.  Yesterday I checked out McKeough and Reid briefly.

A couple of the McKeough specialty odes were along the river.  I have been using the Canon G16, so I was not too close to the subjects.

Floodway looking west
The McKeough Dam and Floodway was completed in 1983 to protect the Town of Wallaceburg during high water.  A controllable dam structure was built at Duthill and a diversion channel was dug to the St. Clair River just south of Sombra.  The floodway is an interesting walk.  I checked it out quite a bit during the Breeding Bird Atlas project as my squares included the floodway.  Although it (dam) has only been used no more than half a dozen times since then, it has proven worthy.

At McKeough I typically walk over to the old Calahan Road then walk through the floodway to the river.  There were hardly any butterflies, but a few odes including Flag-tailed Spinyleg and Pronghorn Clubtail were patrolling the area.

Pronghorn Clubtail

Flag-tailed Spinyleg

These often rest on the concrete along the river's edge for easy viewing.

In the floodway, the Common Milkweed is waning, but other things, native or not, are coming along.  This tall flower is Elecampane (Inula helenium).  It looks somewhat similar to some native plants but is actually an alien. (Thanks to Allen Woodliffe for helping me ID this one!).

At Reid CA, I still did not see Broad-winged Skipper, but with the hoardes of mosquitoes I did not stay long!
This Edwards' Hairstreak was nearing its end.

Royal River Cruisers were patrolling the trails during my visit.

Today I had the urge to walk Nicholl's Memorial Forest and grounds at Wilkesport.  Just into my walk, this Royal River Cruiser briefly stopped with its typical pose.

A number of other common odes were around, including this Twelve-spotted Skimmer which perched nicely on Dense Blazing Star.

There is a prairie planting at the pond area that I like to check out.  It has a number of plants including Dense Blazing Star.  It is just coming into bloom.

Compass Plant is among the mix here as well.

Yesterday morning I looked at the plantings near Port Lambton Sewage Lagoons along Pointe Line.  It is doing well with Compass Plant standing tall.

This time of year is a favourite of mine to wander these fields as many prairie type plants are coming into bloom.