Sunday, June 16, 2024

They're Baaack! And A Three Hour Tour

Hairstreaks that is.  Yesterday Banded Hairstreak was found at Point Pelee (Steve Pike), and was apparently record early by one day.  
Today, I was on an outing at Ojibway Park (down Windsor way) and we found some Banded Hairstreaks.  Really though, they are about on schedule.

After getting home early this afternoon, I headed up to Reid CA on a hunch, and after some patience, I found a Northern Oak Hairstreak!

It was a moment of celebration, since last year none were found.  For whatever reason, we could not find a single one.  I spent countless hours in hopes of seeing one last year, but to no avail.  In general, 2023 was a horrible year for hairstreaks and many other leps as well.

The Northern Oak is an early-emerging hairstreak, and today's date was pretty much on schedule and average.  However, my earliest is 13 June 2021 when I found two at Reid.  In 2022 I found one on the 15th.

This hairstreak is critically endangered in Ontario, found in only a few sites.  My discovery of the Northern Oak 'colony' at Reid in June 2008 was a first for Canada.  I also found some at Moore WMA that year as well, for a second colony.  Singles had been seen previously at Point Pelee (14 June 1999), near Black Oak Park (LaSalle, 2005), and a couple of times at Brunet Park (2009 and 2014). So there has to be some sort of colony in that area. Indeed suitable habitat (oaks) is plentiful there.

Subsequently, we found one on Walpole Island 11 July 2015 (identified by myself), and one was found by the Pye brothers at Mosa Forest (Skunk's Misery) in 2021.  There is certainly suitable habitat in both locations.

Back to today, I joined a combined Ontario Field Ornithologists/Essex County Field Naturalists outing at Ojibway Park.  Its original intent was birds, but it turned out to be a nature outing looking at all things big and small.

One could spend a whole day and more in the area checking out the natural areas, but we stuck to the Titcombe path and an adjacent trail for the morning.  It took about three hours.

There are lots of plants to look at, but spiderwort is quite abundant here.

Purple Milkweed, one of the rarer milkweeds, stuck out in a few spots.

At one of the woodland ponds, Common Bladderwort was growing.

There were numerous butterflies, and here a few:

Northern Cloudywing

Silvery Checkerspot

Hobomok Skipper

Little Glassywing

Little Wood Satyr

This duskywing was very worn, so I am not certain as to species (yet)!

It was a perfect day weatherwise and quite enjoyable with what we observed and of course the camaraderie of like-minded people.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Just Insects

 The last couple of days I have mainly been looking at insects.  Normal for this time of year!

Yesterday I was at McKeough and Reid CA. In the puddles at Reid, these long-legged flies were quite numerous.  There are many look-alikes and are in the genus Dolichopodinae, according to the ID on iNaturalist.  I saw them last year as well.  Neat little things, but difficult to photograph.

Bluets included the countless numbers of Blue-fronted.

Skimming Bluet, which seems more common than I ever thought was present as well.  Some Stream Bluets were doing their thing (not near a stream!).

The tiny Fragile Forktail is easy to miss.

And its slightly larger cousin, the Eastern Forktail.

I came across one Pronghorn Clubtail at Reid.  They are more numerous at McKeough though.

Just before finishing my walk, I came across a female Slaty Skimmer.  I did not clue in as to species at first, but after a year, one gets rusty!  I think males are nicer though.

The Slaty's are not all that numerous around here.

This lacewing Chrysopa oculata (probably) caught my eye at one point.

Here is a female Common Whitetail.

There were not many butterflies, but European Skippers are quite plentiful right now.

Up at McKeough, I did not see much, but came across at least four Pronghorn Clubtails.  This is a reliable place for them each year.

Today I headed to south Chatham-Kent, and into Elgin and Middlesex.  I killed some time first thing at Keith McLean C. L.  Some shorebirds are still moving north including the semi's (plover and sandpiper).

Semipalmated Sandpiper

I then headed over to Clear Creek and checked out the old quarry.  I was still a bit early in the day, so did not see much.

I saw some Azure Bluets.

One or two Violet Dancers were flying but for some reason, the camera did not want to focus!

Not sure what to do next, I just decided Wardsville Woods was the best option.  It was good and warm by the time I arrived, but oddly there was not much in the way of odonates.

However, early on, a single clubtail made the day.  I spotted a Riverine Clubtail--a rarity indeed!

It was only a couple of years ago these were discovered here, the furthest south record.

It was downhill from there, as I could not find many other odes.  A couple of Midland Clubtails, and other common creatures.

Violet Dancer

A few butterflies included an American Lady.

At home this afternoon, I looked at the garden.  Plants are starting to flower, so insects are attracted.  A couple of new ones for the yard list were tallied.  However, they are European imports!

Eurasian Drone Fly

Oblong Woolcarder Bee

This one is native, but a member of the square-headed wasps.  There are many look-alikes, so not sure on specific species.  I saw it last year as well.


That is it for now....

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Scenes of Late and Dickcissel Arrival

 Lately, many of us have been roaming around to see what we can find for the breeding bird atlas.  'Tis the season!  I have not found anything new in my area, but as time goes on it gets more difficult to upgrade breeding codes.  One can only cover a small fraction of the territory.

Monday I drove around the Port Lambton-Sombra area for my "half" square.  It includes the lagoons of both villages, but I did not venture into them.  It is a "process" to get legal access to them and I did not want to be bothered with that this year.

I stopped by Reid CA after the drive.  I saw those flies again.  Only thing I can come up with is a type of bog fly.  Nobody can ID them on iNaturalist it seems.

Common everywhere, are Narrow-headed Marsh Flies.

A few butterflies were flying, including this Tiger Swallowtail.

Tuesday I needed a long walk, so the best option was to go to Rondeau.  I did a beach walk, starting at the light beacon area, all the way out south beach.  There was hardly a thing flying on the lake, and the only things swimming were a couple of Common Loons.

It was a nice calm and clear day, so it was enjoyable.

I did not see any shorebirds until I got well out south beach.  There were lots of Semipalmated Sandpipers (62), Semipalmated Plovers (8), a Sanderling, and a White-rumped Sandpiper.  There were even four rather late Least Sandpipers.

A single Black-bellied Plover was a tardy individual.

The only ducks were two Mallards, two Red-breasted Mergansers and this impaled duck.

We will be seeing fall migrants soon.....unfortunately!

For mussels, there were lots of Fatmucket as usual, but I picked out a couple of the rarer types.

Wabash Pigtoe

Eastern Pondmussel

After the long walk at Rondeau, I stopped by Keith McLean Conservation Lands.  Nothing of note, except this American Coot seemed lonely.

Wednesday, I stayed fairly close to home and checked out more things for the bird atlas.  I walked along the diversion channel from McKeough to highway 40 first thing.  Seemed a bit quiet to me, and certainly not as many Orchard Orioles as usual for example.

I went to Reid CA as well for a bit, but nothing to photograph!

I rolled by the Sombra Solar Farm as well. The Western Meadowlark was still present, but will not likely stay.  That afternoon, apparently, the grass was cut.  Unfortunately that meant lots of nesting birds were destroyed.  Some rural landowners have to do what they have to do, but are oblivious to the wildlife they are killing off.

In the afternoon, I drove out to Port Lambton to check the pond at Brander Park.  Some Eastern Amberwings were flying, as well as Skimming Bluets.

Soon, I will have to check for the rarer Westfall's Slender Bluets there!

Things are starting to bloom in the garden, so I will be checking for insects.  This bee is a new one as far as I can tell.

Patchwork Leafcutter Bee

And, common things such as Bi-colored Sweat Bee.

Today I needed to go farther afield and ended up at Hillman Marsh for a long walk.  Seemed a bit on the quiet side to me.  As always, I keep an eye out for insects.

Halloween Pennant


Skimming Bluet

It was still early when I finished, so headed over to Point Pelee.  I did not stay long, but walked to the Tip.  American White Pelicans are getting rather common there anymore!  There were at least 60 upon my arrival--the most I have ever seen there at one time.

It is a good time of year for a rare gull, such as Black-headed.  I have seen two!  However, no appearance today.

I was hoping to see lots of insects, but they were rather few (again!).

Blue Dasher (female)

While there, word came out about some Dickcissels near Fletcher.  That was perfect since I would be going home that way!

We had just talked about Dickcissels yesterday and how they have been absent so far.  There are lots Michigan and westward, but not in Ontario.  Perhaps things will change soon, depending on weather and breeding success out there.

Two birds were singing upon my arrival at the specified location.  Not close though, but good enough to see and hear.