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.




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

Eastern Amberwing at McKeough

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mid-July Pelee Visit

I decided to head down to Point Pelee today since I have not been there much this year.  This time of year can be interesting for birds, but more-so for butterflies.  However, it was dismal for butterflies, as most places have been this year.  (blame it on the crappy spring weather!).
Next weekend is the BioBlitz, so I hope things pick up in that department!

On the way to Pelee, I came across a Snowy Owl atop a pole along Queen's Line just west of the road to Prairie Siding.  Although I did not stop to take a photo, I believe it is the first one I have seen in July!  There are still a number of Snowy Owls spending the summer in Southern Ontario.

I spent some time at the Tip until tourists started to arrive and scaring away the birds.  Quite a few Black Terns were on the move today, and many went by the Tip.




There is even a decent sand spit and some sand on the west side!




Lots of bonies are now showing up.  Nothing unusual mixed in with them though.  I have still not seen a Little Gull this year!



After some three hours in the park, I headed over to Hillman marsh.  I walked around the shorebird cell looking for butterflies.  It was practically void of butterflies--highly unusual for this time of year.  I suppose the drought has some bearing as well.
I did find Broad-winged Skippers in a known spot.





A Dickcissel briefly sang on the path towards the cell.  It was first reported back on July 3.

Dickcissels were singing near Camper's Cove Road as usual, as I headed east. 
My next stop was Blenheim lagoons.  We are well in the midst of shorebird migration, but there is not as much habitat yet there as last year.
The sprinklers work occasionally, so that will help.
Shorebirds included 6 Least Sandpipers, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 7 Lessers, and a Short-billed Dowitcher.


The male Lesser Scaup was still present from earlier in the summer.

On the way home I swung by the Dickcissel sites behind Canadian Tire and along Campbell Line.  Males were still singing away.