Sunday, June 28, 2020

Many Meanderings

Saturday started out a bit gloomy.  There was sun in Wallaceburg first thing, but clouds to the north and south as I headed down to Rondeau.  I walked around the park a bit, but nothing of note appeared.  The Prothonotary Warblers were on Tulip Tree trail as usual.  One was preening.



I stopped by Keith McLean C.L.  We are in the midst of fall migration for shorebirds..already!  Some fall migrants have shown up recently.  I did not brave walking out on the mud though.  A Lesser Yellowlegs got up at one point.

Along the causeway, I noticed a bird carcass (actually two!) as I headed north.  As usual, somone was  tailgating me, so I had to go ahead and turn back.  I thought it looked like a Least Bittern and sure enough it was.  It had been freshly hit as it was still breathing, but would not last much longer.  A horrible sight!



Another dead one was nearby.  Difficult to say what happened, as accidents do happen, but the way so many people drive these days who knows.

In the afternoon it turned out nice so I headed up to hairstreak headquarters.  I found four Oak Hairstreaks in short order.  One was very beaten up.





I also saw my first Wood Nymph and Appalachian Brown of the year.





Today, I had no idea what to do, but ended up going to Skunk's Misery. I spent more time there than I usually do (over three hours) looking for birds, then butterflies.
I came up with 13 Hooded Warblers, among other things.
There was not much diversity in butterflies, but Tawny Emperor stole the show today.  There were hundreds!  It was incredible to see "flocks" of them.



I saw easily close to 400--certainly the most I have ever seen.

A few Hackberry Emperors were around too.



Some Banded Hairstreaks were out and about as well.



I stopped by the Florence bridge since it was on the way home.  The river was running high so it was disappointing for odes.  Last year I saw the Dusky Dancer there among other things.  Other odes were dancing around though.

Blue-tipped Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer


Before heading home, I stopped again at hairstreak headquarters and met up with Bill Lamond.  Bill had never seen the Oak Hairstreak before, so we got on some of them.


I also found one dead one attached to an Indian Hemp flower head.


Quite a few Banded Hairstreaks were also out and about.  I even had one stop by the yard this afternoon.



A number of odes were flying.  It is actually a good place for odonates!  Racket-tailed Emerald was still around, and at one point we noticed another, but different, emerald.  It got away, but I headed off at that point.
Bill later caught it and it turned out to be a Mocha Emerald!  Although not entirely surprising, I had never identified one there before.  In the past I have seen emerald-like odes flying around, but never got on them.  I have seen them at McKeough CA a couple of concessions north from there.
I am sure Bill will not mind his photo being posted here of the Mocha Emerald.

photo by Bill Lamond 28 June 2020


It is a great time of year to be out, especially looking for insects.  Next Sunday is the Skunk's Misery butterfly count.  It will go ahead under different circumstances as one would expect.

Blue Dasher



Friday, June 26, 2020

Some Recent Lambton Sightings

I headed up to north Lambton this morning.  I like to check out that area this time of year especially for insects.  Firstly I started at Ausable River Cut CA to put in some time.  It was a bit early to see any insects.

I then headed over to L-Lake Trail and NCC trail, sometimes called Port Franks Forested Dunes.  In this area and at Pinery, it is quite evident of a large Gypsy Moth caterpiller outbreak.  Probably worst I have ever seen!  Oaks are completely defoliated.  I noticed they are even attacking Hemlocks.

Around the Hemlocks, we find Acadian Flycatchers in this area.  I came across at least five today.  They are quite numerous in the County Forest.

The NCC trail comes off the L-Lake trail and heads towards Port Franks.  There used to be a bridge at the end, but that has been gone for a long time.  I walked as far as I could before it got too wet.
Part of the trail follows a creek that winds through the County Forest.



At one point, I spotted a Cyrano Darner, which is rare in the area, and has been reported in recent weeks.  It is also seen at Pinery.  It was continually patrolling over the creek, so I could only try and take a photo.  They fly with an arched abdomen.



Other odes along the way included Slaty Skimmer.

male

female


This one I believe is a Lancet Clubtail, but could be wrong.  Not sure what else it could be.  I have not photographed one before.



Eastern Pondhawk was the most common ode, while a few Twelve-spotted Skimmers were seen.



Red-spotted Purple was the most common butterfly.



There were lots of birds, including a singing Cerulean Warbler.  I also heard a Black-throated Blue Warbler, which is an uncommon breeder in the area.



Hooded Warblers, among other species, were also heard of course.

Next stop was Ipperwash Forested Dunes and Swales.  I only walked the Cedar trail, which skirts the wetland.  There were very few odes today!
I usually come across lots of Racket-tailed Emeralds, but I only saw a single individual today.  It did not co-operate for a good photo!



Slaty-Skimmers were also noted.


Aurora Damsel


Nearer home, I stopped by Reid CA, where I found three of my favourite hairstreaks in short order.






Several Banded Hairstreaks were also out.



Yesterday, I checked McKeough for odes, but perhaps it was too late in the day. I was interested in finding Flag-tailed Spinyleg, but they are yet to come.  I did see a couple of Pronghorn Clubtails which are regular there.


Eastern Amberwing
The last couple of weeks I ahve been entertained at dusk by Eastern Screech-Owls in the backyard.  Last evening I managed to get a photo of one.


These are one of the first birds I ever remember. When I was very (very!) young, I recall them sitting on the fenceposts in the backyard at dusk!