Sunday, July 27, 2014

Point Pelee July 27

I ventured down to Point Pelee today to see what was around.  Butterflies were rather scarce, but Giant Swallowtail seemed to be the lep of the day.  I probably saw around 40.  They were all on the move!

There were hardly any other butterflies, but I did see my first Common Buckeyes of the year.  They have been virtually absent till now.  There was one on the Skunk's Misery count and one on the Clear Creek Count which I did not see.

I saw two at the south end of NW Beach parking lot, and three more along the beach off the old admin.

Regarding birds today, nothing much of note.  At the Tip, there were not too many gulls today and very few Bonaparte's.

Near the north end of the park is where most of the gulls congregated, as there were hundreds carpeting the beach.  This scene is looking south from old admin.  I did not pursue them, but most were Ring-billed of course.

The only shorebird at the Tip today was a lone Sanderling.  First one I have seen this summer for fall migration.

I saw some Black Terns heading south, 7 in total.  Lots of Common Terns and a few Caspian today.

Hardly any dragonflies today!

Wandering Glider near solar panel

I did not hear the Dickcissel at Hillman today, so I went by the field east of Wheatley just to hear some!

Fall is fast approaching, so we will be seeing more migrants!

Canada Warbler

Saturday, July 26, 2014

More Monkeying Around

Monkey Flower

Yesterday after work I went for a walk at Reid CA.  A variety of butterflies was around including several Dukes' Skippers.

I also found a couple of Broad-winged Skippers in another sedge area.

Hairstreaks included a couple of Banded and Edwards'.  All these butterflies are getting worn as we approach the middle of summer.

worn Banded Hairstreak

A visit to McKeough today revealed very few things. I did see a Pronghorn Clubtail, but could not get on it with the camera.  This Flag-tailed Spinyleg posed nicely.

There appeared to be a few fresh Common Painted-Lady butterflies out today. They blend in well on gravel roadways!

This Question Mark sat on the road for the longest time.

This morning, I headed down to Blenheim S.T.P. and found well over 100 shorebirds. However, nothing new!  There was one Stilt Sandpiper, 3 Short-billed Dowitchers, Pectorals, Semisands and Leasts.  The Semipalmated Sandpipers were by far the most numerous.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More Scenes From the Bruce

That dragonfly I was unsure about is a Black Meadowhawk.  It is common farther north, but rare in the south. It was certainly not one I expected and one I have not knowingly seen before.  I saw the insect and snapped a quick photo to check on later.  I often do that and sometimes it pays off!  Thanks to Bruce Ripley for suggesting the ID and Bill Lamond for confirming.

Black Meadowhawk (young male)!

The Bruce Peninsula provides endless opportunities for the naturalist.  Not only are there many spots for birding, but the botanist can have a field day (or week).  The Bruce is one of the best places in Ontario to find rare plants and orchids.  I recall in my earlier days that Dennis Rupert would talk about spending much of his time up there.  Often, he and Ross Brown would go there to observe orchids.  Ross lives in Tupperville just east of Wallaceburg and is still doing well.  He has made some significant discoveries in his lifetime with regards to orchids. Some plants are associated with his name and are mentioned in a handy identification guide that I picked up recently.

There is a series of books put out by the Owen Sound Field Naturalists that are useful.

The alvar habitats create a unique ecosystem where one can find some of these plants.

At Dorcas Bay
The Dorcas Bay was formerly owned by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and a favourite place of mine.

One of the most accessible spots is Petrel Point Nature Reserve owned by Ontario Nature.  It is located near Red Bay off Huron Road.  As a member of Ontario Nature (formerly Federation of Ontario Naturalists) I knew about this fen a long time ago.  I joined the FON in 1987 and have stopped there many times since the early 1990's.

I am not adept at identifying rare plants, so I will stick to birds and butterflies!  I photographed a few plants along my way.

Rose Pogonia

Grass Pink Orchid

Horned Bladderwort

Tall White Bog Orchid with Pitcher Plants

No Idea!

Here are some more insects.

Variable Dancers
Although I can find these damsels north of Wallaceburg along the Sydenham, I saw a bunch at a pond in MacGregor Point P. P.

Appalachian Brown out of focus

Gray Comma

Aphrodite Fritillary on Spotted Knapweed

Saw lots of those fritillaries plus some Great Spangled (and mangled!) and possibly Atlantis.

Monday eve I played with settings on the camera at sunset.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Plovers, Dragons, Leps on the Bruce

The last couple of days I spent in Bruce County.  I year ago I did a similar trip and it was time to take a couple of days off again after a couple of big jobs got completed at work last week.
Sunday morning I headed straight to Port Elgin where Piping Plovers nested on the beach.  It has been a long time since I have seen a Piping Plover.
This is a new location for them!  They are easily seen at the pier area where you can park for free.  The adult bird was accompanying four young birds.

It was neat to see them scurry around the fenced area and hearing the occasional piping sound.

I camped at MacGregor Point P. P. where I usually do.  The rest of Sunday afternoon was spent in the park looking for whatever was to be found.  The sun did not come out until around lunch time so butterflies were not moving much.
I walked around the Tower Trail first.

Chalk-fronted Corporal
Frosted Whiteface

Next was the 4 km long Lake Ridge Trail.  One area of this trail can produce a variety of butterflies.  An old field area had lots of Common Milkweed were I found several Acadian and Coral Hairstreaks among Peck's and other skippers.  I was getting worried this year not having seen an Acadian yet, but here I found some beauties.  I think the Acadian is the prettiest hairstreak!

Lots of Peck's Skippers were on this trail.

My next walk was the visitor centre area and along the lake. A boggy area near the VC can be interesting and I found some emerald dragonflies. They did not sit still for any length of time, but with the shape of the abdomen, I knew they had to be Racket-tailed Emeralds.  I had never taken note of them before.

There is a little peninsula north of the VC that has a nice edge to look for butterflies.  Here I found some Aphrodite Fritillaries, Tawny-edged Skippers and others.

Just by sheer luck, I spotted some movement on distant Swamp Milkweed.  I could not get close due to the high water this year, but it was obviously a Dorcas Copper.  Turns out that was the only one I saw this trip! Last year I got them at Petrel Point nature reserve.

highly cropped!

Coral Hairstreaks were along here too.

What a Beauty!

I saw various other dragonflies including this one which I am not sure to species.

may be another emerald?

Also this one which is probably teneral.


Monday was spent on the peninsula.  I drove The Bury Road which has some nice pastures and grasslands. Lots of Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows were there but no rarities.  Always the potential though......
I drove down Dyer's Bay Road just for fun.  Would have been nice to get back out to the Cabot Head Lighthouse, but that was just too far for this trip.  I some Sandhill Cranes here.

Dorcas Bay was on the agenda next. Obviously very heavy rain fell over the weekend as the trails were flooded!  I managed to get around though.  Butterflies were few, but one area had lots of Tawny-edged.
I spotted a Long Dash in the same spot as last year!

Dragonflies were around including this Four-spotted Skimmer.

At the fen, a couple of interesting dragonflies were flying about.  They looked like emeralds, and it took a long time for one to perch.

Oscellated Emerald

Had to look this one up, but obviously an Oscellated Emerald.  Another one I had not taken note of before!

After lunch in busy Tobermory, I worked my way back stopping at various places.  One spot was Petrel Point nature reserve which I have been visiting for over 20 years.  Just a neat spot to observe rare plants/orchids and see some insects as well.  More on the plants later.  I did see Dusky Clubtail dragonfly once again this year, but butterflies were very scarce.  An Eyed Brown was very co-operative at the trail start.

On the way home today, I stopped at Inverhuron P. P. for a walk along the rocky lakeshore.

Before lunch, I stopped at Pinery P. P.  It was obvious to me that the butterfly count last month was too early for hairstreaks this year.  First hairstreak I saw was a Striped.

I saw several Coral there today especially on Butterfly Milkweed. That milkweed is very prolific this year everywhere.  Most I have ever seen!

The only duskywing of the trip was this Wild Indigo at Pinery.

Just for curiosity, I also walked Karner Blue property.  There were several Coral there as well!

Edwards' Hairstreaks were plentiful too.  A couple of Banded were around also.

One of the nicest Edwards' I have seen!

Just for the heck of it, I stopped at Moore WMA just before getting home.  I had some Striped Hairstreaks and one Hickory.  So, this trip I managed to see all the usual hairstreaks!

Sunset MacGregor Point 21 July 2014