Sunday, June 2, 2013

Birds and Leps at Skunk's Misery

I headed in a different direction today!  Did some birding (and butterflying) at Skunk's Misery with the OFO trip led by Gavin Platt.  Many of my friends were there, so a good day it was.
I have talked about Skunk's Misery before.  Many areas of Crown Land contain wet forest that is home to some uncommon Carolinian species.  Good for birds, butterflies and dragonflies!  Mosquitoes too!
The only drawback was that it was very windy today and difficult to hear singing or calling birds.  As well, there did not seem to be as many birds there as usual.
We started on a trail off Sassafras where several Chestnut-sided Warblers were singing.

A few Blue-winged Warblers were seen or heard along the way.  Black-billed Cuckoos were seen and Yellow-billed heard only.  A Green Heron put on a fine show at one point.
Down the road several Hooded Warblers observed or heard.  One male was singing a variation which had us think twice!
A check for Cerulean in several spots was a failure.  Usually this species is found there at some point.  Perhaps the strong wind did us in in trying to hear them.  Last year on the butterfly count we had them come right alongside the road.  We checked that spot, but only heard Mourning Warbler singing (one of several today).
A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers were making some noise and at one point an individual flew over the road affording good views.
We struck out on finding Acadian Flycatcher despite attempts deep in the wet woods.  We did hear one at a distance early on though. I told people they are guaranteed at Rondeau!

As the morning wore on, butterflies came out taking advantage of the sun.  Several species were seen, many of those new for the year.  There were a lot of Juvenal's Duskywings along the roadsides.

At one point I found a nice Tawny-edged Skipper.

Other butterflies:

Red-spotted Purple

Giant Swallowtail

I broke away from the group at noon and Dwayne Murphy and I headed up towards Strathroy area.  We had hoped to find Grasshopper Sparrows and Upland Sandpipers, but struck out if you can believe it.  They were all over last year, so where are they this year?  We found many spots with suitable habitat.  It is a scary thought as these species are severely declining.  They used to be regular north of Wallaceburg, but no more.  Perhaps some are still there in some nook, but I have no luck in finding them anymore!

On the way home I stopped at Moore WMA on Bickford.  A few butterflies were out including several Hobomok.  I found one dark skipper that had me wondering for a bit until I realized it was the dark female form of the Hobomok.  Although I have seen them before, it is not often we see this dark form. Rather a nice-looking lep!

Several dragonflies were out today as well, including Dusky Clubtails.

There are many other spots within the Skunk's Misery complex that one can go.  Cerulean, Golden-winged, Pine, Magnolia Warblers are out there somewhere.  Acadian Flycatcher was up near Waterworth Road today too.

1 comment:

  1. Something very strange going on this season. Point Pelee right now has ZERO passerine migrants, and many breeding residents are simply missing. Are they still to come? Or did a lot of birds get wiped out by those massive cold fronts that swept into the Gulf of Mexico this spring?