Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Skippers in the Sedges

Although the day was uncomfortably muggy and hot, I stopped by Reid CA after work today rather than rush home to take advantage of the AC.  A few butterflies were out, but I was particularly interested in some sedge skippers.  Towards the middle of July, Dukes' and Dion Skippers are flying, at least in this area.  Reid has both as well as another sedge skipper, the Broad-winged.  The Dukes' and Dion overlap to some degree in habitat there, but the Broad-winged is in another location on the property.  I did not search out Broad-winged today.

I found three or four that were likely Dukes' Skippers.  They look much like Dion but the ray on the underside is more pronounced and the upperside is rather dark.  I only saw the underwing of today's individuals.

Broad-winged Skipper

Reid is a remarkable place for a variety of butterflies since it was back in 2008 I discovered the colony of Southern (Northern Oak) Hairstreaks.  (I also found another satellite colony some distance away!).  Dukes' Skippers were found there too (a new Lambton Co. location).  I have recorded about 53 species of butterflies on the property, and most of these are within a small area of it!

Gray Comma (fairly abundant around here) today

As we know, butterflies have been scarce this year.  Hairstreaks in this area are very much so.  Reid usually has a high percentage of hairstreaks due to the dominance of oaks and other foodplants suitable for them.  Back in 2008 it was a banner year for hairstreaks as clusters of them covered milkweed flowers.  Milkweed is very abundant this year but try to find a hairstreak!

(not a Reid hairstreak!)

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