Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bruce Beckons!

I needed to get away for a couple of days, but not too far.  Weekends are always booked in the summer, so I headed out on Sunday to check out some spots in Bruce County, with my camping base at MacGregor Point Provincial Park.
Chantry Island (note Greater Yellowlegs on rock)

The weather was good and not too many people around.  But, yesterday I decided to drive through Sauble Beach (along the beach) just for curiosity.  There had to be 15,000+ people, and it was a Monday.  I do not know what people find so fascinating about spending a day baking themselves on an over-crowded beach!!??
Sunday I spent in the provincial park.  I was focused more on insects this trip since it is only July.  I found there were not a lot of butterflies up there this year either. Appalachian Browns seemed to be the most numerous.

Northern Pearly-eyes were mixed in as well as the odd Eyed Brown.

Skippers were scarce, but there were lots of Northern Broken-Dash and some Delaware.

Other butterflies included Canadian Tiger Swallowtail and White Admiral  This is an overlap zone as I have had Eastern Tiger swallowtail and Red-spotted Purple there.

The only White Admiral LOL!

A numbers of fritillaries including Great Spangled were flying.  I think I saw Aphrodite as well, but these things had too much energy and did not perch for any length of time.

I did find quite a number of Tawny-edged Skippers especially up at Dorcas Bay.

Yesterday (Monday) I visited one of my favourite spots--Dorcas Bay.  Always lots of wildlife and plants to look at.  I was hoping to get Dorcas Copper, but it is getting late I think.  I did not find any there, but I found a Coral Hairstreak, one I did not really expect.

There is a trail just in from the shoreline there that leads to the alvar, and you can walk back along the beach.  Also a trail that serves as an access road is good farther in. (see Google photo below).  Actually I found loads of butterflies there including an Atlantis Fritillary.

Peck's and Long Dash also had me interested.

I have been visiting this place for at least 20 years as it used to be a nature reserve of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.  I have always been fascinated by this place!  (Especially with a Great Gray Owl in early July).  There used to be another trail between the access road and the shoreline that followed an old hydro line corridor.  It was always good for finding Massasauga Rattlesnakes.

Yesterday I stopped at various places including the new trail system at the Lindsay Tract.  Nothing special there, but a network of trails go through the woods and skirt a wetland.

I stopped at another favourite spot, Petrel Point, which is a nature reserve of Ontario Nature.  Some rare plants are here.  A couple of years ago I happened to meet Joe Johnston from Wiarton there who is knowledgeable about plants on the Bruce.
I saw a couple of plants that were interesting.
Horned Bladderwort


Well, here I finally found Dorcas Copper.  I saw three or four, somewhat worn individuals.  The Purplish Copper is similar, but I would assume this is a female Dorcas.

More Peck's and Tawny-edged were here.  This worn tawny on pitcher plant leaves was interesting.

And by the way, a family of Merlins was making a lot of noise nearby!

Next stop was Isaac Lake wildlife area.  It was ten years ago I last was there while doing a big day in May on the Bruce.  It sure has filled in since then!  No photos there.

There are a multitude of spots to look for birds on the peninsula--many of which I did not know about until I did that Big Day with a friend.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (MacGregor Point is one of the most northerly confirmed breeding spots)

Back at MacGregor Point, it was dead calm last evening. While walking along the shoreline near the visitor centre, I was somewhat surprised to find a Common Buckeye since they are scarce this year.

It was nice to hear Hermit Thrushes and others singing at the campsite.  I heard Whip-poor-wills at dawn and dusk both days.  Unfortunately, no owls!

More things tomorrow... inc. dragonflies!

Sunset July 21

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