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


  1. Looks like you had a fabulous whirlwind trip......some excellent photos too. Well done, Blake!

  2. We just missed you again this year at MacGregor Point! We left on Sunday. Such a great place to go this time of the year. How were the birds in the park? I didn't hear any Whip-poor-wills and very few Hermit Thrushes compared to the same time last year but I guess that's birding!

  3. Blake,
    A nice variety of leps for sure. The Dorcas Copper and Aphrodite Fritillary are excellent finds! Great to hear that the Plovers are finding more habitat along lake Huron as well. -DM