Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rondeau Butterfly Count July 13

Butterfly hunting got a delayed start this morning at Rondeau due to the rain.  It was one of the rare occasions that a weather forecast was fairly accurate!  Turned out to be a nice day after 11:00 a.m.
While waiting for the rain to completely stop, we took a look out Dog Beach near the SE part of the park.
A couple of years ago weather events created a unique beach formation.  It started as sort of a spit, then it closed in to form a pond.  It is now fenced off in hopes that Fowler's Toads and other wildlife use it. Another smaller pond area (pictured below) is to the north of it where some gulls, terns and shorebirds were hanging out.

A number of gulls and terns were here today.  At one point I picked out three one year old Little Gulls.  A couple took off with one remaining, but I saw another with slightly darker markings behind that one.  Often this time of year Little Gulls start showing up from parts unknown.  I only had the G16 camera today, so they were too distant for a photo.

Just before 11, the skies started clearing and we set out on south point trail.  Lots of Little Wood Satyrs were flying as well as a few others.
We found a couple of Banded Hairstreaks on some milkweed.  Here is one.

By noon, after an hour's worth of effort, we had ten species.  Things got a little better after lunch as we visited the milkweed patch I found yesterday at the old Dillon dump.

Don Pye lost in the weeds!

While fighting mosquitoes, we found a couple more Banded Hairstreaks, lots of Delaware Skippers, Eastern Tailed-Blues, Monarchs and Great Spangled Fritillaries among others.

Great-mangled Fritillary

By 3 p.m. we had enough of the mosquitoes and muggy weather.  We could have visited spots we missed in the morning, but we had 20 species in our section by that time.  A pretty good haul considering the morning weather. Normally we average around 23.


I had to retrieve my car at the south point parking lot, so Paul and I headed there.  We checked a patch of Milkweed across the road before leaving.  At one point, Paul yelled out Pipevine Swallowtail!
I managed to get some record photos.

Last time we recorded that species in our section was way back in 2001 when we had two.  Other times it was recorded on the count elsewhere were 2010 and 2012.
An awesome finish to the day!

Brenda Kulon did fairly well with sedge skippers out marsh trail getting the usual Dion, Mulberry-wing, Broad-winged.  To boot, she apparently found a Dukes' Skipper which I think will be a first record for Rondeau!

This the last butterfly count in the general area unless you go to Pelee Island at the first of August.  Apparently, yet again, there is no Point Pelee count due to lack of effort by park naturalists within (LOL!).


  1. That's why they pay the park staff the big bucks !!!!!!

    Close the visitor centre doors to the public during winter so staff inside can plan events for the year

  2. I like your Great Mangled Fritillary! And congrats on getting the Pipevine.