Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Gorrie Day

(Could not think of a good title!)

It was northward bound today as the destination was a family social gathering at Gorrie (WNW of Palmerston in Huron County).  I decided to check out West Perth Wetlands on the way there, as well as Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area.

The wetlands at Mitchell were somewhat disappointing.  Water is somewhat high (again!) leaving little habitat for shorebirds.  There were quite a few Greater Yellowlegs though, about 20 Semipalmated Sandpipers (trying to find a suitable place to land), a few Least Sandpipers and a single Wilson's Snipe.

A Green Heron was on the fence, not knowing what to do.

I have been there on occasions when the shore-birding was the past.

The skies were dreary there as well as most of the way there (where was that sun from the forecast?), so that did not help the mood.
I then headed over to Hullett, and the skies started to finally clear.  This is a place I have never really checked out before, and it is huge.  I walked several spots.  The landscape  appears to be carpeted with Spotted Knapweed.  One has never really seen knapweed until you go there!

I was hoping to see some butterflies, but there were hardly any save for lots of Common Ringlets.

I had to stay in the open areas as the place was crawling with biting insects, especially mosquitoes.  It was unbearable in some spots!
Some of the trails are color-coded, so you just follow the markers.  The area mainly caters to hunters, but hikers are welcome in the off-season.

Along the green trail there is a small pond.  A single Solitary Sandpiper, true to its name, was feeding.

The last trail I walked was the orange one at the north end.  It skirts Pintail Pool.  I came across a family of 12 young Pied-billed Grebes.

At one point I heard a Great-horned Owl noon!
Here is a link to a map of Hullett.

Pintail Pool (part)

Some Sandhill Cranes were in the area, including this one noisily flying overhead.

Once again it clouded up, but a few hours later the sun finally came out.  It was not too late on the way home, so I shot over to Port Franks.  Since it is late summer, Leonard's Skippers are now out.  A good place for them is the Karner Blue Sanctuary.  I managed to get two there.

Rough Blazing Star is just coming out and there is lots in Karner Blue.  The skippers like nectaring on this flower.  It is one of the only places I know where it is abundant.

Just before I left there, I came across a nice little flock of migrant birds.  Included were Black-and-White Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler plus both nuthatches (likely resident), Scarlet Tanager and Red-eyed Vireo.
It was actually the first migrant flock of warblers I have seen this August!

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