Saturday, June 6, 2015

Upland Birding and Mosa Mosquitoes

It was time to check out some areas inland today, so I went to some familiar spots in Middlesex County.  Firstly, I went to Skunk's Misery, or sometimes called Mosa Forest.  This is a complex of Crown Lands consisting of dense forest mainly SW of Newbury.

Due to the habitat, there is a good variety of birds, many of which are uncommon in SW Ontario.  Hooded Warblers are plentiful, and the route I took (driving only) revealed at least ten singing males in less than an hour. Most remained unseen, but their familiar song was noticeable.
Blue-winged Warblers are found within, and Cerulean Warbler is likely around.  I could not find a Cerulean today, but I certainly hope there are a couple around.
Chestnut-sided Warblers are common and many woodland birds such as Ovenbird, Pine Warbler, Veery, Yellow-throated Vireo are numerous.
Acadian Flycatcher breeds here, but I only came across one at the Crown Land on the corner of Argyll and Watterworth Roads later on.

Needless to say, mosquitoes were plentiful, so that kept me from walking into any of the trails.  With all the rain this week, there was ample water in the woods!

I wanted to check for grassland birds up towards Strathroy as well.  First stop was Napier Road where Clay-colored Sparrow sets up shop annually among some conifer trees.  I managed to hear one singing.  Grasshopper Sparrows are in the pasture up the road from that spot and they did not disappoint.  Lots of Savannahs.

I checked pastures along McArthur Road and  Calvert Road, but saw no Upland Sandpiper.  Lots of Bobolinks and meadowlarks.  The one pasture at Calvert and Kerwood Road had Dickcissels a couple of years ago.  Perhaps some will arrive yet.


I always check Clark Wright CA near Strathroy where White-eyed Vireos nest, or at least reside annually.  Although they had been seen earlier in the week, I could not find them.  This CA is good for butterflies as well.  I saw FOY Viceroy, Common Ringlet, and Red-spotted Purple among others.


Hobomok Skippers with bee

I drove back along Walker's Line where there are some good pastures, then down McArthur.  Just before Inadale Road, I finally came across and Upland Sandpiper.  It was in its usual pose.

I headed back to Skunk's Misery in hopes of seeing butterflies and dragonflies.  I first stopped at Argyll and Watterworth Roads, a favourite spot.  There is a piece of Crown Land there that holds Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Pine Warbler, etc.

A few butterflies were out, but not many in the main Skunk's area.  I did see one Milbert's Tortoiseshell, which I think is one of the prettiest butterflies.

Common Ringlet

Milbert's Tortoiseshell

Various dragonflies were out including this clubtail.  I believe it is Midland.

I some mosaic darners (one species) but not sure what they would be at this time. That is when a net comes in handy!

Next stop was one of my go-to spots, Wardsville Woods.  It is good for butterflies most of the time.  Here I added Long Dash and Juvenal's Duskywing for the day.

A Blue-winged Warbler is here once again this year.

I also heard and saw a singing Alder Flycatcher.

Some ground work is going on at Wardsville Woods, probably for prairie plantings, so much vegetation was destroyed, hence fewer insects.

Peck's Skipper

It was a pretty good day, but I thought a lot of birds were just not there like they used to be.  I did not come across a Mourning Warbler for example, and some woodland birds seemed scarce.

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