Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Monkeying Around

Monkey Flower

I decided to check out some local spots today, mainly for insects.  It was quite wet this morning, so I went for a walk at Peers Wetland to kill some time in the early morning light.  Four heron species were present, including Great Blue, Great Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron and the pair of Green Heron.

Next stop was McKeough.  It was still a bit early and wet, and as luck would have it, clouds rolled in.  It turned out to be mostly cloudy all morning despite the forecast.  Mosquitoes this year are certainly the worst I have ever encountered.  Although I was bundled up and had lots of repellent on, it was very uncomfortable today.
The only bird of interest was the continuing Grasshopper Sparrow at the entrance.  I decided to try McKeough a little later.
Compass-plant at McKellar

Next stop was McKellar where I could stay out in the open on the viewing platform.  Usually this is a good place for dragonflies, but they were few and far between anywhere today.

Eastern Pondhawk (f)

Down the road I stopped at Moore WMA.  The first brood of Silvery Checkerspots is almost at an end.

Silvery Checkerspot

I could not go to the 'good' area here due to the flooding river.  With all the excessive rain we have had this year, water levels are unusually high. I managed to find some Banded and Hickory Hairstreaks, but with the hoards of mosquitoes, I simply could not stay long.

Moore is one of the better spots for Striped Hairstreak.  As well, Coral is found in good numbers, but I have not seen one yet this year.

Striped Hairstreak

Also, the first Northern Pearly-Eye of the year:

Back in 2008, I found a couple of Southern (Northern Oak) Hairstreaks here at Moore as well.  The Indian Hemp has mostly died out where I had them.  2008 was an exceptional year for hairstreaks in these parts, not matched since.

Lots of this going on today!

I made a brief stop at Nicholl's Memorial Forest, Wilkesport where I found loads of Common Milkweed.  I will check that spot out some time later.

Although this spot is all a 'man-made' area, it is good for butterflies and birds.  I had several species of flycatchers here today.

I took another stab at McKeough, but did not find much.  Dragonflies were just absent today.  The high river does not help as we cannot walk along the bank.  Next week, Flag-tailed Spinylegs and Pronghorn Clubtails may be showing.

Down at Reid CA, I spent almost two hours swatting mosquitoes!  This is the best spot for hairstreaks and some other butterflies.  I saw perhaps 3 dozen Banded, several Edwards', and just about as I was going to leave, a 'Northern Oak' finally flew in.

It was rather worn, not too surprising at this stage.

It usually takes quite some patience to spot these rare hairstreaks. On Monday, Bob Curry and company managed to find two Southern Hairstreaks after some waiting.

Not long before I saw mine today at the same spot, I finally saw the first Dukes' Skipper of the year.  More to come soon!

At one point, I found a deceased Banded Hairstreak.  It was just laying on a leaf, missing part of its body.

Edwards' Hairstreak

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