Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mega Find at Point Pelee--Goatweed Leafwing!

A very strong SW wind was a-brewing overnight, so I headed down to Point Pelee for a Tip watch.  Many friends, LLB's, diehards, etc. came to the Tip today!  There was not a strong flight of birds, but that has often been the case this year.

Bonaparte's Gulls were a bit thin today and certainly no jaegers.  It has not been a banner year for jaegers, Sabine's Gulls, etc. this year.
A first cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull was loafing on the Tip among other gulls including a Greater Black-backed X Herring adult.

I counted over 30 Common Loons and only less than 10 Horned Grebes.  Lots of Red-breasted Mergansers were moving today, and a few other species.  Quite a few Common Goldeneye were seen today as well.

Jeremy Bensette at the Tip

After quite some time at the Tip, we (Steve Pike, Jeremy Hatt, Brock May, Jeremy Bensette) moved north.  Steve, Brock and I checked out Serengeti Tree area and found a very fresh Common Buckeye.

We moved over to Sparrow Field and noted some butterflies and dragonflies before heading up to De Laurier.  Just after arrival, Steve received a message about a strange butterfly that Jeremy Bensette could not ID.  He sent a photo and Steve recognized it as some sort of leafwing.  Whaaaat??
A race back to the Tip parking lot was in order.  We darted over to Sparrow Field to find the subject butterfly perched in a tree.

It stayed for a long time there as we gave our cameras a workout.

It was a bit high and not in the greatest position for a photo, but it later flew to the ground and essentially looked like a leaf (hence its name!).

This butterfly's usual range is Mexico through Central America to northern South America and into Texas ,The goatweed butterfly is widely distributed throughout the southern Midwest and South ranging from West Virginia to Kansas and south to Texas and Central Florida.  It can stray north on rare occasions and there are Michigan records.  There is no previous record for Canada to my knowledge.
It was worth the drive to Acton Point Pelee!!

Jeremy Hatt, Steve Pike, Brock May looking at the butterfly
While at Sparrow Field, we also saw a Cloudless Sulphur, very uncommon for Ontario.


  1. Awesome! It's unfortunate that Alan Wormington is no longer around to see it.

    1. Indeed. I believe Alan predicted that this one would should up at Pelee sometime in the near future!

  2. Congratulations, great record! Not sure how clear you were on this, but this species is actually quite common north to at least Kansas/Missouri, (!

  3. Blake a brilliant butterfly find by Jeremy and Steve. Wish I was there today. I'm amazed that Cloudless Sulphur is still around as well. -DM

    1. It is getting late for Cloudless too. Sometimes one is there at the right time!

  4. What a great find, Blake! That's amazing! As always, I love reading your blog.