Sunday, May 28, 2017

Port Franks Birds/Butterflies

I headed in a northerly direction today.  It was a great day weather-wise (the forecast was wrong again!) and a good day for some birds and some butterflies.
I wanted to spend considerable time in the County Forest at Port Franks which is a good place for a wide variety of breeding species.  Particularly, Acadian Flycatchers and Hooded Warblers are common here.

There is a lot of forest habitat and oak savannah in this region which makes it unique.  One can only hit a few spots in any given day.

The County Forest has a network of trails with the access point at the Port Franks Community Centre.  I started out on my trek at 07:15.



I heard one Hooded Warbler early on, but it was a while before I saw/heard another.  I got the impression there were fewer Hooded Warblers here this year.

Soon I heard the first Acadian Flycatcher, then three more in quick succession.  As usual they were in the shaded forest and difficult to see and photograph.




Later on, I encountered three more Acadian Flycatchers easily detected by their loud "peet-suh" call. That made a total of seven for the day in this forest!   I was careful not to count any one twice and even back-tracked to make sure.



One area along the creek was partially open and good for birds.  Some trees had been cut down this year to open up the area.  Here I found a number of birds including a Golden-winged Warbler and a Mourning Warbler.



In the past I have found Cerulean here, but strangely, I never encountered one on this day.
I also saw an American Redstart on a nest.  It was a bit distant to try and photograph though.

Other warblers found were Black-throated Green, Pine, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Blackpoll.  The Blackpoll was the only definite migrant. The Black-throated Blue is at its southerly limit here.  During the atlas survey period, we (with the late Diane Haselmayer) did encounter a couple here during the breeding season.

Other less common breeding birds for this area included a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, and Blue-headed Vireo.



Duskywing butterflies are common in this area and several species can be encountered.  I saw a few Juvenal's before I left the forest.




Next stop was Karner Blue Sanctuary just down the road.  I found at least four species of duskywings here, including Juvenal's, Wild Indigo, Dreamy and Sleepy. Possibly Columbine was seen also as these are rather small and dark duskywings similar to Wild Indigo.

Juvenal's
Sleepy


Dreamy and Sleepy can be similar and sometimes difficult to separate.

Sleepy

Dreamy
Lupine was in bloom, sadly a symbol of the extirpated Karner Blue butterfly.



I also checked out L-Lake trail while in the area which is at the upper end of Outer Drive.  This trail was somewhat quiet today, but I did hear another Hooded Warbler.
A Blanding's Turtle was revealing itself on the little lake at the back.



There are other trails to check out, but I was getting tired by noon!





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