Sunday, July 23, 2017

Essex and Elgin and Middlesex Too

Saturday I decided to head down to Wheatley and Point Pelee.  Dickcissels were seen or heard in the usual locations along the way.

There was not much of note in Point Pelee, but the light rain at the Tip did not help matters.  I was hoping to spend some time looking for butterflies, but the usual weekend weather put a damper on things.  American Snouts seem to be plentiful this year, but none stopped for any length of time.

Azure was the most common butterfly.  They were everywhere by the hundreds and in bunches.

De Laurier Trail seemed to have the most where one could find clusters of them mainly on bird droppings.

On the way back, I stopped by Hillman marsh and walked around the shorebird cell.  By this time, the sun had come out (temporarily). Of note, I checked out the spot where I find Broad-winged Skippers.  I found about ten, but not a single one stopped flying!
This is in an area of phragmites.  Broad-winged Skippers do use this invasive plant as a host, so I guess there is one use for it.

Around the shorebird cell I found a few Common Checkered-Skippers (FOY).

Since it is shorebird time, I headed east to Blenheim to check out the lagoons.  A number of shorebirds were in plus some ducks.

Included were many Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, a Baird's, at least 5 Solitary Sandpipers, a few Lesser Yellowlegs, one Greater Yellowlegs, a few Pectoral Sandpipers, and a single Short-billed Dowitcher.  They were very skittish so I could not get anywhere near them.

Ducks included a summering Ring-necked.

I had hoped to see checkered-skippers while there, but none showed.  The excessive cutting along the ponds did not help matters.

Sunday I had the urge to go into Elgin County.  I usually check out some spots around the end of July each year.  First stop was Port Stanley lagoons.  Like many places, water was high and little edge for shorebirds was available.  The only migrant shorebird was a single Least Sandpiper!
Lots of ducks were present though, including dozens of Wood Ducks.  A single male Ring-necked Duck in eclipse was notable.

Next stop was Fingal WMA where I checked out the Ian Carmichael Pond and prairie area. The prairie area is not as nice as it used to be, but is still good.  Lots of burgemot, Gray-headed Coneflower, Virginia Mountain Mint and grasses.

Some butterflies included Dun Skipper, Northern Broken-Dash and Common Sootywing.

Dun Skipper

Common Sootywing

Southwold Earthworks, south of Iona, was very disappointing for birds and butterflies.  A few years ago, I had many species there including Meadow Fritillary and Gray Hairstreak. I did see a Common Sootywing and a Tawny-edged Skipper there today.

Down at John E. Pearce Provincial Park, I walked the Lorne Spicer Trail. Here I found some Little Glassywings.

On the way home I stopped by Wardsville Woods.  Although butterflies were few and far between (a theme this year!), I did find a couple of Wild Indigo Duskywings just before I left.

Some prairie-type plants have been planted at Wardsville Woods and are doing well with all the rain.

One demonstration area has a variety of plants with signage.

Virginia Mountain Mint


  1. Is it normal to see Azures in that number at this time of year?

    1. I have seen them in "bunches" at this time of year before. I think the timing was right yesterday for their emergence! Must be having a good year.

    2. Very cool - great pics too. Thanks!