Monday, July 3, 2017

Skunk's Misery Butterflies and Birds

Yesterday July 2 was the annual Skunk's Misery butterfly count.  It was perhaps the 'slowest' one I have done with regards to butterflies.  There was a lot of milkweed on the roadsides, but virtually nothing on it.
The count tally came in at a respectable 50 species, but there were low numbers of each.

I arrived early and toured the Mosa Forest area listening for birds for the better part of an hour.  It is a great spot for uncommon birds and many other forest birds.  I counted about 6 Hooded Warblers (singing males) as well as a Cerulean.

After we gathered at the Newbury Hospital parking lot, we set out to my usual route of Centreville Drive.  This year I had Quinten and his father with me, along with Lance.

Butterflies were few and far between, but a highlight was a Compton Tortoiseshell.  They are one of the prettier butterflies.

They are somewhat uncommon, but in 2009, there were 62 recorded!

As we ended our walk on Centreville, I was worried that we had not recorded a hairstreak.  We always get some.  Just at the end, Quinten and I found a Banded on Common Milkweed.

Last year, the Skunk's count held the record for the most Banded Hairstreaks in Canada!

Tawny Emperor is common in the Mosa Forest.  We had several on Sunday.

Regarding birds, I heard a couple more Hooded Warblers that I did not detect earlier, as well as Mourning Warbler and a couple of Pine Warblers.
At one point, a Broad-winged Hawk flew over.  They nest in the area, but are uncommon as nesters this far south. See a photo on Quinten's blog.

Centreville Drive is quite diverse in wildlife.  You never know what is flying around.
Back in 2012 during the count, I found a female Great Blue Skimmer.  I think I have a photo of it, but cannot locate it currently  (will add later if found).
Here is a photo of a male Great Blue I found at Point Pelee perhaps the same year.

Back in 2008 we found a new butterfly for Middlesex County in the form of a Green Comma.  Of course Alan Wormington was right on my case (I barely got home and found an email from him!), but we were certain of our ID.  I often do not have a camera on this count, so no photo of the Green Comma unfortunately.

After lunch, we headed out to the NW section of the count circle.  Along Watterworth Road, we first stopped by an open area on Crown Land.

At this area in 2014 we had a Mocha Emeralds flying around.  Not sure why they were there since the river is some distance away, but it was a neat find.

Heading west along Mosside Road, we stopped by a favourite spot of mine along the Sydenham River.  There is some open area here where the bridge used to cross.

There was oodles of milkweed, but once again, few butterflies.  Here were found many Delaware Skippers.

And, I did see a Common Wood Nymph here which I forgot about during the tally!

The rest of the afternoon we mainly drove around.  One of the stops was at the old bridge on Cameron Road.  I like the view of the river from here.

The compilation and BBQ was held at the Prieksaitis residence south of Rodney as usual.
The weather was great and a good time was had by all.

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