Saturday, September 21, 2019

Newport News

Sunrise over Lake Erie

Today I started at Rondeau.  It was way too warm for this time of year, hence not a lot of birds to see.  I did take a look at the lake at dog beach, but not much was moving....yet again.  There was a good selection of warblers at the end of Lakeshore Road to keep up my interest.

Yesterday was  bit better with a good number of passerines with a few decent "pockets" of warblers and vireos.

I checked the goldenrods near marsh trail and found a Fiery Skipper.

I checked out McLean's on Friday as well.  Some shorebirds were on the flooded field.  There were three dowitchers, and at least two of them were Short-billed.  I did not have a scope at the time.

Three dowitchers were beside the road today, which appeared to be Long-billed.

Bronze Coppers are plentiful right now.

The highlight today was near Wardsville to tour the Newport Forest.  It is a 45 ha "closed" property owned by Thames Talbot Land Trust TTLT) that borders on the Thames River.  It is not open to the public, so only guided tours or special permission is required.  A joint outing of Lambton Wildlife and Sydenham Field Naturalists was in the offing today.

Here is a layout taken from the TTLT site:

It is actually a fabulous place and we spent at least three hours there.  There are many uncommon plants there such Virginia Bluebells and Green Dragon, as well as Wingstem.

Wingstem is very common there and was well past its prime.  

The other two aforementioned plants bloom in the spring.  We did manage to find a withered Green Dragon though, a plant similar to Jack in the Pulpit, along with some of its bright red berries.

The trail parallels the river at one point.  

I had in mind that rubyspots would be there, and sure enough I spotted some across the river!  I suspect both American and Smokey are here, but it was a bit difficult to tell from the distance.

They were resting on the logs across the river.

A good selection of trees are here including Blue Ash, Hackberry, hickories and elms.  We looked at a large American Elm which obviously has beaten the Dutch Elm disease.

Slippery Elm is here as well.

The entrance goes through an abandoned field rich with asters and goldenrods.

Heath's aster
Smooth Blue Aster
Lance-leaved Aster
Flat-topped (Grass-leaved) Goldenrod

Some common butterflies were seen and even a Common Buckeye.

It was a pleasant walk through the property on a nice day!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Some Recent Winged Things

Thought I would get up a blog post, but nothing too interesting has happened lately so there is little subject matter.  The days are getting too short!
Looks like it is shaping up to be an interesting late summer and fall for butterflies after a dismal spring and summer.  Some rarities or uncommon leps have been reported, especially at Point Pelee.  A White-M Hairstreak was seen last week, some Little Yellows, Pipevine Swallowtail and today, Variegated Fritillaries.

Variegated from the past
White-M from the past

I went to Point Pelee yesterday, but more for birds.  Turned out to be better for butterflies though!  Goes to show how unreliable weather forecasts are anymore! They constantly change.
There was nothing noteworthy in birds at the Tip.  I miss those days of good "Tip Watches"!  Been a long time since I have experienced one.
I checked out west beach trail.  Some Fiery Skippers were seen.

There were a few American Snouts here and there.

Common Painted-Lady was everywhere.  On the way home some roads were littered with them.  I saw only one American Lady.

American Painted-Lady
Common Painted-Lady

A quick check of Hillman Marsh shorebird cell area revealed a few Common Checkered-Skippers.

As everyone knows, Monarchs are having a tremendous year.  There are hundreds everywhere.  A few days ago, there was one every two minutes going through my yard late afternoon.

Today, Saturday, turned out to be a beautiful day.  I met up with Steve Charbonneau at Rondeau Park.  We checked out south point trail and found a good variety of birds, especially warblers.  We also checked a bit of Harrison south of maintenance where we found an excellent pocket of warblers.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Hardly any thrushes today.  Some like feeding high in Sassafras trees though1

We stopped by McLean CA as well.  There were fewer birds this week, but some Soras are still skooting around.  Common Gallinules did well there this year.  I counted 19 today.

On the mudflat, only a few shorebirds were present including a Long-billed Dowitcher in company with two Short-billed.

I stopped by Blenheim lagoons as well.  Most shorebirds were in the middle cell.  Nothing new though.  Lots of yellowlegs--Lesser, Medium and Greater.

My spidy-sense says that one of these days soon, something really good will show up.  Unlike last summer, there was little in the way of rarities this year.