Monday, July 4, 2022

Skunk's Misery Butterfly Count July 3

 Yesterday, a number of us diehards participated in the Skunk's Misery butterfly count.  As expected, butterflies were rather sparse but we beat the bushes in any case!

I did my usual route starting on the west end of Centreville Drive.  It was a bit overcast to start, not helping matters, but eventually the sun came out and things picked up.

I ended up with 29 species by the end of the day (I also check out the NW part of the circle in the afternoon).  My highlight was a surprise, when I found a Dion Skipper in a sedge patch along Centreville.  It was a new one for me on the count!



Eastern Commas were by far the most common species on my route.


I eventually found a Grey Comma later in the afternoon, which was the only one for the count.

Hairstreaks were quite scarce compared to last year.

Striped Hairstreak

I found three Compton Tortoiseshells in the afternoon. A nice-looking butterfly!



I looked at other things, of course!

At the county line along Watterworth, there were very little wet areas left, but a single Great Blue Skimmer was patrolling one spot.



One of my good spots in the past (but not this year!) was at the boat launch near Aughrim.  I  looked more at odes than anything.

There were quite a few Stream Bluets here, as well as Blue-fronted Dancers.  Some Blue-tipped Dancers were visible too.

Blue-tipped Dancer

Before heading to the BBQ and roundup, I checked my favourite trail off Sassafras Road.  I know that was not checked, at least well in from the road.  There is a little creek here I like to check for odonates.  I found a few Great Blue Skimmers.  Although rather plain-looking, they are an impressive dragonfly.



We met at the end of the day at the Prieksaitis place south of Rodney as usual, but this was the first time in three years for obvious reasons.  It was nice to be back to normal and meet with like-minded naturalists!

Before we had dinner, Silver the cat found us a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar!



The count ended up at 49 species, which was not too shabby.  Numbers were low in each though.

Next butterfly count is Rondeau, this coming Sunday.  The last few years have been mediocre, so one can only hope something of interest shows, and the weather co-operates.

I found lots of Michigan Lilly yesterday


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Canada Day Weekend Wanderings

 Time is passing by quickly, but I am making best use of my time.  I stopped by Reid CA late Wednesday and found six Oak Hairstreaks in short order.  A seventh was an eyeopener!  

Sometimes we get aberrant butterflies, and this Oak Hairstreak took the cake.



Some others:






I am finding very few Banded Hairstreaks this year so far.

Friday I headed down to Keith McLean C. L. first thing to see what shorebirds were in the fall swing.

Some Least, a White-rumped, a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs and two Short-billed Dowitchers were in.

SBD's


I moved on east to Clear Creek where I checked out the old quarry.  The usual insects were found.

Calico Pennant

Variable Dancer

Hickory Hairstreak

Skimming Bluet

Delaware Skipper

Azure Bluet

Further east, I did go to John E. Pearce PP (Storey Wetland), but it was overcast at the time.  As well, the drought had things bone dry, which was not good for dragonflies.

I headed back west, and stopped in at Wardsville Woods.  I did a thorough search and found no clubtails!  The dry weather is not helping, but time is passing quickly and some insects are nearing the end of their life cycle.  Sometimes it is feast or famine, but earlier in the day seems better.

A Slaty Skimmer was nice to see at the pond.



I found a few Double-striped Bluets at the pond as well.


A couple were making more!




Today I went up to Joany's Woods in Middlesex.  I was going to go there yesterday, but it was cloudy to the north.  Turned out to be a nice day for my visit!

On my way up, I found a family of Common Ravens SW of Oil Springs.  This species is more regular in Lambton anymore, and not considered rare.  There were five birds altogether.



I walked the trail along the river, although you cannot get too close or see it well.  Several odes were found including a couple of Swift River Cruisers patrolling the Ausable, and a couple of Midland Clubtails.  Only saw one American Rubyspot.

I found this Black-shouldered Spinyleg along the trail.



Several species of bluets and dancers were along the trail.

Blue-fronted Dancer

Variable Dancer



Stream Bluet

Nothing special in birds at Joanys.

Not far south, I stopped by Fossil Road which is a good ode spot.  There were hundreds of dancers/bluets of various species, but I did find two rare species.  One was Dusky Dancer. A bit distant, so highly cropped.


There were several Blue-ringed Dancers here as well.


Very few big odes; just a couple of Midland Clubtails and Swift River Cruisers.


I stopped by Reid CA before getting home.  It was very quiet.  Dukes' Skippers are not showing yet, but should be any time.  I saw zero Oak Hairstreaks, and only four Banded.  The Oak hairstreaks are just about done for another year!

Tomorrow is the Skunk's Misery butterfly count, so we will see what transpires there.

Grey Comma



Sunday, June 26, 2022

Wardsville Woods Strikes Again and Fall Migration

 Late Friday I received word that another rare dragonfly was found at Wardsville Woods.  I was going to head that way on Saturday anyway, so the TTLT property became the main event.

Looking for odes and leps is better by mid-morning, so I killed some time at the Misery.  Nothing new in the way of birds, but it seemed quieter.

I arrived at Wardsville Woods about 08:30, certainly a bit early for dragonflies.  I walked around for a while listening to birds and I did find a few odes.  The first clubtail was a Midland.



The search was soon on for Riverine Clubtail, indeed rare in Ontario.  The previous day, Darrell Parsons found one while waiting for his buddy, Rob Tymstra.  They later found another!

The Riverine is listed as "imperiled" in Ontario, and only a few records are scattered throughout central southern-western Ontario.

Things were warming up when I encountered a couple of friends along the little creek.  They had just netted a Riverine Clubtail!



It is quite similar to the also-rare Laura's Clubtail, but I think this fits the bill.



After analysing the clubtail, we set out and throroughly searched the rest of the property for odes.  (I was there 3.5h!).  A good variety was found, but no spiketails this day.

Scott and I eventually found a couple of Cobra Clubtails up the hill at the back. (as alluded to in a previous post, these are also rare and a first for the area).





I spotted a couple of Double-striped Bluets at the pond as well.  These are uncommon, but increasing as they expand their range northward.  I only got a partial photo, but it shows the key feature, the extra little stripe.



In our travels, this cute Tree Frog was found, tucked in Cup Plant.


So, four rare odonate species for Middlesex this year, all at Wardsville Woods!

It was getting hot by noon, so I left and briefly checked a spot in the Misery for hairstreaks.  Came up empty at the location an Oak Hairstreak was found last year!  Will try again next week.


Today was dreary all morning.  The forecast was wrong again (what is new?) as the rain never came!  I did some bird atlassing along the floodway, west end, and updated the breeding evidence on some species.  Cliff Swallows were quite numerous, not to mention mosquitoes.

I drove around after that, and quickly checked on a Dickcissel site at Waubuno. Unfortunately, as usual, this field is being cut.



Stopped by Reid CA, as I cannot avoid the place!  Several Oak Hairstreaks were visible.



Northern Pearly-Eye

Being bored after this, I ended up going to Blenheim lagoons, as I wanted to stop in Blenheim for something.  Fall migration is underway! (It is fall after the 22 June anyway as far as I am concerned).

Some Least Sandpipers were in, as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs.  A Semipalmated Plover was also present....not sure how to categorize it.





Friday, June 24, 2022

Bugging and Musseling

 Today I stayed fairly local, visiting familiar haunts.  I started the day by doing some more bird atlassing north of here and walking at W. Darcy McKeough CA.  Then looking for insects and mussels!

Mosquitoes are finally getting annoying.  I did one interior point count and it was difficult to concentrate on the birds!

I checked on the situation at Reid CA and the Oak Hairtreaks are doing well.  Upon arrival I found eight.  With the hot temps, earlier in the day is better, as I found out when I went back mid-day there were few to be seen.


worn!


Some Banded Hairstreaks were seen as well.


One may have been a Hickory, but it was one of those "tweeners" that I did not get a good look at.


Next week I will be looking for Dukes' Skippers!


I then went up to Moore WMA for the first time this summer.  The Ragweed is doing well again!  Among some butterflies I saw the first Appalachian Brown of the year.


I went to the river's edge to look for mussels.  Blue-tipped Dancers are common here.


A Stream Bluet was in its usual pose.


There were not many mussels, as the river was still a bit high, but the first one was a nice Pink Heelspitter.


A few Maple Leaf and Deertoe were at the crossing, among Fragile Papershell.

Mapleleaf


Deertoe

I checked for hairstreaks, and the only one I saw was a Northern Oak!


I went back to Reid on the way home, and found the first Royal River Cruiser (my favourite) of the year.



Only two or three Oak Hairstreaks were seen in the afternoon heat.


Not too many odes today.

Pronghorn Clubtail