Saturday, June 22, 2024

More Insects, Valves and a Gold(en) Medal Find

 Needless to say, it has been a scorching-hot week and it has been too uncomfortable to be out past noon.  Once again, the Wallaceburg area received way too much rain!  I saw places flooded that were not before!  As a result, activities have been limited.

Been checking local spots and finding the usual things.  No sign of any hairstreaks at Reid CA or elsewhere after last Sunday.  It might be another bad year for hairstreaks, but we will see.

Pronghorn Clubtails have been doing well, especially at McKeough.  Multiple individuals.

Butterflies have been scarce, it appears.

Eastern tailed-Blue

Delaware Skipper

This morning I went for a walk at McKeough before it got too hot.  Not much to see, but I lucked out and found a Baltimore Checkerspot!

I have had them before at this location, but not for a few years.  And, they are indeed scarce in our area.

I then took a few steps, and came across a Common Buckeye.  I completely missed this species last year.

I checked Brander Park, Port Lambton again a couple of days ago but no luck in finding anything decent.

Skimming Bluet

I noticed a bluet coming out of nymph stage at one point.

Yesterday I headed up to Port Franks and area.  There was a reason!  To kill some time at first, I stopped by Ausable River Cut CA.  It was too early for many odes, but I looked for some mussels.  Not much variety, but here are some of the less common types.

Wabash Pigtoe



This bluet was quite familiar.

I also walked Karner Blue Sanctuary to put in more time before heading to a unique spot.

Calico Pennant (F)

Destination was the Sandrin Tract at Northville, which is part of the Lambton Heritage Forest complex.  I had never been there before, and it is actually a fabulous place with an extensive network of trails.

In the middle is an old sand extraction area which has some ponds.  The previous day Darrell Parsons found an apparent Golden-winged Skimmer.  This is a species never before seen in Canada, and is common in the south-east United States.  It extends up the east coast and inland.  There is only one record for Michigan.

There is no doubt as to the ID!  Needham's Skimmer is very similar, but has a more restricted range and has subtle differences to the Golden-winged.

I arrived at the trail entrance off Port Frank's Road and followed it, not knowing where I was going.  Eventually, it came to an open sandy area with some small ponds.  I then knew I was at the spot.

There were lots of odonates flying, including a couple of obvious Comet Darners.

This is the earliest I have seen a Comet Darner.  Usually it is into July at the other known sites!

I also found a spreadwing, which is apparently a Southern.  These are another rarity!

After only ten minutes, I spotted the Golden-winged Skimmer.  It was quite obvious!  It eventually went to perch and stayed there for over half an hour.

I really had doubts that I would see this skimmer, but it was certainly a treat to find it right away!

Another skimmer, but common, was the Twelve-spotted.

A number of other things were flying including Carolina Saddlebags, somewhat uncommon here.

This is an incredible spot with so many rarities!  Other things seen here by others include Citrine Forktail and Mocha Emerald. It is certainly worth another visit soon!

On the way home, I stopped for a lunch break at Marthaville Habitat near Petrolia.  It is a good place for odes, but it was once again, getting too hot to linger.  I always see Slaty Skimmer here.

This morning, I started at Mitchell's Bay and walked the south trail.  It was quite birdy, but with the common stuff.

A couple of bluets here included Tule and Skimming.

I then headed up to McKeough (as mentioned above) then to Moore WMA.  Moore was quite miserable as it is so grown-in anymore and of course it was wet with the recent rain.  The hot and humid weather made things more miserable!

There was not much flying (except mosquitoes), but the usual Blue-tipped Dancers were seen.

Not much in the way of mussels (valves), as the water level was a bit high.


This afternoon I checked the garden for different insects again.  Here are a couple of new ones.

Bellflower Resin Bee

Louis's Club-horned Cuckoo Wasp (possibly)

And of course, the common and very tiny Margined Calligrapher.

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