Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Five lined Skink and other Pelee Flora and Fauna

I've never seen a Five lined Skink before so I figured I would go to Pelee today an try my luck at finding it. I heard that they can be found on the South side of the visitor center (they like the warm bricks) and around the West Beach access paths. I think one thing that prevented me from seeing it earlier is that its size is so small. Its probably only 2" long and quickly run off the west beach access paths as you make yourself visible to them. The five lined skink is one of only five lizards that are native to Canada's geographic regions. See this site for more details: .

I walked the West Beach footpath to the tip parking lot and saw tonnes of butterflies. Most numerous today was Giant Swallowtail, Eastern tiger Swallowtail, Common Buckeye, Monarch, and singles of Hackberry Emperors and Red Spotted Purple. Summer Azure was abundant as well. There is a tonne of Common Knapweed along West Beach. This is good for the butterflies even though its a non-native species. It thrives in the dry, hot environment on the West Beach. The park wanted to remove Common Knapweed as discussed in this Windsor Star article.

Summer Azure
 Hackberry Emperor (butterfly lifer)- This actually landed on me!
 Common Buckeye
 Giant Swallowtail on Common Knapweed. Common Knapweed is abundant on the west beach...
Common Buckeye on Prickly Pear Cactus

I also kayaked the Point Pelee Marsh and headed straight to the small islands of muddy sediment that attract shorebirds. Some seen today included Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs ... and I must confess I've had a tough time identifying some of the birds. My problem with identification is the following: Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers are very close in size (6-6 1/4"), but there was a shorebird that was noticibly larger...possibly a Sanderling? Sanderlings are small, but still about 2" longer than Semipalmated Sandpipers and look very similar, at least in my interpretation of my field guides.

 Sanderling? It's more than a 1/4" bigger than the Least Sandpipers... Do Sanderlings hang out on mudflats? It was also 'running' as it chased the Least Sandpipers.
Three of these 4 shorebird photos are obvious. I have a feeling I've botched the second last photo. What looks like a Semipalmated Sanpiper but is slightly larger? Any shared identification thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. I will check out these mudflats again in August. Hopefully something good shows up!

Good birding,


1 comment:

  1. I'm afraid that southbound shorebirds are not a strong area of mine. I usually identify Sanderlings by their behaviour, but I have only seen them in Florida playing chase with the edge of the water in large groups that resemble an army of wind-up toys. Can't wait to see what other birders have to say.



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