Friday, September 7, 2012

Butterflies of Holiday Beach

Hackberry Emporers can be found in late August at Holiday Beach (Aug 19th, 2012)

After work tonight, I stopped by Holiday Beach to see if any passerines or raptors were around at Holiday Beach. This is my favorite spot to go birding at this time of year, and its much closer to home than Point Pelee.

While walking towards the hawk tower tonight, I realized it was very quiet. I went to take a photo with my camera and realized that my camera was dead, no batteries or response at all. So, when I had good looks at Tennessee Warbler and Black throated Green Warblers, I had to just enjoy them with my binoculars.

At the hawk tower, it was quiet as well. It was a cloudy, wind-less day and very little was moving. I spoke to the hawk counter about how amazing it was to see giant pumps pumping water into big creek from Lake Erie. Two giant tubes, perhaps two feet in diameter were pumping water into Big Creek in preparation for duck hunting season. Two Sharp shinned Hawks flew overhead, as well as a fly-by of an Adult and Juvenile Bald Eagle. A few Green Herons were in the pond below the tower, and as usual, the call of Carolina Wrens and Belted Kingfishers filled the air.

I walked along a power-line right-of-way tonight on the way back to my car and was amazed at some of the butterflies I saw. Giant Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Common Buckeye (20), Grey Hairstreak (12), Common Checkered Skipper (1), Fiery Skipper (4), Monarchs (4). At one point, I saw a breathtaking Question Mark butterfly on the sand, gently lit with the late afternoon sunlight. I reached for my camera in vain.

Then... I saw a butterfly that I've never seen before. It was a Bronze Copper! I realized I still had my cell phone, so I tried a few bino-scoped photos but they were awful. I gave up on Bino-scoping the butterfly and slowly approached it. Eventually, I was one foot away, kneeling in front of a goldenrod plant, with two Grey Hairstreak butterflies and a Bronze Copper! They were not bothered by my presence! All three butterflies were fresh, with bright crisp colours and patterns. How exciting. Some cell-phone photos below:

Grey Hairstreak... Wish it was a White-M...

Amazing life butterfly, Bronze Copper. Photo taken with my cell phone!

I'm brand new to butterfly watching, but I don't really know if many butterfly watchers are aware of this small area at Holiday Beach. There is lush Goldenrod everywhere and butterflies are everywhere. Holiday Beach is surround by a huge swamp, has grassy areas and carolinian forest, so this mix of habitat makes this a great magnet for butterflies. 

Since I had no camera tonight, I figure I will post some photos from September 1st. I was looking for birds that day and I had walked this same right-of-way along the shore of Holiday Beach. Butterflies were everywhere, and my camera was actually working at that point. Even though these photos below are a week late, I figure I will post them as well.
Monarchs are abundant at any park along the north shore of Lake Erie

Fresh Giant Swallowtail... Ignored me while it fed on Goldenrod nectar.

Female Fiery Skipper with webworm moth

Common Buckeye... Gorgeous and abundant at Holiday Beach

As a person newer to birding, I see how other birders have taken to butterfly watching during the summer and fall season. I think that if you're reading this blog you'll agree... that nature is the greatest show on earth!

Good birding (and butterfly watching)!

PS: I couldn't help but notice that my page-view counter clicked to over 50,000 page views today! Amazing! Thanks for reading Nerdy for Birdy :-)



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