Thursday, August 8, 2013

Olive Hairstreak at Point Pelee

Juniper Hairstreak at Point Pelee 
A recent posting on the Ontario Butterfly Watchers Google Group mentioned that an Olive Hairstreak was seen near the Point Pelee Visitor Center and it really got me wanting to try for it myself. I figured my chances of finding this butterfly, this late in the season was very small...Trying for it was basically a Lepidopterist's Leap of Faith. Another amazing thing about me finding this today was that I had my 1-year old son with me, so I was walking down the west beach path rockin' a stroller! Amazingly, my son simply fell asleep and did not get a single mosquito or fly bite. I think it was just too windy for either today! Upon leaving the trail, I did a quick tick check on my son, and noticed that he was covered in grass seeds. If you shook him off over some tilled dirt, you would have gotten a tall-grass prairie! Needless to say, it was very exciting to find this beautiful butterfly today. Thanks to Blake and Sarah (from PPNP) for advice on seeing this butterfly. I was looking at Junipers along West Beach but simply found this nectaring on a trail-side wildflower. I might have not seen it unless it alighted from one stem to another as I walked by.

Juniper Hairstreaks are basically restricted to two sites in all of Ontario. Point Pelee and an area near Kingston in Eastern Ontario.  This source rates the Juniper Hairstreak as S2- (Imperilled) in Ontario... So its pretty rare!

More reading:

Verde Ventral View
Other butterflies seen along west beach trail were 4-5 or so fresh, dark-form Easter Eastern Commas. Eastern Commas can be distinguished from Grey Commas by the nice mix of reddish brown colours on the underside of the wing, plus a very crisp C-shaped silver marking. Giant Swallowtails were very present as well along West Beach with about 10-12 in the first 300m south of the west beach parking lot.

Eastern Comma at Point Pelee - Dorsal and Ventral looks
A few days ago, I was butterfly watching at Ojibway and noticed two or three birds zooming by me. I was standing at the edge of a meadow, and I noticed an Eastern Wood Pewee perched. When I got home, I was happy to see another one behind it. I think this is a fledgling with its mother! Very cool to see, as I have heard that Eastern Wood Peewees, (although pretty common in eastern deciduous forests) are declining. It was nice to see a bird not feeding a brown headed cowbird as well. I've seen several such occurrences lately, particularly with chipping sparrows.
Eastern Wood Peewee - Always nice to see

Good birding!

PS: Anyone know what flower the Juniper Hairstreak is nectaring on? Is it nodding ladies tresses orchid (Spiranthes cernua)?(*** I realized later that it was nectaring on White Sweet Clover***)

Cicada killer


  1. Way to go in finding the hairstreak. Should get some this weekend, I hope!
    Hope to get some "Easter" Commas too.

  2. Blake, lol , thanks for the gentle correction. I'm glad someone's reading this thing! -DM



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