Monday, September 30, 2013

Plants, Snakes, Butterflies, Bugs, and ... Birds

Invasive patch of Phramites in the dense Cattail Marsh of Point Pelee

It funny how cyclical birding can be. Year after year, give or take a few days or weather patterns, you have this cyclical repetition in nature...So predictable, you can literally ask ... "Whats in season this week?" Its amazing though. Last year on the last weekend of September, I had an amazing day on the marsh boardwalk, and this past week...So quiet (1 GBH and 2 Wood ducks)!

I left the marsh boardwalk noticing (maybe for the first time) a large patch of invasive Phragmites in the marsh. I always seem to smile if I drive by a ditch or highway edge and see native cat-tails and conversely, I get bothered to see phragmites knowing how invasive it is. I was alarmed to see this patch of phragmites in the middle of the marsh. It would be cool if Point Pelee could burn off this small patch before it gets larger... I'm not a botanist/ecologist so maybe I need not worry about it.

The last two weeks have yielded few noteworthy birds. I have been bringing my son with me out birding though, so maybe I'm a little more distracted or unable to really cover all the ground I'd like. I think this photo above is of a Philadelphia Vireo.

Another highlight from Pelee was this Peregrine Falcon perched on some driftwood along East Tip beach near sparrow field. Raptors were everywhere overhead. My time at pelee this weekend was very short, and sadly, I didn't connect with too many of the rarities that had been seen.

Baby Fox Snake
At Holiday Beach this past Friday, I almost stepped on this small earthworm-sized Fox Snake. I had thought momentarily that I might have photographed a Massassauga Rattlesnake, but that would be impossible. They are extirpated from Southwestern Ontario with the exception of a few that are very localized at Ojibway Park. Cool to still see this fox snake. I felt bad though, shortly after seeing this one, I found another one down the road that had been run over by a car. A road-killed garter snake was also seen along with a dead Monarch caterpillar. [***Bonus: Guide for the confusingly similar Fox, Massassauga and Water Snakes of Ontario] Butterflies have been depressingly absent this year as usual, but a dimorphic pair of Eastern Commas were very cooperative along with a Tailed Blue and Bronze Copper.

 Closer to home, I was looking at Checkered Skippers again near my work and amazingly a Cicada landed on me! Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to pick up bugs but I must say I was amused and took this self-portrait with this bug on my pants.
 A Greater Angle-Wing Katydid was crossing the sidewalk this evening while my son drove his jeep to the park. Amazingly, my son's Power-Wheels Jeep ran direcly over this bug leaving it to see another day. This Katydid is responsible for the Click-Click-Click sound one hears emanating from trees during late summer nights in Southwestern Ontario [range map]. This brilliant leaf-mimick is almost impossible to find unless it perches on a house, door, car or sidewalk in this case.

Greater Angle-Wing Katydid

Good birding!
Bonus Footage (baby fox snake on youtube--- This is not me :-)  ):


  1. Nice photos. You may want to take another look at your snake photo. I'm fairly certain it is actually a Northern Watersnake.

  2. Lots of great captures, Dwayne! I went to PP yesterday and was delighted to witness at least 100 Monarchs making their way along the East side at the Tip. I don't think all is lost just yet.

  3. Adam, thanks for the gentle correction. I always welcome input from readers. I might ask Josh to weigh in and the correct the I'd. Actually it would be cool if it was a watersnake as I have nit officially blogged about one. I have seen one year's ago in the holiday beach marsh near the tower. Karen, its great ti hear about the monarchs!! I have seen various butterflies waiting at the tip reluctant to cross the water. Good seeing you the other day!



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