I stopped by Canard Valley (CA) Conservation Area today on the way to going to Colasantis with my son. It is not a well known area and it not well marked. You have to really want to go there to find the place! Anyway, I only walked along the Canard Valley (Creek) for about 100 or so meters but it was very nice! It just felt special to walk down to the water level of this waterway and to stand on its floodplain and realize that this is a tiny remnant of our region's natural history. This conservation area is known for one of Canada's best population of Kentucky Coffee Trees, a rare hybrid of Trout Lily among other things. This site is even mentioned in a fantastic publication by the EPA about the Lake St Clair/Huron/Erie Ecosystem [link].
Upon getting out of my car I noted a Banded and Striped Hairstreak as well as some unidentified skippers. Lots of Summer Azures were present as well.
I noticed many Dun Skippers nectaring on a perennial that I've been seeing a lot lately - Heal-all. Heal all is an edible plant! It also has beautiful petals.
My best observation though was a nice Dukes Skipper! The first one I had seen was very obliging and I captured both dorsal and ventral views of the fluttery beast. I noted a second Dukes a moment later but I only had a chance to photograph the dorsal markings that distinguish it from a female. The male has the black line (stigma) though the orange patch on its upper forewing. Below, I've featured a Dukes Skipper image that features dorsal and ventral composite views, showing both the male and female sexual dimorphism of this species.
|Dukes Skipper - Dorsal and Ventral Composite|
Other pics from this week:
This female Black Dash looks very similar to a Mulberry Winged Skipper that I have been looking for.
Brilliant Atlas of the Lake Huron/St Clair /Erie Ecosystem
Map of Natural Areas in Essex County
Canard Valley Land Donation in the News
Kentucky Coffee Tree in Canada
Heal All Plant
Where are the Monarchs? Summer 2015