I recently visited relatives in both Ottawa and Montreal and tried to fit in some nature viewing opportunities. Some areas that I attempted to see were:
- Mer Blue Bog
- Gatineau Park in Quebec
- Ottawa Airport Grasslands
- Larose Forest near Limoges ON
Burntlands Provincial Reserve (didn't make it) Richmond Fen (didn't make it)
Mer Bleue Bog
I vistied Mer Bleue Bog [link] with high expectations and arrived with perfect, sunny skies, 80 degree temps and no wind. I was thinking I would see some interesting butterflies but I was surprised to not see much birdwise or butterfly wise. I may have seen a small moth and a few dragonflies but hardly a single butterfly, with the exception of a crescent-like species that I had noted in the parking lot.
Gatineau Park in PQ
Ottawa Airport Grasslands
The airport grasslands, have been reputed as having a great number of sparrows, but by early august, some post breeding dispersal may have been taking place. I saw Grasshopper Sparrows last time I visted the site easily from the side of the road but not this time around. I did happen to see a few Savanah Sparrows and juvenile Common Yellowthroats. Butterflies were alarmingly absent. But with some searching, I did find a single Monarch and a single Common Ringlet. This monarch might be the only one I've seen in 2015!
|No butterflies ???|
Larose Forest near Limoges ON
My recent ROM Butterflies of Ontario field guide has 14 excellent butterfly watching areas, and one of their featured locations was Larose Forest near Limoges Ontario [link]. This is a huge forest, and I was only "passing through" on my way from Ottawa to Montreal. I simply drove down a main road (Indian Road) that passes through the center of the forest with my family in tow.... stopping occasionally to see if I could find anything interesting. I was hoping to get a few Fritillary species, Compton's Tortoiseshell, and maybe a Leonards Skipper. Again, almost a complete shut-out of butteflies. I did get lucky enough to get one lifer species - A Meadow Fritillary. I saw two Milbert's Tortoiseshells and a few GS Fritillaries. I heard a few bird species: Goldfinches, Song Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, Crows/Ravens, and perhaps a Perched Olive sided Flycatcher... see image below as I may be mistaken.
|Milbert's Tortoiseshell - Dorsal and Ventral Composite|
|Olive sided Flycatcher? Or Eastern Wood Peewee?|
PS: Below I've copy/pasted a recent discussion thread from the Ontario butterflies forum. Some very distinguished and experienced lepidoterists are noticing an unusual drop in numbers and diversity. I've copied some of the thread for to highlight the point --- I hope that is not a problem. I've anonymized the email addresses in hopes of not having any "bot" email harvesters from obtaining people's addresses from this blog.
Butterfly scarcity P Hall