Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Northern Oak Hairstreak at Reid CA in Wallaceburg ON + ... wait for it... FOY Dickcissel in Lambton!

Northern Oak Hairstreak at Reid CA

Those that read my end of year summary (published back in Jan) might recall that one of my nature viewing goals this year was to finally catch up with the Northern Oak Hairstreak.  I must admit that I have tried at least once or twice for this butterfly in the past with and dipped. So this year, I made an honest effort to go see this butterfly in the middle of its flight time (June 20?). Kit and  I left Windsor at an ambitious time of 7AM and arrived (still early) at Reid Conservation Area, on the shores of the Syndenham River just a little ways north of Wallaceburg. It was still quite brisk and perhaps the butterflies were still warming up as we arrived. After searching for over an hour, I started heading out to the road. But, as luck would have it, an older couple arrived, and I figured I would see if they could have better luck finding this nickel sized fluttery beast. Also, a text message from Blake suggested to "be patient".  So... after about ten minutes with the older couple, I found a hairstreak walking along a stem several inches below the flowers of an Indian Hemp plant. This is my fourth buttefly lifer species this year, and I think I am at about 120 species photographed.

Northern Oak Hairstreak

An interesting thing about the Northern Oak Hairstreak is that there are two major types within the species. The primary type was called a Southern Oak Hairstreak, and when the northern species was added, they thought of calling the northern one a "Northern Southern Oak Hairstreak" and the southern version a "Southern Southern Oak Hairstreak". Now, they just call it an Oak Hairstreak and locals can add Southern or Northern as they like. 

Another interesting thing about this butterfly is that (as far as I know) there is only one population known in all of Canada - north of Wallaceburg, and it was Blake Mann who discovered it. Imagine looking at the field marks of a hairstreak butterfly (with its large white "M") and saying: "what is this? this isn't in any field guides!". So a special shout out to Blake for his keen observation and his leperodoptic contributions to Ontario and Canada butterfly watching.

Reid Conservation Area

*(note: as I write this posting tonight, I am listening to an Indigo Bunting singing in my back yard, with distant Wood Thrushes, Song Sparrows, Red bellied Woodpecker, House Wren and occasionally a Great crested Flycatcher! (ebird checklist)  Also, there are House Sparrows chirping... this is Windsor after all...)

Other butterflies seen include about 3 banded hairstreaks, lots of Common Wood Nymphs, Eastern tailed Blue, 1 Question Mark, 4 Eastern Comma, lots of small European Skippers, 1 Red Admiral and of course, 1 Oak Hairstreak. 

European Skipper on Indian Hemp

After seeing the hairstreak butterfly, Kit and I met up with Lambton birder Sean J who was checking out a hay field not far from Reid CA. Upon getting out of our car, we heard the songs of Dickcissel (FOY!) , Bobolink, Savanah  Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark and more.

From this point, we had a decision to make - go to Strathroy for more grassland birds (Upland Sandpiper) or perhaps head back towards Windsor and stop by Rondeau and perhaps try for an Acadian Flycatcher (both of these would be lifers for Kit). We ended up going to Rondeau to try for the Flycatcher.

Good Birding & Lepping!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention!
    The whole complex is known as Southern Hairstreak. I think it is an inappropriate name since the the southern version is so markedly different. Most of us refer to the local version as Northern Oak!



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