Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Walk Through Canard Valley Conservation Area

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.

Good Birding!

Further Reading:

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

Dukes Skipper

Heal All Plant

Where are the Monarchs? Summer 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

PPNP in the News + Butterfly Watching, Botanizing Pre Ojibway Bio-blitz

Point Pelee National Park is getting 11.2 Million dollars from the Government for improving the park on several fronts. See this link for more details: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/federal-government-announces-major-investments-in-point-pelee-national-park  [evernote].  I can't help but think that 1 million of that money could have easily bought the old Windsor Raceway land from Coco Paving to improve the <1% of Ontario's tallgrass prairie habitat.

The Ojibway Park Bioblitz is taking place this Saturday July 18 and I wanted to get out and observe some wildlife as this event approaches. If you are interested in joining this event read more and register here: http://essexcountynature.com/2015/07/08/join-us-for-the-2015-ojibway-prairie-bioblitz/ .

I did some pre bio-blitz scouting earlier this week with a focus on Leps at Ojibway. The butterfly-watching has been a little slower it seems than normal. Fritillaries and Browns are very present, but it seems that hairstreak volume and diversity has been low this year.  Some butterflies I noted this week were:

American Copper
Coral Hairstreak
Edward's Hairstreak
Acadian Hairstreak
Little Glassywing
GS Fritillary
Red Admiral
Pearl Crescent
American Lady
Commas and Question Marks

Acadian Hairstreak hiding in this Michigan Lily

Some botanical highlights included Culver's Root and Indian Pipe (a plant that has no chloroplasts!) were noted this week at Ojibway.

Culver's Root 

Indian Pipe

Some birds that I noted at Brunet Park in Lasalle was a nice view of a female Indigo Bunting and an obliging Eastern Wood Pewee.

Good birding!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid & Sullivant's Milkweed ... Botanizing in West Windsor

Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid

Wow, today I had two botanical discoveries! I finally found the ultra rare Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid at Ojibway Park which is a plant that I've been wanting to see for years. It's an endangered plant [link] and I was able to see it at the very end of its flowering stage.

Sullivant's Milkweed

Another fantastic discovery that I made today was this Sullivant's Milkweed - another rare plant found in prairie habitat. This plant is similar to common milkweed, but has pink central vein in the plant's leaves and two-tone colours for its flowers.

I have found several other interesting flowers while looking for the orchid above. I've done alot of reading and researching online as well as referencing a botany guide I was recently given.  A cool bug that I found recently is the Candy-striped Leafhopper.   I will let the photos below tell the story of some of my other recent nature highlights.
Wood Lily or Prairie Lily

Michigan Lily 

Butterfly Milkweed

Swamp Milkweed

Purple Milkweed

Northern Broken Dash?

Black Dash Skipper

Good Birding, Leping, Herping and Botanizing!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Obligatory Skunks Misery Trip & Milbert's Tortoiseshell

A Skunks Misery trip was long overdue so last week, I ventured out in that direction. I missed out on visuals for  my target species which were Cerulean Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher. But still, some good birds were found. One highlight for example was hearing a Veery singing and a Yellow bellied Sapsucker drumming. What's cool about that YBSS sighting is that Newbury might be the southern limit / suitable habitat of its breeding range in Ontario.

Some birds seen include:
Chestnut sided Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wood Thrush
Scarlet Tanager
Yellow bellied Sapsucker (drumming)
Indigo Bunting
Baltimore Oriole
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Wood Peewee
Buteo Hawk (perhaps broad winged?)

Groundhog in Newbury Ontario
I typically drive a little towards Strathroy to look for Grassland birds but in my short time there, I did find a butterfly that I have wanted to see for years - a Milberts Tortoiseshell! I wanted to photograph this butterfly a little better than what I have but it was very shy. I only had it in view for 10 seconds then it was gone!
Milbert's Tortoiseshell in Strathroy Ontario

Back at Ojibway Park, I noticed a few nice birds as of late:
A pair of Yellow billed Cuckoos st Ojibway's Springarden area, Willow Flycatcher, Belted Kingfisher and Green Heron Fledglings at Ojibway's Malden Park.

Leconte's Haploa
I'm on the hunt for Eastern Fringed Prairie Orchid --- I've had several unsuccessful efforts to see it but I will keep searching! I've found other interesting plants though - I've seen several patches of Colicroot (a threatened species link1 link2)- a nice botanical discovery at Ojibway. I also found a tiny flower called Enchanter's Nightshade. Thanks to one of my blog readers - Irene- for the botany guide!!!

Good Birding!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...