Happy Summer Solstice & Native American Day! (that was yesterday actually)
This past week - I have been trying to get out between this springs torrential downpours here in Essex County.
Nothing too amazing has been observed this last week but as always - there is typically something noteworthy to look at.
For example - I went to go for a walk at Ojibway Park to see some of the orchid species I had seen in the past - and while I had missed one of my main targets (its still early perhaps) I did run into this beautiful white moth perched on a blade of grass at Ojibway. I think its a Virginian Tiger Moth!
Some butterflies seen today include Monarch and Common Sootywing in my yard (amongst other more common species) - as well as a Baltimore Checkerspot at Ojibway.
In the plant department - I had went back to Brunet Park to try to find any orchids - with no luck. I did find several Whorled Loosestrife and Lance-leaved Coreopsis (which may or may not be native to the area).
I went back to the Reume Street Prairie - which is now a forest - and found some Fen Twayblade plants. Several years ago - I had seen 8-10 in this location but this year, I was hard-pressed to find two plants.
I had seen a local naturalist's (Mark N's) media stream and couldn't help but notice a plant that is found at Ojibway Park called Hairy Beardtongue. I had seen and photographed this in the past but I never included it in this blog!
Today being Saturday - I made an attempted to go see it this afternoon. The plant at first can seem so rare but if you walk around a little - you might notice that its pretty common!
Another amazing plant that I was able to see today was Foxglove Digitalis or Foxglove Beardtongue. Its surprisingly abundant. I had seen many plants at Ojbiway, and later as I drove along the new DRIC 401 highway - I noticed that this plant was lining the sides of the highway in a restored tallgrass prairie.
Finally , I had a chance to see an amazing orchid from Ojibway Park called Purple Twayblade (or Large Twayblade). Its been three years since I've seen this plant with Allen Woodliffe back in Mid June 2016! The photos and lighting were better on that occasion.
This past weekend I had booked a cottage just down the road from Wylie road of Carden Alvar. I was so close to the area, I biked in! My plan was to bike all the way down Wylie road and get picked up by my wife somewhere along Alvar road going towards Lake Dalrympie Road.
Along Kirkfield Road, I had an Upland Sandpiper, Wilsons Snipe, Bobolink, and Eastern Meadowlark. On Wylie Road, I was amazed to see a Pileated Woodpecker in surprising non forested area.
Wilsons Snipe seemed to be abundant on this trip. The winnowing effect was very easily seen. Somehow I missed this on my previous visits to Carden. Bluebirds were abundant which is expected as there are many bluebird boxes, and perfect grassland habitat for them.
Bobolink, meadowlark, winnowing Wilsons Snipe were almost deafening.
At one point I heard Virginia Rail surprising since it was well before the sedge wren marsh.
At Bluebird box 10 I made great effort to look for Loggerhead Shrike... But no dice this time around.
Sedge Wren Marsh provided a reminder of Sedge Wren song. I should have lingered around the area but moved on in hopes of seeing one if the many Alder Flycatchers that were on the edge of the marsh amongst the Alders.
Moving on, lots of Warbler song and more forest habitat is present past the marsh. Golden winged Warbler, Chestnut sided warblers were seen.
Speaking of warblers, the following were seen or heard.:
Black and White
Black throated green (alvar road)
Up the road, Wood Thrush was heard.
Winter Wren (house, sedge)
Carden Clay colored Sparrow
White throated Sparrow
Clay coloured Sparrow
Yellow bellied Sapsucker was heard with its familiar tree tapping drum beat.
My wife was driving at one point and I saw a large Turtle crossing a road. It was a Blandings! I wanted to take some photos of the turtle on the road but I was concerned about its immediate safety with cars just 400m away. I am not one to handle herps, so I slid it across the road on its belly in the direction it was traveling (I nudged it with the side of my foot). Then a little ways up, a little snapping turtle was try to cross the road as well. These herps don't stand a chance to the traffic blasting by at 80km/hr --- perhaps they should put up barriers near the wetlands and create a natural corridor under the road.
I slid this Blandings turtle across the road in the direction he was heading.
He slid along quite frictionless - like a rock in curling.
He would have been roadkill!
Its funny but I started my trip down Wylie road so early, I did not see a single butterfly. Later in the afternoon, I went back to Alvar road which is basically impassible without an off road vehicle.
I had hard fought attempts of butterfly watching. It may have been a combination of weather, the treacherous roads.. And the rushed feeling of having my wife and two boys with me but I did not see much. A few duskywings, an unidentified white, a Black swallowtail, and finally my target... A single Pine Elfin. I had hopes of seeing Indian Skipper... But ... Not this time around!
In the evening, Kit had mentioned that yellow rail had been heard from the parking lot of cameron ranch. It was about 9pm and I figured I would try for it. I was 5 minutes away... Why not?! Upon arrival I did not hear the classic call of this rail species. It didn't seen like good habitat for the yellow rail... But I don't know very much about the habitat preference of this species. I did hear three more crepuscular singing species for this trip though (Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock and Eastern Whip poor Will ).
June 2nd 7 AM trip to sedge wren marsh and back.
This trip was similar to my first trip but I did notice the a few different birds this time around. I had two different grasshopper sparrow this time around. A Sora, Least Bittern and Marsh Sparrow were new birds for this trip. Again, no Shrikes ( I shriked out) .
Least Flycatcher was heard and Eastern Phoebe was seen as I left the park area.
Alvar Pavement as seen from Wylie and Alvar Road.
These two roads are in great need of repair --- but the conundrum is where to get the gravel? Hopefully not somewhere as environmentally significant as the Carden Alvar.
There was lots of nice Alvar Pavement at Misery Bay Provincial Park [link] and in various areas of Manitoulin Island.