Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Bell's Vireo and Mid-May Pinery Butterfly Watching (2 butterfly lifers?)

(*editors note: This is a blog posting from the middle of May 2022 - I have not posted it until late July 2022)

I took a personal day from work recently - and headed out to Point Pelee for some early May birding. I randomly chose May 12 as a day to go in the second week of May. I spent much of my time on West Beach - looking for Kirtlands Warbler - and had many great birds that I had not seen in some time. Northern Mockingbird, Black Billed Cuckoo, tonnes of Thrushes and Ruby throated Hummingbirds were present on that particular afternoon. But, Bells Vireo was the highlight, and through the power of whatapp - I was able to see this great bird found by "the dutch crew" & Steve Pike. I must have seen 10-15 hummingbirds on this particular day, and it was nice to see one actually do it mating / territory flight right in front of me along the west side foot-path.  Occasionally while photographing these beautiful birds, I would get reflective flashes of "ruby" from the gorget feathers on the birds throat. These colours that we see as birders are unique in that although there are various inks and computer monitor colours made from three primary colours mixing --- I think some of the colours we observe as naturalists can only be seen and fully appreciated in the field. In summary, the colour of red from a Scarlet Tanager, or an indigo bunting is best appreciated IRL (in real life).

Bells Vireo

Clay Coloured Sparrow @ Black Oak Herritage Park in Windsor

Pinery May 15th - Butterfly watching during peak birding season?

I found myself supervising/coaching a tennis tournament that had me in Sarnia on Sat May 14th. Instead of driving home after the tournament, I had booked a hotel to stay the evening and spent the following day at the Pinery. I was with my family, but I attempted to butterfly watch and bird as much as I could. Some May specialties were found, Olympia Marble, Frosted Elfin, American Lady, Dreamy Duskywing. ... I was looking for Mottled Duskywings and instead found a Harvester butterfly - which is famous for having a carnivorous caterpillar. It turns out that an Azure species I had seen on this date is a second life butterfly - According to R. Cavasin (* Northern Spring Azure (C. lucia) ) . Inaturalist is a wonderful tool for us nature lovers! See this link for that sighting: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/117214978 . These two new species are my 159th, and 160th butterfly species. 

Birding was great, with Prairie Warbler heard almost as soon as I entered the lakeside dune habitat that they often frequent. RH Woodpecker, BB Cuckoo, Pine Warbler as well as several empid species were seen. 

Lifer Summary - Last ~10 BIRD species:

Western Screech Owl 453 (AZ)
Scaled Quail 454  (AZ)
Graces Warbler 455  (AZ)
Painted Redstart 456  (AZ)
Yellow Eyed Junco 457  (AZ)
Blue throated Hummingbird 458 (AZ)
Elegant Trogon 459 (AZ)
King Rail 460
Red Phalarope 461
Scissor tailed Flycatcher 462
Hoary Redpoll  463
Cave Swallow 464
Harris' Sparrow 465
Bell's Vireo 466

My last 7 Butterfly Species: 
154 - BOG COPPER  ( Lycaena epixanthe ) - London ON , yes [link]
155 - Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum) - Newbury ON - yes [link]
156 - Short Tailed Swallowtail( Papilio brevicauda ) - Kouchibouguac National Park , yes [link]
157 - Maritime Ringlet( Coenonympha nipisiquit ) - St Andrews NB [link]
158 - Green Comma (  Polygonia faunus) - Fredricton NB, yes [link]
159 - Harvester ( Feniseca tarquinius ) - Pinery Provincial Park , yes [link]  
160 - Northern Azure (Celastrina lucia) - Pinery Provincial Park , yes [link] 


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