Monday, 25 June 2018

Insects!

Late spring and summer is a vibrant time of year and full of life. While April and May are mostly all about the birds for me, by the time June rolls around, bird migration is over and all the resident species have settled in to begin nesting. I often divert my focus to feature insects more prominently during the summer.

I have been trying to fill in some of the gaps on my Ontario butterfly list this summer and have been pretty successful in that regard, having brought my list up to an even 100. For some reason I had never encountered an elfin of any kind before, likely because the peak flight time for many of the species (May and early June) is when I am busy looking for birds at Point Pelee, or beginning breeding bird surveys for work. With some fieldwork scheduled in Havelock, I zipped up to Sandy Lake Road on May 24 and was able to devote about 90 minutes to looking for butterflies before I had to leave to take care of a bunch of work stuff. In those 90 minutes I discovered four species of elfins, all of which were new for me.

Hoary Elfin - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON 

Brown Elfin - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON 



Henry's Elfin - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

Brown Elfin - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

Eastern Pine Elfin - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

I found a few bird nests while searching for butterflies, including Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow and Black-capped Chickadee. One of the adult chickadees kept a close eye on me.

Black-capped Chickadee - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

Apart from the elfins there were a few other buttefly species that I noted, including Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Pink-edged Sulphur, Northern Crescent and Lucia Azure.

Lucia Azure - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

Quite a few dragonflies were taking advantage of the hot, sunny day. I was not focused on them this time but did snap a few photos. This one is a female whiteface, I believe Hudsonian Whiteface.

Hudsonian Whiteface - Sandy Lake Road, Peterborough County, ON

A few weeks ago I surveyed a quarry in North Bay for work. In between bird surveys and turtle surveys, I took my camera around and photographed a few things. The biggest highlight of the morning was encountering a crisp Chryxus Arctic, a species I had never seen before.

Chryxus Arctic - North Bay, ON

It was interesting to note how the butterfly would angle its wings up so that the sun was hitting it directly. If this was a trick to render itself less visible than normal it certainly worked, as the butterfly was very difficult to see when it was in this position as it hardly cast a visible shadow.

Chryxus Arctic - North Bay, ON

Chryxus Arctic - North Bay, ON

Arctic Skippers were flying as well, and this one obliged my request for photographs. They are one of my favorite skippers with that awesome patterning on the underside of the hindwing.

Arctic Skipper - North Bay, ON

Several Silvery Blues were flying, including this individual who was cooperative for photos.

Silvery Blue - North Bay, ON

This particular site in North Bay is good for tiger beetles and I have tallied several species here so far: Purple, Bronzed, and Oblique-lined.

Purple Tiger Beetle - North Bay, ON

Bronzed Tiger Beetle - North Bay, ON

Bronzed Tiger Beetle - North Bay, ON

Hudsonian Whiteface - North Bay, ON

Another one of my work sites is Scanlon Creek Conservation Area near Bradford. After completing my bird survey on June 7 I grabbed my camera and went for a nice walk at the conservation area. Several Arctic Skippers were the highlight, along with some photo ops of some common species.


Silvery Blue - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON

Hobomok Skipper - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON

Juvenal's Duskywing - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON

Little Wood-Satyr - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON

Arctic Skipper - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON 

Arctic Skipper - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON


Arctic Skipper - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe County, ON

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