Thursday 6 December 2018

Summer odds and ends (Part 2)

Continuing on from the previous post, here are a few odds and ends that I photographed this summer that have not made it onto the blog just yet.

In late July I joined my siblings and some of my cousins for a weekend of camping at Turkey Point Provincial Park in Norfolk County. I made sure to arrive early enough on the Friday to do a little bit of exploring, and hit up the Backus Woods for a bit before meeting up with Adam Timpf and checking out his farm. The highlight for me was finding a couple of Smooth Greensnakes in the Backus area.

Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) - Norfolk County

Eremnophila aureonotata - Norfolk County

Monarch - Norfolk County

Smooth Greensnake - Nofolk County

Smooth Greensnake - Norfolk County

One of my field sites this past summer was a beautiful area of forest, meadow and wetland located near the North Bay airport. I was fortunate to make several trips to the area over the summer to document the birds, reptiles and plants of the area. The late July visit was the most memorable for me as I discovered a Great Gray Owl along the edge of a fen while doing some botany surveys. I also broke out my camera on a few occasions to document some of the insects and plants that I was seeing.

Atlantis Fritillary - North Bay, Nipissing District

Aphrodite Fritillary - North Bay, Nipissing District

Spoonleaf Sundew - North Bay, Nipissing District

Monarch - North Bay, Nipissing District

Punctured Tiger Beetle (Cicindela punctulata) - North Bay, Nipissing District

Silver-bordered Fritillary - North Bay, Nipissing District

Silver-bordered Fritillary - North Bay, Nipissing District

Green Frog - North Bay, Nipissing District

Watershield - North Bay, Nipissing District

On July 29th I returned to the Niagara River with my brother, who was in town for a few days. He was curious to hear about the populations of dusky salamanders found in the Niagara River gorge, so we quickly checked a couple of spots and turned up a few Northern Dusky Salamanders.

Northern Dusky Salamander - Niagara River gorge, Niagara Region

Short Hills Provincial Park is a natural area with some great trails located only 20 minutes from home; as such it is a favorite location for Laura if we are feeling up for a hike. During the afternoon of August 3 I visited on my own, armed with my camera, and in search of butterflies. I had never really searched for Lepidoptera at Short Hills before so was curious what species could be found. I ended up with close to 20 butterfly species for the afternoon, including several late and very worn Hickory Hairstreaks.

Orange Mint Moth (Pyrausta orphisalis) - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region
Hickory Hairstreak - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region

Gray Comma - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region

Hypena sp. - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region

Viceroy - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region

Great Spangled Fritillary - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region
Spotted St. John's Wort - Short Hills PP, Niagara Region
Beginning in early mid August a spate of unusual birds, many with southern origins, began to be reported from various locations throughout southern Ontario. These included a variety of southern wading birds including Ontario's first Reddish Egret from Oliphant. One of the first of these southern rarities to be reported was a Little Blue Heron, found at Wildwood Reservoir in Oxford County. I was in the area on August 13 and made a quick stop to see the heron. The views were OK but the bird was quite distant, meaning photography was practically useless, but it was fun to study the species which I had only observed one time previously in Ontario. While watching the heron, I tried my hand at photographing a Wandering Glider that was making frequent passes along the shoreline in front of me.

Wandering Glider - Wildwood Reservoir, Oxford County

This year I have started to take a real interest in moths. Unfortunately I have not got around to creating a moth sheet setup, and our yard is not too conducive to this, but at the very least I have tried to be more aware of various moths while out and about. Laura and I drove down to Port Burwell Provincial Park for a weekend of camping with my parents, sister and brother-in-law in late August. A nice walk with Laura and my parents down to the beach on August 19 provided numerous opportunities to study various plant, herp and insect species. Perhaps the highlight for me was this larval Achemon Sphinx that Laura found in the dunes. This species is fairly widespread in the States but is restricted to the Carolinian zone in Ontario. It's host plant is Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper).

Achemon Sphinx - Port Burwell PP, Elgin County

Below are a few larids from a nice walk at Port Weller on August 26. The birding was a little slow this day, but at least a few photographic opportunities presented themselves.

Bonaparte's Gull - Port Weller east pier, Niagara Region

Caspian Tern - Port Weller east pier, Niagara Region

A subsequent visit to the east pier at Port Weller provided another opportunity to document some of the common plant and insect species that frequent the pier. It's been fun this summer to try to document as many species as possible that utilize the pier.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Port Weller east pier, Niagara Region

Ailanthus Webworm - Port Weller east pier, Niagara Region

Halloween Pennant - Port Weller east pier, Niagara Region

On August 29, field work brought me to the Brantford area. Following up on recent reports of Comet Darners from a particular stormwater management pond, I made a brief detour on my way home. The clouds had filled in the sky during my hour at the pond, meaning that the solar-powered odonates were few and far between, and none of the rare Comet Darners appeared. I still had a good time though, photographing winged creatures both living and human-created. A few Saffron-winged Meadowhawks were my first of that particular species.

Eastern Amberwing - Brantford, Brant County

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk - Brantford, Brant County
Widow Skimmer - Brantford, Brant County

CF-18 Hornet - Brantford, Brant County

In search of avian autumn migrants, I spent a couple hours along the north shore of Lake Erie on August 30, paying a visit to both Wainfleet Bog and Morgan's Point CA. The birding was pretty fun at Morgan's Point with around 50 species noted, including some Broad-winged Hawks overhead, a dozen species of warblers including several Canadas, and a few Yellow-bellied Flycatchers. Wainfleet did not provide much in the way of migrant birds, but I had my first three milksnake day in a long time!

Milksnake - Wainfleet Bog, Niagara Region

Milksnake - Wainfleet Bog, Niagara Region
Milksnake - Wainfleet Bog, Niagara Region

Milksnake - Wainfleet Bog, Niagara Region

Bicyrtes quadrifasciatus - Morgan's Point CA, Niagara Region

I'll finish this post with a Northern Map Turtle and some American Rubyspots from the Grand River at Caledonia on September 4, while I was unsuccessfully searching for a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.

American Rubyspot - Caledonia, Haldimand County

American Rubyspot - Caledonia, Haldimand County

Northern Map Turtle - Caledonia, Haldimand County

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