Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 Part 5: Late Summer To Early Winter In Ontario

August and September

In the middle of August, I traveled to Letchworth State Park in New York for a weekend with some of my family. It was wonderful to spend time with everyone, as well as to get in some hiking and find some species that I haven't seen before in Ontario (mostly plants and mushrooms). Otherwise, my August and September was pretty low-key as I had a tour planned to Indonesia in September that required a lot of preparatory work.  Most of my naturalizing took place close to home; one highlight was an awesome night of late-season mothing with some friends near Cambridge. 


Bay Underwing (Catocala badia)

Chevron Moth (Eulithis testata)

Northern Redbelly Snake

Unidentified chalcidid wasp (family Chalcididae)

Synecdoche impunctata

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)

Wedgling Moth (Galgula partit)

Rhododendron Leafhopper (Graphocephala fennahi)

Striped Blister Beetle (Epicauta vittata)

Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)

Letchworth State Park, New Pork

Jagged Ambush Bug (Phymata americana) feeding on unidentified bristle fly

Arcigera Flower Moth (Schinia arcigera)

Macremphytus tarsatus

Clouded Underwing (Catocala nebulosa)

Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)

Patara vanduzei

Otiocerus wolfii

Barrens Carpet (Apodrepanulatrix liberaria)

Parthenice Tiger Moth (Apantesis parthenice)

Northern Walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata)

Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus)

Locust Borer (Megacyllene robiniae)

Boreal Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus hebes)

Sapphire-striped Mosquito (Uranotaenia sapphirina)

Two-spotted Aethes (Aethes atomosana)

Loosestrife Borer Moth (Papaipema lysimachiae)



October is probably my favourite month in Ontario, though May gives it a run for its money. The landscape is bathed in golden and rufous hues which contrast spectacularly with the bright blue skies (on some days), decent numbers of various reptiles and amphibians can be found with ease on good weather days, and bird migration is steady throughout the month with a large number of both landbirds and waterbirds passing through (with a good dose of rarities, as well). Due to various travels I haven't been around much in recent Octobers but in 2023 I managed a solid three weeks in the province before heading off on the next trip. 

It was fun to get back into birding a bit this October, something I hadn't really done in the province since the spring. I led a couple of successful private tours, had some of my last moth outings of the year, and chased a few local rarities (Little Blue Heron in Hamilton, Ross's Goose near Dunnville). But mainly, I just explored several local parks since I didn't have the urge to drive long distances to look for wildlife. 

Wood Duck

Colladonus setaceus

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitchers and White-rumped Sandpiper

Ruby-crowned Kinglet


Ross's Goose

Common Looper Moth (Autographa precationis)

November and December

I returned from Ecuador on November 8 and spent the rest of the year in Canada (first Ontario, with Nova Scotia for the last few days of December).  As is typically the case at this time of the year, the birding scene was rocking with numerous rarities found throughout the month. Several of these were potentially new for my Ontario list and I was successful chasing species like Fieldfare and Western Flycatcher. The flycatcher, found at Rondeau Provincial Park by Steve Charbonneau, was the long-awaited first record for the province. 

Otherwise, I enjoyed birding close to home, helping out with the OFO Gull Weekend at Niagara Falls, and visiting friends and family. 

Fox Sparrow

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

American Black Duck

Red Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Dickcissel (and House Sparrow)

Yellow Warbler

Western Flycatcher


Westen Grebe


American Tree Sparrow

Pacific Loon 


Townsend's Solitaire

Thanks to all of you who followed along on my blog. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2024!