Friday 29 December 2023

2023 Part 3: Spring And Summer In Ontario

April (continued)

Laura and I returned to Ontario in late April and I immediately jumped back into the local birding/naturalist scene. Spring is such a dynamic time of year and I tried to maximize every opportunity. In late April I spent a couple of days on Manitoulin Island, where I caught up with the long-staying Lewis's Woodpecker that had been over-wintering. 

Lewis's Woodpecker


I spent the first few weeks of May at some of my favourite haunts in southern Ontario to experience the frenzy of spring migration and to lead a few tours. I only visited Point Pelee for a few days (the crowds are getting crazier each year), preferring instead the quieter paths of Pelee Island. As is usually the case in May, there were a few truly rare birds that got the blood pumping. One in particular was Point Pelee's first Willow Ptarmigan. I was on Pelee Island at the time but successfully chased it with fellow birder Jacob Stasso, arriving with a few minutes to spare before it left the tip (never to be seen again!). Another birding highlight was seeing Ontario's first Limpkin near Barrie, a bird found by my friend Josh Mandell and his daughters Emily and Rebecca. 

By May 20th or so I began a couple of work contracts with consulting firms. This kept me occupied every day, but I was always outside and had a few interesting discoveries on job sites. 

On the last day of the month I set up my moth sheet for the first time all spring, taking advantage of a rare morning off from work. A prelude of how I hoped to spend many summer nights.

Western Meadowlark

Western Cattle Egret

Hermit Thrush

Purple Martin

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Willow Ptarmigan

Willow Ptarmigan

Yellow-rumped Warbler

American White Pelicans

Trumpeter Swan

Chestnut-sided Warbler


Cerulean Warbler

Philadelphia Vireo

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Orchard Oriole

Mississippi Kite

White-eyed Vireo

Wood Thrush

Summer Tanager

Black-necked Stilt

Prothonotary Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler


Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)

Ruddy Turnstone

Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon)

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Beautiful Eutelia Moth (Eutelia pulcherrimus)

Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)

Night-wandering Dagger (Acronicta noctivaga)

Neopyrochroa femoralis

Glorious Habrosyne Moth (Habrosyne gloriosa)


June is always a hectic month and in 2023, it was no different. Not only was I working two contracts which kept me busy almost every day, but Laura and I moved to a new place in Hamilton as well. Despite the busyness, June is always one of my favourite months due to the abundance of new life. 

My schedule did not allow for much extracurricular time but I still managed to set up my moth sheet on a few occasions. I spent a night at Carden Alvar to lead a tour, which also gave me an awesome mothing opportunity. I also set out on a few rare bird chases, including one dash to Point Pelee to find a Cassin's Kingbird (my fourth addition to my Ontario bird list in six weeks). 

Tricolored Heron

Harris's Three-spot (Harrisimemna trisignata)

Io Moth (Automeris io)

Pink-shaded Fern Moth (Callopistria mollissima)

Tricolored Heron

Short-lined Chocolate (Argyrostrotis anilis)

Raspberry Pyrausta Moth (Pyrausta signatalis)

Green Marvel (Acronicta fallax)

White Furcula Moth (Furcula borealis)

Cassin's Kingbird

Silver-spotted Ghost Moth (Sthenopis argenteomaculatus)

Round-headed Apple Tree Borer (Saperda candida)

Plum Curculio (Conotrachelus nenuphar)

Common Lytrosis Moth (Lytrosis unitaria)

Geina periscelidactylus complex

The Hebrew (Polygrammate hebraeicum)

Red-banded Fungus Beetle (Megalodacne fasciata)


My work schedule remained full through to the end of the breeding bird season, while I also spent a fair bit of time completing Massasauga surveys in the second half of the month. I tried to get out naturalizing as often as I could in July, especially by getting to know a local park that is walking distance from our place. 

The Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)

Telamona sp.

Saperda imitans

American Ermine Moth (Yponomeuta multipunctella)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa)

Kermes Scale Moth (Euclemensia bassettella)

Orange-barred Carpet Moth (Dysstroma hersiliata)

Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia miniata)

Cherry Leaf-cone Caterpillar Moth (Caloptilia invariabilis)

Mompha passerella

Common Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

Enoclerus mosmarus

Little Devil Moth (Dichomeris nonstrigella)

Girard's Grass-veneer (Crambus girardellus)

Wild Turkeys

Honeysuckle Moth (Ypsolopha dentella)

Confused Haploa Moth (Haploa confusa)

Virginia Creeper Clearwing (Albuna fraxini)

Eastern Towhee

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)

Swift Feather-legged Fly (Trichopoda pennipes)

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

Dorcas Copper (Tharsalea dorcas)

Arequipa turbatella

Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

Ligated Furrow Bee (Halictus ligatus)

Brown Pine Looper Moth (Caripeta angustiorata)

Barred Owl

Skunkback Monopis Moth (Monopis dorsistrigella)

Elder Shoot Borer Moth (Achatodes zeae)

White-ribboned Carpet Moth (Mesoleuca ruficillata)

Bad-wing Moth (Dyspteris abortivaria)

Balcanocerus fitchi

Unidentified crab spider (subfamily Thomisinae)


Dwayne said...

Josh, as always, a stunning collection of natural history observations. The photography is brilliant. Best wishes for a great year in 2024!

Josh Vandermeulen said...

Best wishes for an excellent 2024 to you and your family, Dwayne!