Monday, 19 June 2017

Down to Rondeau

On Saturday, I headed down to Rondeau for the afternoon.

I will just get it over with now...I didn't see the White-winged Dove. I'm really am starting to dislike that bird.....We've spent hundreds of dollars trying to find it!!!!

Along Talbot Trail I found a Dickcissel, but I didn't get any photos. Number 221 on the Weekend Big Year.

As soon as entering the park, we came across a pair of White-tailed Deer.


There was an Eastern Foxsnake at the Dog Beach. Other snakes seen in the park include Garter and an Eastern Ribbonsnake. This is only the second foxsnake I've ever seen. The first was a small one that bit me in 2015 when I tried to pick it up.


I checked out Tulip Tree Trail (TTT), which is where I found my first Prothonotary Warblers for Chatham-Kent. Two males and a female.


There a few White-breasted Nuthatches hanging out on the first little bit of Harrison. They were doing some mating ritual that I've never seen before. It was kind of cool.


There were many odes hanging around including a few species of darners, saddlebags, bluets, skimmers, and spreadwings.

Emerald Spreadwing

I saw a few butterflies as well, including my first Giant Swallowtail of the year.

Little Wood-Satyr

Red Admiral

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles are more or less common in Rondeau.


This White-tailed Deer didn't appear distressed by our presence on TTT.


There was a pair of Blue-tailed Skinks, Ontario's only lizard, on TTT as well. Quite fast and skittish. Every time I thought I had lost them, they would pop up somewhere else. This went on for awhile, but I was able to get some photos.



Tulip Tree Trail is aptly named.


There were few birds in the park, and most of the ones I did find were by voice only.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

I left the park after about four and a half hours and went to Blenheim Sewage Lagoons.

Birdsfoot Trefoil has really come up in the last few days.


Red-winged Blackbirds were very territorial. I was dive-bombed at one point. While the birds will rarely strike you, it can be a bit of a terrifying experience to have a screeching mass of feathers and claws descend upon you.


This juvenile wasn't trying to attack me

Killdeer was the most common shorebird, with over thirty seen. Spotted Sandpipers were the only other species of shorebird.


Plenty of Painted Turtles, and one Common Snapping Turtle, were seen.


There were hundreds of bluets (Familiar?). Some Eastern Forktails as well.


Black Saddlebags were common, as were Common Green Darners.

CGD

Best dragonfly was a Halloween Pennant, my first for the year.


Not as many butterflies as I expected, but I did find a couple, including lifer Bronze Copper.

Bronze Copper

Black Swallowtail

As for birds, it wasn't overly exciting, but I did have a couple decent finds. Greater Scaup and Ring-necked Ducks were continuing birds.

Ring-necked Duck

Ruddy Duck (L) and Greater Scaup (R)

Other ducks such as Wood Duck, Mallard, and Ruddy Ducks were found.

Mallards and Wood Duck (Bottom R)

There was also an American Coot and a Pied-billed Grebe.

American Coot

Savannah Sparrows were very common and some were nesting.


Another grassland nesting species was Eastern Meadowlark. There were a few adults and one fairly young one, which was still quite orange overall.



Erieau was last. I was hoping to find a rare gull or two, but it was not to be.


There were a few terns, both Common and Forester's.


This Common Grackle managed to get a fish that a Ring-billed Gull dropped.


Eastern Kingbirds are known to be VERY territorial....

Flashback to Last Summer...

This is the first time I witnessed one take on a gull.


It was a pretty good day. I'll be spending the next few days up in Orillia with my class, so hopefully I'll come back with a few stories that are worth sharing!

Also, this is my 100th post on the blog!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Dickcissels to Dragonflies

Today I decided to check out a few locations around home. The first was south of London on Scotland Drive. There has been a recent influx of Dickcissels lately in Ontario, and a few had been reported in the previous days.

It didn't take long to find a couple Horned Larks.


Soon after the larks, we found a singing Dickcissel (DICK). The DICK can be identified by it's yellow breast and rufous back. The males have a black "bib". DICKs have been invading Ontario, in particular southern Ontario, in numbers that were likely unprecedented.


After the first one flushed due to a passing truck, I continued up the road where I found this bird on a wire. It was very cooperative.


This isn't cropped at all.


A third was found back near where I left the truck, and the first bird was back to the field where I had originally spotted it. The field doesn't appear to be a crop of any kind, so it is likely that, as long as it isn't cut, the Dickcissels will stay and attempt to nest.


It soon flew up into a tree, which is where I left it.


I went to Weldon Park in Arva after lunch, which can be a great spot for dragonflies.


It took awhile, but I did eventually catch my first dragonfly...a Dot-tailed Whiteface.


A few more missed before I nabbed a Common (Eastern) Pondhawk.


I was unable to catch this guy, but it's a Unicorn Clubtail.


I was finally able to get a Common Whitetail after dozens of attempts.



Heading into the woods, I found a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a couple American Redstarts.


The introduced European Skipper was seen.


To top off the day, I saw my first Silver-spotted Skippers of the year.


Tomorrow should prove to be exciting...stay tuned!