Thursday 25 March 2021

More March Birding (feat. Moths)

This past week has been rather nice. On Tuesday, I didn't have in-person school (one advantage of the global pandemic I guess, if we look at it from a glass half full perspective), so of course I went birding. 

I went for a long walk at Fanshawe CA in the morning. Waterfowl numbers were way down, I doubt I even broke 100 individuals. I didn't get there until a bit later in the morning, so maybe earlier in the day would be better.

I came across a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the day use area. Perhaps it is an early migrant, or it could be the same bird I had in the campground, a kilometer away as the sapsucker flies, back in January. I'd like to think its a new arrival. If that's the case, I believe its close to record early, if not record early.

There was a Common Loon on the lake as well, which was reported the day prior. Quite distant, but I was pleased to see it. Additionally, I had my first of year Double-crested Cormorant. 

In the afternoon I went for a bike ride down to the Thames River. Nice enough day for it. I didn't really have much of a plan, but ultimately ended up checking up on a couple of our local celebrities. 

First up was the long-staying Harlequin Duck. His molt is coming along nice. He remained asleep on the opposite side of the river.

Next I went to go see the Spotted Towhee. It came out after about half an hour of waiting.

As I was waiting, I spied this interesting Dark-eyed Junco. 

I identified it as a cismontanus Dark-eyed Junco, also known as a Cassiar Junco. This is a different "subspecies" than our usual Slate-colored (hyemalis) Dark-eyed Juncos. Some authorities consider Cassiar to be an intergrade between Slate-colored and Oregon (oreganus group) juncos. I have been looking for one of these western juncos for quite awhile, so I was pleased to finally find one. 

Last night I decided to set up the moth sheet. It was about 12 degrees Celsius with no threat of rain, so why not? The Spring Peepers sang in the distance, and I heard a displaying woodcock twittering overhead a couple times. 

All I got for the longest time were midges and other small flies, but finally just as I went out to take down the sheet, a moth showed up! It was a Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Orthosia hibisci), my first lifer moth of the year. A Nameless Pinion Moth (Lithophane innominata) showed up right after, another lifer which happened to be my 550th moth for my yard list. 

Nameless Pinion Moth

I had been expecting maybe a Phigalia moth at best, so two noctuids were very exciting! I did end up getting a Small Phigalia (P. strigataria) as well. I had a couple of these last April.

I got out for a bit today as well. Nothing too much  to report other than my first of year Tree Swallows, as well as some Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara).

Bring on spring!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new moths, Quinten.....with the borderline weather conditions it is hard to know what to expect, but it will only get better, I'm hoping.