Sunday 2 July 2017

Butterflies, Birds, and Mosquitoes

Today was the Skunk's Misery Butterfly Count. I joined Blake on his sections of the count. From what I heard it was a very slow day, although altogether we tallied 50 species. For most there were only a few representatives from each. The butterfly that was seen the most was Cabbage White, with over 400 (if I remember correctly).

In the morning, we walked about five kilometers down Centerville Rd.

A few butterflies greeted us as soon as we got out of the car, including Monarch, Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, European Skipper, Peck's Skipper, and Northern Crescent.

Orange Sulphur

Common Milkweed and Butterfly Weed were abundant, so the Milkweed Beetles were out.

Eastern Comma seemed to be easy to find, and were common in pockets here and there. There were some Gray Commas too.

Eastern Comma

A few Question Marks were to be found as well.

An exciting find was a Compton Tortoiseshell. These are rare in Middlesex, and aren't found every year. It is quite the stunner.

A few Tawny Emperors could be found.

The damsels and dragonflies also caught my attention.

Eastern Pondhawk

Aurora Damsel 

Little Wood-satyrs were numerous, as were Red Admirals. There were a couple Silver-spotted Skippers along the forest edge.

Silver-spotted Skipper

Red Admiral

There were a couple Appalachian Browns and Common Wood-nymphs throughout.

A. Brown

This Monarch is newly emerged. You can see the chrysalis on the right.

Only one Mourning Cloak was seen. It appeared quite fresh.

Only ONE hairstreak was seen on our route the entire day. It was a Banded. Apparently last year this count had the highest number of Banded Hairstreaks anywhere in North America.

As for birds, Hooded Warblers, Mourning Warblers, Pine Warblers, Ovenbirds, Veerys (Veeries?), Indigo Buntings, and a Broad-winged Hawk were just some of the species seen.

I almost got FULL FRAME shots of an ADULT MALE Hooded Warbler!!! I bushwhacked into where I heard one singing, then pished for a couple minutes. I saw it fly over into a bush, so I walked over to a clear area and started pishing again. Literally only seconds after I started pishing, one came in and perched on a bare branch about 3 meters away at eye level. I lifted my camera, but the darn bird caught my movement, squeaked, then flew off never to be seen nor heard again. ARGGHH!

After lunch, we headed farther afield.

A quick stop in County Line Woods yielded Eastern Tailed Blues and Ruby Meadowhawks.

E T Blue

Ruby Meadowhawk

Another location along the river had a lot of Great Spangled Fritillaries, European Skippers, and Delaware Skippers.

Great Spangled Frit

Delaware Skipper

I didn't know I had seen a Painted Lady until I was reviewing my photos. I just dismissed it as a Red Admiral. This brings the species count up to 51. However, I imagine that the official tally will remain 50.

Indigo Buntings were pretty common today. It wasn't uncommon to find one singing beside the road while we were looking for butterflies.

Is that a dragonfly on the log or not? I'll let you figure that out!

The final stop of the count was a small patch of wildflowers. It was pretty quiet.

Butterfly Weed

Common Milkweed

After we went to the BBQ to compile the lists and socialize. Exploring the property, we found a pair of Eastern Bluebirds and my first Pearl Crescent of the year.

It was discovered that more participants are needed for the Clear Creek count on July 22nd. If you are interested, then please come out (I'm not really sure about the details.)

Overall, despite lack of numbers, it was a good day. Below are the species that I personally saw. If it is bolded, then it was a lifer.

  1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  2. Cabbage White
  3. Clouded Sulphur
  4. Orange Sulphur
  5. Banded Hairstreak
  6. Eastern Tailed Blue
  7. Great Spangled Fritillary
  8. Pearl Crescent
  9. Northern Crescent
  10. Question Mark
  11. Eastern Comma
  12. Gray Comma
  13. Compton Tortoiseshell
  14. Mourning Cloak
  15. Painted Lady
  16. Red Admiral
  17. Tawny Emperor
  18. Northern Pearly-Eye
  19. Appalachian Brown
  20. Little Wood-Satyr
  21. Common Wood-Nymph
  22. Monarch
  23. Silver-spotted Skipper
  24. European Skipper
  25. Peck's Skipper
  26. Northern Broken Dash
  27. Delaware Skipper


  1. Hi Quinten! Sounds like you had a great day. So happy that you were able to participate in the count! 😀

  2. A great summary of the day. Wish we could have seen more butterflies though.
    I was pretty sure I saw an American Lady at one point, but could not be certain as it flew away.

    1. Thanks Blake! Butterflies really were lacking in numbers, but maybe the numbers have yet to come.