Friday 21 August 2020

South Lambton Specialties

On Wednesday I ventured down to southern Lambton County in search of some of the uncommon odes that call that area of Ontario home. 

I started at Moore Wildlife Management Area, getting there shortly before 9am. I was hoping to find Mocha Emerald here. The trail here is not at all well kept, with the ragweed towering over everything. It is a shame, as this is actually quite a neat place. Soon after my arrival, I found a rare sedge in Ontario, Davis's Sedge (Carex davisii). Unfortunately, it was well past its prime. 

Continuing on, I noted another uncommon plant in Ontario, Lizard's Tail (Saururus cernuus). It was locally abundant along the river. Seems I have missed it in flower.

I eventually reached the creek that the Mochas apparently like to fly around. Upon my arrival, I didn't see any though. I walked along the creek for a bit, and eventually found myself coming out into a grassland type area. I imagine it was likely restored. There were some neat plants, and I saw a Wandering Glider, as well as some sort of darner.

Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

Stiff-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)

Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)

Showy Tick-Trefoil (Desmodium canadense)
Virginia Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum virgnianum)

Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)

I bushwhacked back down to the creek. Still no emeralds, but I did see a couple of neat flies.

Tabanus calens

Virginia Giant (Milesia virginiensis)

I also saw this next plant, the Lanceleaf Frogfruit (Phyla lanceolata), also known as the Lanceleaf Fogfruit or Northern Fogfruit. I don't know much about this plant, other than it is apparently rare in Ontario. 

I called it quits at Moore after almost two hours, and went to check out McCallum Line, near Booth Creek. It turned out to also be a bust for emeralds. There is a stewardship project there, and it might be interesting to check that spot out again. 

Chrysops callidus

Giant Foxtail (Setaria faberi)

I next went to the bridge at Thamesville. This is a well known spot for another species of odonate that was high on my list of things to see, the Smoky Rubyspot. Upon my arrival, I quickly found many. It is a stunning ode. My 129th ode species for Ontario.

As I was walking back, I noticed a clubtail on some ragweed. I netted it, and was surprised to pull out an Elusive Clubtail! These clubtails, true to their name, are quite elusive, and rarely seen as adults. While they are fairly widespread, not many people get the chance to see them, and they usually require a special effort to see. I was definitely not expecting to see this species today! It was certainly a great ode for #130!

After my success at two lifers in short order, I went up to the town of Florence. Several clubtails were out over the river upon my arrival, but they narrowly managed to avoid my net (I had one interesting one hit the bag and bounce out, no idea what it was!) I had a few likely Arrow Clubtails, but since it would have been a lifer, I was hesitant to count them without catching them or a photo. I did end up catching two more Elusive Clubtails though! I am not sure if anyone had ever recorded them from this location before, which is somewhat surprising given this spot gets a decent amount of attention. Odes sure can surprise you!

There were also several Black-shouldered Spinylegs, Blue-fronted Dancers, American Rubyspots, Ebony Jewelwings, as well as a single Swift and Royal River Cruiser. I also found one male Dusky Dancer. I hadn't seen this species in a couple of years, so that was nice.

Next up was the Shetland boat launch. I was considering skipping this location, but decided to pull off at the last minute. Good decision! I saw four species of dancers here, including my lifer (#131) Blue-ringed Dancer. Both species of spinyleg were here as well, including the rare Flag-tailed.

Blue-ringed Dancer
Flag-tailed Spinyleg

Blue-fronted Dancer

Stream Bluet

Violet Dancer

My last stop was just up river, off Mosside Line. Not much here, other than some more dancers, a Royal River Cruiser, and a Black-shouldered Spinyleg. Here is another Blue-ringed, I quite like this species.

All in all, a great day! I ended up with 5 out of the 6 dancer species found in Ontario (missed Blue-tipped), both rubyspots, both spinylegs, and both river cruisers. Three lifers total! Summer is starting to wind down, but hopefully I can still milk a few more things out of it...

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