When we arrived, however, the sun was still only a few degrees above the horizon, making the woods seem dark. The temperature was only 9°C, and a cold wind was blowing. I was beginning to wish I’d brought my gloves.
I found a couple of Stream Bluets and a single Ebony Jewelwing this week, and I was happy to see a single Springtime Darner. There haven’t been all that many around this year, which surprised me as I ran into quite a few last year.
Mammals, too, have become inconspicuous. I haven’t seen any this past week except for the usual squirrels in the tree tops.
Deb and I enjoyed our picnic by the water, though there were few ducks to be seen on the lake. One of my favourite spots in the park is the field of wildflowers behind the picnic area, where I enjoy spending time looking for butterflies. It is also a good spot for dragonflies, which can often be seen patrolling the skies above. Common Green Darners, mosaic darners, and Black Saddlebags are the chief species seen here, and I always hope to find them perching in the vegetation.
After we had finished our lunch I grabbed my net and my camera and went looking for butterflies. We saw and photographed Monarchs, crescents, Cabbage Whites, Clouded and Orange Sulphurs, Eastern Tailed Blues and, best of all, at least two Common Buckeyes! Continue reading
By the end of August, Hurdman is still a better place for bugs than birds, although even butterfly and dragonfly species are beginning to decrease. I haven’t seen many of either, with Eastern Tailed Blues, Cabbage Whites, Common Ringlets, and Northern Crescents being the only butterflies I’ve noticed in the second half of the month. The only notable dragonflies I’ve seen are Common Pondhawk and Shadow Darner, two species which aren’t very common in this area. There are still Eastern Forktails and Powdered Dancers around, too, but the skimmers seem to have all vanished.
The following day I visited Jack Pine Trail. I decided to go later in the day in the hopes of seeing some different species; however, there were few birds to be seen, with only common species such as Blue Jays, chickadees, robins and Cedar Waxwings along the trails. Fortunately, there were plenty of butterflies, dragonflies, and other unusual insects around to make up for the lack of birds. Common whitetails, Twelve-spotted Skimmers and White-faced Meadowhawks were the most abundant dragonflies, while Eastern Forktails were the only damselflies I identified. In the butterfly department, Cabbage Whites, Northern Crescents, a single Viceroy, and two skipper species – Least and Dun Skippers – were present throughout the conservation area. I also found two Eastern Tailed Blues in different areas, a species I had not encountered here before.
The 27th of July was our last day in the park. I was sad to be leaving, and after Doran and I had our breakfast we quickly broke down our camp and packed everything in the car. My Dad still had to pack up his site and stow everything securely in the trailer, so Doran and I went back to the Whiskey Rapids Trail. As we were there earlier in the day the biting insects weren’t so bad, and the light was much better for photography by the time we reached the rapids. This time I brought my net to catch some dragonflies.
In early July, during the week, of course, a rare bird showed up on the Carp River floodplain near the intersection of Carp and March Roads. At first it was identified as a Glossy Ibis, a species I have never seen before, but as birders obtained better views of the bird they confirmed it was a White-faced Ibis. This was a first ever record for the Ottawa area, and given that I had already seen one before in Amherstburg last year, I decided not to try to see the bird until the weekend. Another contributing factor was that I was suffering from an allergic reaction to a couple of really bad insect bites on my legs from my outing at Petrie Island and was doped up on Benadryl. Further, the ibis often left the floodplain area between 6:00 and 7:00 pm to roost elsewhere and I couldn’t be sure that it would be there when I arrived after work.
My garden continues to host a number of fascinating insects, arachnids, birds and mammals. The blossoming flowers attract many of the insects; Columbine, Veronica, Cleome, and Morning Glories are all in bloom, as are the petunias (right) that I bought in the spring. My bird feeder draws the birds and mammals, mostly chickadees, Chipping Sparrows, squirrels and chipmunks. One night, however, I heard noises from the back garden and when I shone my flashlight into the darkness I saw two raccoons scrambling to climb up the fence! They had knocked over my small birdbath, so I’m not sure if they were after something to drink or just mischief in general. One seemed a bit smaller than the other, perhaps one of this year’s young, and after they climbed the fence they disappeared. I didn’t get any photos, but here are some of the other critters that have visited my garden in early July.
I spent the last weekend in June in Cambridge to spend some time with my family. My mother was getting married, my sister was in town for the ceremony, and of course I intended to spend time with my father as well. The wedding – held at the fountain in Cambridge – was lovely. Although the sky threatened, the rain held off all day. I saw my sister-in-law and my 11-month-old niece Lilly at the wedding, as well as various family and friends.
The day after the wedding my fiancé and I visited my Dad’s new trailer at the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area. We went for a walk to see some of the area, and of course I took my camera with me.