We saw lots of damselflies, however, mostly Stream Bluets, Powdered Dancers and Eastern Forktails. I spotted a small butterfly perching on a leaf near the water and was happy to find my first hairstreak of the year. Hairstreaks belong to a group called the gossamer-winged butterflies and are closely related to the small blue butterflies often seen in the woods and in open areas. This one was a Banded Hairstreak, which is relatively common in our area.
I also found an Emerald Spreadwing resting in the vegetation and was able to net it. A little further along the trail Mike pointed out a brilliant Ebony Jewelwing perching on a leaf in the sun. It didn’t sit still for very long and kept flying from leaf to leaf.
Last year we didn’t spend any time hiking the trail that follows the river; this time we did, as we were waiting for it to warm up a bit before heading over to the five-arch stone bridge at Pakenham. A couple of small channels of water break off from Mississippi River, and a couple of bridges span these channels. This looked like great dragonfly habitat!
We found another Ebony Jewelwing perching in a shrub above the water, and our first Violet Dancer of the outing. He was perching on the wooden railing as we walked by, and seemed disinclined to move even after several people (including a couple of fishermen) walked across the narrow bridge.
The trail ends at large set of rapids on the river. The amount of water pouring through them was amazing; it was difficult to hear anything over the roar of the water. We found several Powdered Dancers in the area, including one that flew up onto my net and hitched a ride with me for a couple of metres.
We spent about an hour in the park before driving back to the bridge in Pakenham. The water was much higher this year, so we weren’t able to walk out onto the rocks and search for clubtails. We found several Lancet Clubtails perching on the ground, however, as well as several Dot-tailed Whitefaces, Widow Skimmers, and one Eastern Pondhawk.
We scanned the vegetation for damselflies, and I caught a female Rainbow Bluet to show the group. Chris pointed out a Skimming Bluet near the water. These bluets resemble Stream Bluets but are smaller, and lack the black triangle on top of the 8th segment.
At one point Chris and Bob noticed a Cyrano Darner fly by while we were crossing beneath the bridge. I looked up in time to see a large dragonfly zoom under the bridge and disappear, never to return. Chris and Bob had had a Cyrano Darner on a previous outing to the Pakenham Bridge, and a second one near the Morris Island Conservation Area.
This Milkweed Beetle was my first of the season, so I took a couple of pictures of him.
For the second year in a row the large river clubtails (such as Mustached, Rapids and Cobra Clubtails) failed to put in an appearance. Still, we were putting together a nice list of species. After stopping at Scoops to refresh ourselves with some fabulous ice cream, we headed north to the Morris Island Conservation Area to see what goodies we could find!