Fragile Forktail Confirmed!

Spotted Sandpiper

After discovering the Saffron-winged Meadowhawks and Eastern Amberwings on Sunday July 30th, I returned again Friday after work, as well as on Saturday and Sunday. I checked the small crescent bay each time for the meadowhawks, to no avail; in fact, I didn’t see any meadowhawks on any of my visits at all. I got lucky and found one of the male Eastern Amberwings on the same mat of vegetation on Friday after work, but didn’t see any females. The male amberwing was much further out this time, and as it was an overcast afternoon, the resulting pictures weren’t as nice as the ones from my previous encounter.

Eastern Amberwing

I found a male Chickweed Geometer moth on Friday as well. These small moths are quite colourful, and the males can be distinguished by their feathery antennae. This is the second year in a row that I’ve seen them at the ponds.

Chickweed Geometer

I returned to the peninsula on the edge of the central pond where I had found the female spreadwing on a previous visit, but once again I found no spreadwings. I did, however, find a tiny Fragile Forktail gliding low among the weeds, confirming their presence at the ponds. I had seen one several years ago prior to the reconstruction, so I was happy to see that the population had either survived or re-established itself.

Fragile Forktail

This is a male, based on the green thorax and lack of ovipositor at the tip of the abdomen – females are typically blue instead of green. Both have exclamation points on top of the thorax, which distinguishes them from the more common Eastern Forktail.

Fragile Forktail

I stopped by again early on Saturday morning, which was sunnier and windier, so I didn’t see many dragonflies. I was happy to find a mother Mallard swimming with four ducklings, as well as this adult Black-crowned Night-heron hunting in the same area where I usually see the Green Heron.

Black-crowned Night-heron

My best find of the day was this White-spotted Sable Moth, a small, pretty moth that has a habit of hiding behind blades of grass or underneath leaves where it is difficult to photograph them.

White-spotted Sable

Although the morning not great for seeing the larger odes, it was good for seeing Eastern Forktails in the tall vegetation. I think this orange female is one of our prettier damselflies.

Eastern Forktail

Chicory was in bloom, and I also found an interesting bee (species unknown)….

Bee sp.

…and a hover fly (species also unknown) feeding on the pollen.

Hover Fly Sp.

My best find on Sunday was a fresh Wild Indigo Duskywing. Although I’ve been looking for them, this was my first confirmed sighting of the 2017 season. The caterpillars feed on Crown Vetch, of which there is an abundance here, particularly on the point on the east side of the pond.

Wild Indigo Duskywing

The usual birds were present, and I got a nice photo of a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper working its way around the rocks of the central pond. Juveniles lack the spots of the adults, and their back and wing feathers have a crisp scalloped appearance. I wondered whether this bird hatched here at the ponds, or was a migrant – in August shorebirds are already moving south on migration, so this individual could either be a migrant or a resident.

Spotted Sandpiper

I was glad to confirm that both Wild Indigo Duskywings and Fragile Forktails were still present in the area, and to see another Eastern Amberwing. The ponds have become one of my favourite birding and nature spots, and with plenty of time left in the ode season and shorebird migration on the horizon, it will be a great place for studying wildlife for the next few months!

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