During the third week of August I spent some time at my Dad’s trailer in the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area near Glen Morris, Ontario. Although more of a campground/recreation area than a conservation area, it is nevertheless a great spot to spend a few days and see some “southern” wildlife. The last time I was here (August 2014) I was treated to the antics of a couple of juvenile Broad-winged Hawks, found a small pond where female Black-tipped Darners laid their eggs in the late afternoon, observed a Blue-winged Warbler on a morning walk, saw my first Red-spotted Purple butterfly, and even saw a bat near one of the washroom lights after dark. I didn’t see any Broad-winged Hawks or cool southern bird species this time, but I still ended up with 28 species over three days – the same number I saw in 2014. Here are some of the interesting creatures that I saw on my trip.
Although many birders consider the breeding season to be rather slow, I enjoy going out in June and July as many of our breeding birds are still singing, and there is always a chance of finding an active nest or some newly fledged birds being fed or taking their first flights under the watchful eyes of their parents. These months are also good for seeing butterflies and dragonflies, so even if I don’t find any baby birds, there is always something interesting to catch my attention!
I was still on vacation on Friday, July 25th and went to Mud Lake with the hope of seeing some interesting odonates. I came up with a good list, including Northern Spreadwing, Marsh Bluet, Hagen’s Bluet, Powdered Dancer, Eastern Forktail, Common Green Darner, Eastern Pondhawk, Dot-tailed Whiteface, White-faced Meadowhawk, Autumn Meadowhawk, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, and Common Whitetail. I did not see any clubtails.
Since I first discovered the Eastern Kingbird nest on June 4, 2013, I have only been able to visit it a couple of times. This is probably just as well, since nesting birds are better off left undisturbed – even by amateur naturalists who have only the best intentions and birds’ best interests at heart.
When I first saw the nest on June 4th, one adult was present and was keeping quite close to the nest, although she was not yet incubating. When I returned on June 12th, she was sitting on an undetermined number of eggs. Eastern Kingbirds lay two to five eggs; the incubation period lasts 14-17 days and the nestling period lasts 16-17 days. When I returned on June 19th, the eggs had not yet hatched and one adult was sitting patiently in the nest despite the sweltering heat.