Marlborough Wildlife

Great-spangled Fritillary

After my vacation ended and I returned to work, memories of Marlborough Forest continued to distract me. This was by far the best new place I had discovered during the pandemic and I couldn’t wait to return. Even with another hot weekend in store and deer flies and mosquitoes at their peak I dreamed of going back and finding interesting new birds and wildlife in this amazingly diverse place. I returned on Sunday, June 28th after a successful morning birding in Stony Swamp – I got Least Bittern for the year when I saw one fly across the pond at Sarsaparilla Trail, heard a Virginia Rail, and heard a vireo singing just off the parking lot which initially sounded like a Yellow-throated Vireo, but turned out to be a Blue-headed Vireo when I used a Yellow-throated Vireo call to call it in. I normally only see these vireos as migrants at this trail; I’ve never heard one singing here in the summer before, so this was a good bird to find at the trail in late June!

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The OFO Convention

Hundreds of Canada Geese stage in Ottawa during fall migration,

Hundreds of Canada Geese stage in Ottawa during fall migration, giving birders an opportunity to sort through them for different species and odd forms.

Between September 26 and 28, 2014, the Ontario Field Ornithologists hosted their annual convention in Ottawa. While the evening programs included banquets and social events such as the OFO Annual General Meeting, “Birds and Beers”, “Birding Jeopardy” with Sarah Rupert, presentations from Bruce Di Labio and keynote speaker Chris Earley (whose books I own!), and the presentation of the Distinguished Ornithologist Award, the majority of the daylight hours were spent birding Ottawa’s hot spots with leaders provided from the OFNC, the Club des ornithologues de l’Outaouais, Bird Studies Canada, the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists, the Innis Point Bird Observatory, and the Wild Bird Care Center. I was co-leader with various other OFNC members for trips on each of the three days, with full day trips to the East End on Friday and Sunday and an afternoon walk along the Ottawa River on Saturday.

The weather was fantastic all three days, and although most birders would agree that a cold north wind would have helped to bring in the migrants, I don’t think too many people complained about the hot, sunny 27°C afternoons.

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Presqu’ile Part III: The Butterfly Field

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

Butterflies of the Burnt Lands

On July 9th I visited the Burnt Lands alvar via Ramsay Concession 12 near Panmure. I hadn’t been here in a few years, and was mainly looking for butterflies. I made a few stops along the way, such as Huntmar Road where I saw a family of five Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Gourlay Lane where I found a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a pair of Indigo Buntings. I used to visit the ruins here in previous summers as it is a good spot to see Indigo Buntings, but at some point someone blocked off access to the field leading to ruins with “No Trespassing” signs and signs asking people to call a certain telephone number if they saw anyone trespassing. I was disappointed, and soon left. On the way to Panmure I saw a couple of Northern Harriers on March Road near Carp, and a pair of American Kestrels and Eastern Meadowlarks near the Upper Dwyer Hill Road.

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