Tag Archive | Blue Dashers

Blue Dashers Emerge!

Blue Dasher

On June 16th I visited Petrie Island to look for birds and bugs. While the birds were my primary focus this outing, I was curious as to whether any Blue Dashers were present. I was hoping that last year’s colony had successfully reproduced, and given that my Algonquin field guide indicates they fly in June, this seemed as good a time as any to check.

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Shorebird Migration at Shirley’s Bay

I spent the following weekend at Shirley’s Bay and Mud Lake. On Saturday, Melanie and I went birding together and started off our morning with a trip to the Shirley’s Bay dyke to look for shorebirds. We were not disappointed – we tallied 13 species, and 41 species total! Although it was only the first week of August, shorebird migration was in full swing! Our first shorebird species was an American Woodcock in the woods about halfway to the dyke. There were a few puddles on the path, and I was busy watching these instead of the vegetation next to the path. I was taken completely by surprise when a bird flew up from my feet and disappeared into the woods! I got enough of a glimpse of it to see the really long bill, the shape (it was definitely a snipe or a woodcock) and rusty red colours on the underside. Given its location (i.e. the middle of the woods rather than open marsh or fields) and the rusty colouration, it was certainly an American Woodcock…my first lifer of the day!
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More Dragonfly Discoveries…

I went back to Petrie Island the following day, July 3, 2011, to look for Blue Dashers and conduct a count. I started at the marshy area along the west side of the causeway where I observed two male Blue Dashers perching on vegetation above the water, occasionally flying out to chase another insect. I also heard a pair of Virginia Rails calling from among the cattails, and managed to coax one out into the open by playing a recording of its song. I wish that all of the rails were so easy to see! A Great Blue Heron and a single Wood Duck were also present, and again I saw a Green Heron flying to the back of the marsh. There was no sign of the Black Tern I had seen the previous day.

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A Dashing Discovery

After a relatively uneventful outing on Saturday I decided to head out to the east end on Sunday. I hadn’t been to Petrie Island in a few months, and as it’s one of the best spots for dragonflies along the Ottawa River I thought I would check it out see what was around. Petrie Island is also home to the Hackberry Emperor, a beautiful butterfly which depends on Hackberry trees as its larval foodplant. Petrie Island is the only place in the Ottawa area with a mature stand of Hackberry trees, and as such it is the only place in Ottawa where the Hackberry Emperor is found. I wasn’t sure whether this butterfly would be flying yet, but thought it would be worth checking.

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