I debated whether to take the dragonfly net with me and decided against it since it seemed too early in the season for dragonflies and there were none last week when I was out in the same area. In the end I left the net behind. I was surprised when I reached the ring bog on the Arkon Lake hiking trail and came across a Frosted Whiteface perched on a low shrub. The temperature was only about plus 5 C and it had been a cool night. Shortly after this my son (home for the summer from his Wildlife Biology course and awaiting his summer job as a park naturalist in Algonquin) found an Ebony Boghaunter. Dunkle says that these are rare and local inhabitants of northeastern bogs, so we were both happy to be able to add this one to our life list. Dunkle says that the Boghaunter appears mid-May so this is a little early. The American Emerald on the other hand is one of the earliest Spring dragonflies and one we have seen before. The Common Baskettail is another early Spring dragonfly. Even without the net the dragonflies could be caught by hand or photographed in place without too much trouble. As the weather warms and they become more active the net will become essential.
I'm not much on scenery but I do like a good swamp (top) and I wanted to get a shot of the Ring Bog that I located today. This is an acid bog with Black Spruce (typical of more northern climes). I'll definitely visit here again to look for Dragonflies and interesting plants.
My identifications of plants and wildflowers are tentative. I couldn't find anything in my guides that looked like the top two but I think the bottom two are correct. They're both listed as very early Spring wildflowers. It is still too early for Mushrooms and it is quite dry, which is not good for fungi.
This seems early for June Beetles but maybe thats why he is lying so still! The Invertebrates that I'm most interested in are the Odonates (Dragonflies and Damselflies) but it is still too early. I carried my net with me just in case but it was a nuisance as I lost it three times. There were lots of Bumble Bees and Hornets, many smaller flying insects but they were not bothersome. Some small moths and one large Butterfly (I think an Admiral of some kind but he flew in and out of my vision very quickly).
Of the six frog species I only saw the Bullfrog and of the five turtle species I only saw the Painted Turtle. There are nine species of snakes but I only saw the Ribbon Snake (and there were quite a few of them).
This was my first day at Frontenac this year so I'll give a complete listing of the birds I saw on my 13 km hike of the Arkon Lake trail: White Breasted Nuthatch, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Mallard, Bufflehead, Crow, Turkey Vulture, Hermit Thrush, Common Grackle, Robin, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Eastern Phoebe, Ruffed Grouse, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Pine Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker. There were a couple of others that I was unable to identify.
This time of year there are always lots of waterfowl at the Amherstview, Ontario, sewage lagoons. The openness of the lagoons and the nervousness of the birds make it difficult to get close up shots. These were taken through a spotting scope and cropped and even so they are none too close. There were lots of Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Mallards, Gadwall, and Northern Pintail as well.
Jumping Spider of some kind Lemoine Point, Kingston, Ontario
I took the two pictures above at Lemoine Point yesterday. The Winter Wren is secretive and very small. I spent about an hour getting close enough to take this distant shot. I first saw it on the edge of a swampy area near a limestone ledge. It always kept low and was very furtive in its movements. It wasn't until another Wren came along that the two became more comfortable with me being there. By the time I was finished I was covered in burrs and had lost my cell phone. An hour's work removed the burrs from my fleece and a kind stranger found my cell phone and turned it in to the police. Does birding kill brain cells???
The small spider above was found in the dragonfly field. There were quite a few of this species and they were always on the move. Many spiders are predatory and don't build webs. This one could move quickly as well as jump when it wanted an extra burst of getaway power.
I went to the Amherstview sewage lagoons this morning to check on the waterfowl. As you can see there are no pictures. I had the scope but forgot the camera (although I had extra batteries for it in my pocket) - what was I saying about brain cells? I was able to add a new species to my list, the Redhead. I also saw numerous pairs of Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, and an American Wigeon.
It was a bright sunny day today but cool with a bit of a breeze. There were lots of waterfowl at the lagoons. Many of the Canada Geese were tagged. The top picture is of a Northern Shoveller amongst a group of Bonaparte's Gulls. The middle picture is an American Coot, a first for me. I also saw numerous Bufflehead, Ring-necked ducks, Scaup, Mallards, and Ring-billed Gulls. Not a bad start to the Spring migration.
"All things are known: the stars’ advice
Calls some content to travel with the winds,
Though what the stars ask as they round
Time upon time the towers of the skies
Is heard but little till the stars go out." Dylan Thomas