Friday, April 28, 2006

Frontenac Park: 2nd Expedition 2006

Ribbon Snake

Note the brown band below the yellow and
the white on the face that differentiates it
from the Garter Snake

Hover Bee

Fungi growing in the moss

Fiddleheads in the bog

Unidentified Flower

Flowering Tree

Unidentified Flower

Trout Lily
(There were leaves everywhere but very few flowers)

Frontenac Park: Butterflies

Eastern Pine Elfin
(Callophrys niphon)

Juvenal's Duskywing
(Erynnis juvenalis)

There were numerous other butterflies including West Virginia White, Mourning Cloak and Spring Azure.

Frontenac Park: Blanding's Turtle

Blanding's Turtle
(With the smaller Painted Turtle on left)

Blanding's Turtle
(This is a second turtle at the same location)

Blanding's Turtle

The Blanding's Turtle is rare in Ontario so we were pleased to find two of them at this location.

Frontentac Park: Odonates

Common Baskettail
(Epitheca cynosura)

Frosted Whiteface
(Leucorrhinia frigida)

Frosted Whiteface
(Leucorrhinia frigida)

American Emerald
(Cordulia shurtleffii)

American Emerald
(Cordulia shurtleffii)

Ebony Boghaunter

Ebony Boghaunter
(Williamsonia fletcheri)

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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Frontenac Park: The Scenery

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.

Frontenac Park: The Wildflowers



Dutchman's Breeches
(Dicentra Cucullaria)

Spring Beauty
(Claytonia Virginica)

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.

Frontenac Park: The Invertebrates

June Beetle

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).

Frontenac Park: The Mammals

Someone forgot to tell this baby Raccoon that he is nocturnal

Of course there was a large array of Chipmunks, Gray Squirrels, and Red Squirrels. No other mammals, not a single deer.

Frontenac Park: The Reptiles and Amphibians

Northern Ribbon Snake

Midland Painted Turtles


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).

Frontenac Park: The Birds

Hermit Thrush


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.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Once more at the Sewage Lagoon

The Gathering

Birds of a feather may flock together but they don't mind mixing it up a bit either. Here you can see Caspian Terns, Ring-billed Gulls, Canada Geese, Kildeer, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall.

Red-winged Blackbird


Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal

Always something interesting to see at the Amherstview Sewage Lagoons.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Back to the Lagoons with a camera


American Wigeon

Caspian Terns

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.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Spring Migration Continues

Winter Wren
Lemoine Point, Kingston, Ontario

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.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Amherstview Sewage Lagoon

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.