Great Egret

Great Egret

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Rondeau, end of spring

It is that time of year again when in less than 48 hours, the days will start to be shorter. Not that anyone will really notice for a few weeks, fortunately.

I've been out in the field a fair bit (more on that in a future post), but only at Rondeau on fewer occasions than normal. Nonetheless, there is always lots to see there!

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird is nesting in a quite accessible location along the South Point Trail. After checking her a couple of times, I think she is still incubating, but that may soon change, and hopefully I will be able to catch some of the feeding action.
There are a lot of butterflies along this trail, using the combination of woodland edge adjacent to an extended shrubby habitat, which results in lots of sunny areas. It is always a good strategy to keep an eye on animal poop on the trail, and not just so that you don't step in it. Butterflies are attracted to it! In the following photos, Northern Crescents are sipping away at this delicacy...judging by the amount of what appeared to be deer hair in it, it was likely the scat of a coyote. At times these attractions can be quite busy, with at least 4 crescents in the one photo, and a Question Mark is approaching this buffet in the third photo.

There are often swallowtail butterflies along this trail.
Giant Swallowtail
One seldom gets a chance to capture more than one species side by side, but on one occasion recently two species obliged. There was no special choreographic effort to get them so was simply a matter of waiting until the wind either subsided or blew them over simultaneously.
Eastern Tiger (l) and Giant (r)
Along the woodland edges, Canada Anemone is often prolific.

A brief stop at the Visitor Centre resulted in an encounter with three freshly emerged Red-spotted Purple butterflies. For some reason they were more interested in the boardwalk behind the VC than the surrounding vegetation.
The sloughs along the Tuliptree Trail were a good spot to see dragonflies. A large number of Blue Dashers had recently emerged and were fighting for their territories. They are medium sized dragonflies that have the characteristic pose showing their wings angled forward.
Blue Dasher female
Blue Dasher male
Common Whitetail female
On occasion, Blanding's Turtles can be seen basking in the bigger sloughs. 
Also on the boardwalk over the slough one often sees these Six-spotted Tiger Beetles, which interestingly enough often have more than six spots!

At another trail parking area, I noted a lot of bees buzzing and cruising just above the vegetation. It turns out that it was a colony of Digger Bees. They are often found in drier sandy soil with low, patchy vegetation, where the females dig into the sand so they can lay an egg. Fortunately they seldom sting, although like most bees, will do so if they feel threatened or provoked. Note the one bee right at the entrance while another hovers slightly above and to the right of the sandy mound.
Towards the north end of the park, several of us have been hearing and watching a pair of Acadian Flycatchers. This species is endangered in Canada and Ontario. Rondeau has long been known as a stronghold for them. There are usually at least a couple of nests noted along accessible trails each year, so given the amount of unexplored good habitat elsewhere in the park there are likely several more pairs nesting annually. Fortunately efforts in recent decades have shown that they are more widely scattered across southern Ontario than they were once thought to be. They almost always nest in an American Beech tree, often over the edge of a slough. For some reason one of the pairs decided that the edge of the road was appropriate. Note the location of the nest as indicated by the white arrow. It is easily identified by nesting material hanging well below the actual nest.

Here's hoping that they produce some young Acadians, rather than cowbirds!


  1. Amazing what one can find on any given day--if you keep your
    eyes open ! [ and carry a great camera :} ]
    Enjoyed the Blog !

    1. Thanks can hike the trails daily and see new stuff, that is for sure, and is the reason why I like to keep going back, and back and back.....