|American Golden Plover|
At least three fresh looking Black Swallowtails were active.
And in other news......I spent some time confirming and photographing another rare late summer orchid: Yellow Ladies'-tresses (Spiranthes ochroleuca). It doesn't have any official legal status as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern, but in reality, it should be Endangered as there are fewer than 10 known locations for it in all of Canada, and some of those have likely been lost in the last decade or so. It likes sand plains, and the small population I am aware of occurs on private property, which I had permission from the landowner to check out.
-is slightly creamy yellow (hence the common name);
-is a little deeper yellow in the throat of the flower;
-is a little more humped at the base than others in that genus, and
-when seen from the angle as shown in the second image, shows that the individual flowers are more separated from the one above, sort of stretched out like, compared to other Spiranthes.
Still on the topic of Endangered plants, the next image shows a few clumps of Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus.
It is endangered....sort of. In the previous iteration of Ontario's Endangered Species Act, this species was only legally protected at the two sites where it was considered to be naturally occurring: Point Pelee National Park, and Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve (on Pelee Island). There is definite evidence of the species being planted elsewhere in southern Ontario, which is why those other locations were not legally protected. As far as I am aware, that is the current position under the current piece of legislation. To add some confusion, the federal Species At Risk Act does not seem to make the distinction between naturally occurring and planted, but in reality, the feds, as I recall, do not apply their regulations to jurisdictions that have a similar piece of legislation, unless that jurisdiction shows evidence of failing to apply their legislation. Or something like that, but it has been a few years since I had to deal with such issues on the job. (Have I ever indicated that it is very nice to be retired :-).
At any rate, the evidence for the presence of Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus at the location shown in the photo is such that it may well be a naturally occurring population......it isn't 100% conclusive, but probably 90% or greater. Naturally occurring or not, it is unfortunate that this population which has been present for at least 70 years, is under threat due to improper management and unauthorized soil excavation.
On a brighter note, on the same day of visiting the orchid and cactus, I stopped under the bridge south of Thamesville, which crosses the Thames River. I was looking for damsels, but hoping not to find ones in distress. And I had more success than I expected! This is a known location for some interesting and distinctive damselflies: American Rubyspot and Smoky Rubyspot. There were several American Rubyspots, both male and female, and in spite of their reluctance to let me approach with the macro lens, I did get reasonably close with the 100-400 which has a minimum focus distance of slightly less than a metre, even at 400 mm. This first image is of a male American Rubyspot. It looks a little surreal (I've had comments indicating it looks like a painting...not what a photographer wants to hear his photos compared to, however), but the tan background is the result of the out-of-focus colour of the Thames River.