Great Egret

Great Egret

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Sewage lagoons are good for more than birds.....

Today I went to the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. I noted via Blake's blog that earlier in the week had been good for Common Checkered Skipper. Other commentors had indicated that it was present recently in higher numbers than usual in Essex County. I wanted to see if I could find a cooperative one or two for my camera.

This is a small, but gorgeous little butterfly. I had seen some several years ago near the Blenheim Landfill, and had a single but worn specimen at the sewage lagoons last year. It is a challenge to photograph, but worth trying for. So today butterflies, rather than birds, were my target at these lagoons.

And I was not disappointed. I actually had about 14 species of butterfly in my limited area of coverage.....a lot more than I had a few weeks ago during the official butterfly count.

The first winged invertebrates to greet me were the abundant Cabbage Whites, and Orange Sulphurs. The edges of the path were littered with damselflies......many hundreds of them. I didn't bother to photograph many, but I got this pair of Bluet types.

Grasshoppers were almost as abundant as the damselflies....all sizes of them.

But butterflies were the target, and before too long I found a couple of Common Checkered Skippers. The bluish-gray hairs combined with the dark gray and white checkered pattern is very striking.

The underside isn't quite as striking, but distinctive just the same. I came across at least 8 of these beauties.

A little farther down the path, I came across Bronze Coppers. There were at least 4-5 of them here and there.
Bronze Copper male

Bronze Copper female

Bronze Copper underside

A little later, I encountered some Common Sootywings. They didn't stay in one spot very long, and this photo is one from my yard a couple of days ago (first for my yard list). I saw at least 4 of them today.

I also got European Skipper, which I didn't get a photo of, and this next one, which I think is a Peck's. Not the most conclusive angle, unfortunately.

The obligatory Monarch, Viceroy, Black Swallowtail, 'Summer' Crescents and Red Admiral were all present.
Black Swallowtail


Oh and there were a few typical birds too, but I didn't come across anything out of the ordinary. The only thing 'noteworthy' was a huge influx of gulls, easily more than 1000 and mostly Ring-billed, that came swooping in from the south and were hovering at various altitudes.


  1. I saw about a dozen checkered skippers on Friday on my brief visit to the lagoons. Seemed to be more of them than shorebirds!

    1. It is nice to have so many of these colourful little leps to enjoy for a change. With so few shorebirds, however, it should be easy to pick out a Common Ringed Plover......:-).