Great Egret

Great Egret

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Photographing an American Lady...

....butterfly, that is. The periodic warmer weather has certainly brought out the butterflies. Some overwintered as adults, while others likely migrated on the brisk, warm southwesterly winds of recent days.

Eastern Commas and Mourning Cloaks are typical overwintering butterflies, and they are fairly regular in sunnier sections of woodland trails these days. Often they are just sunning, especially on a cool day....
Eastern Comma
 ....but on occasion they find something delectable to sample.

Mourning Cloak
Red Admiral
I did see a couple of Spring Azures, or whatever the taxonomists are referring to them as now. Apparently there has been some significant taxonomic revisions going on recently.
Celastrina sp
 But the surprise lep of the day was not one, but two American Ladies, at Rondeau. One was on the Spicebush Trail, and the other in the Group Campground. They are fairly unusual this early in April. Since they don't normally overwinter in Ontario, presumably this one caught a ride on a southwest wind.

Another early surprise was this Swamp Darner, about the largest dragonfly to be found in southwestern Ontario. I knew several had been seen a day or so earlier, so it wasn't a total surprise. Normally they don't appear in Ontario until May, although they are known to occur in April in Ohio. They are migratory as well, so likely also caught a good southerly wind. The particularly cool morning on this day kept it quite motionless for a convenient photo op.

Warblers have not been plentiful yet, but that will change. I only saw this one migrant Yellow-rumped Warbler on my most recent visit. It was searching for insects at the edge of a wetland.
Turkey Vultures are of course plentiful, and are fun to photograph against a bright blue sky.
Shorebirds have not been plentiful, as wet fields and other areas are scarce right now in Chatham-Kent. But a small wet spot adjacent to a grassy field near Blenheim attracted 16 Pectoral Sandpipers as well as a Greater Yellowlegs a few days ago.

Horned Grebes are plentiful, and some are in nicely attired breeding plumage.
The ongoing White-winged Dove at Rondeau is cooperative for most people searching for it. On occasion it even provides a photo op in nice light!


  1. Looks like you've been seeing some good stuff Allen. Interesting, I didn't realize that it was early for American Lady. Had one here on the 10th. I finally took the plunge to try something new and put in on ebutterfly :-)

    1. Thanks, Jonathan. It isn't exceptionally early, but a little earlier than normal in my experience. The ROM lep guide indicates the second week of April is good, and I expect it largely depends on those southwesterly winds.

      I've got to get onto ebutterfly and enter some stuff before I get too backlogged!

  2. I hope that WWDO hangs around until I get down to Rondeau on the 29th! Maybe I'll see you then.

    1. I think it is very likely the WWDO will be around on the 29th....but with birds, there are no guarantees of course :-). If I'm at the park that day, I will be on the lookout for you.