Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back to the land of Spruce, Moose and Bedrock

On Sunday I headed up to Algonquin Park for my third summer of working as a park naturalist. Algonquin Park is one of my favourite places; nothing really compares to stepping outside and breathing in the fresh air. I've heard 13 species of warbler singing on territory from my bedroom window and see Moose almost every day.

As usual, odes have been my main focus. Algonquin Park is one of the best spots in Ontario for dragonflies and damselflies with a diverse combination of northern and southern species, although the nutrient-poor bedrock limits some species of rich wetlands. On June 26 a day trip to another section of the park on my day off with Peter Mills and Lev Frid was very productive.

Delta-spotted Spiketail is one of our most impressive dragonflies.

Harpoon Clubtail is a rather rare species in Algonquin but we found a number at two different locations. Also featured is a bloody blackfly bite on my thumb!

Beaverpond Clubtail is essentially identical to the previous species but differs in the shape of its genitalia as well as habitat preference (beaver ponds instead of flowing streams)

Elegant Spreadwing is one of three spreadwings that emerge early in the summer. We also found the other two, Amber-winged and Emerald Spreadwing.

Dot-tailed Whiteface is often the most abundant dragonfly in far southern Ontario but barely makes it this far north. This is the first I've seen in Algonquin Park.

Hudsonian Whiteface is a very early species that is already almost done its flight season for 2013. We also saw many Crimson-ringed, Frosted and Belted Whitefaces to complete the set of 5 whitefaces found in Southern Ontario.

Elfin Skimmer females mimic a wasp with their tiny size and black-and-yellow stripes.

Other sightings included Mourning Warbler and my first ever Silvery Checkerspot.

A Viceroy, which is a Mullerian Mimic of Monarch butterflies was also present to remind us of the tenuous status of the latter species. Although they were probably the most common butterfly last summer, I have not seen a single one anywhere this year yet. My first Monarch of 2012 was at the end of April.

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