Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mid-summer Rarities

 The obsession of many of Algonquin Park’s current generation of naturalists is odes (dragonflies and damselflies for the uninitiated). In particular, the lifetime species lists for Algonquin Park have become very competitive. As I result, I was especially excited recently to come across two additions to my list, bringing it to 91 odes seen in the park. There are only about 10 more species that are not vagrants or virtually impossible to find.

Brush-tipped Emerald is an uncommon species in Algonquin, and I was happy to come across four over a day of exploring some sedgy beaver meadows.

On the other hand, Widow Skimmer is an extremely rare species in Algonquin with only a single vagrant from its normal environs farther south reported in the past six years. On the 23rd we had the morning off before a program in the evening so Peter Mills and I went looking for odes. While tramping through a beaver meadow with a very northern mix of plants (Sweetgale, sedges, sundew, Black Spruce and Tamarack) we were shocked to catch a glimpse of the incongruous but unmistakeable wing pattern of a male Widow Skimmer! Unfortunately Peter’s excited swing knocked its head right off.

On the subject of southern species in northern landscapes, I was amazed to see this Common Buckeye in the Visitor Centre parking lot. Although this species is extremely rare in Algonquin Park, it is actually the tenth individual I’ve seen here.

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