Saturday, August 3, 2013

Azure Expedition

There has been one glaring gap in my Algonquin Park ode list – the only species I can get somewhat reliably, reasonably close and this late in the summer. Azure Bluet is mainly a species of fishless ponds, often small and temporary.

The single location where they are regularly found in Algonquin involves a 10 km round trip walking on logging roads, at the end of which is a series of little fishless ponds.

On July 31st Ian Shanahan and I were able to devote a good chunk of time to get to the location. After a walk with a wide variety of odes and butterflies as well as a few birds including a Cape May Warbler, we arrived at the spot and immediately started seeing male Azures.

Oddly, one had a divided shoulder stripe – not something mentioned in either of the excellent guides available for damselflies – Ed Lam’s “Damselflies of the Northeast” and Dennis Paulson’s “Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East”.

This was my 92nd park ode and Ian’s 91st. To make a good day better, a passing bear researcher saved us the long walk back to the parking lot. Then, to make a great day amazing, I made two more awesome finds at the visitor centre later that afternoon.

Quite a few Aeshna darners were flying around, and I was amazed to net this male Lance-tipped Darner. This may be only the second record of this species on the west side of Algonquin Park. That’s all I’ll say about it for now as I have a post about this exciting genus planned as soon as I get a couple more photos I need.

Finally, I came across a male and female Eastern Tailed Blue. This tiny butterfly has always been extremely rare in Algonquin, but seems to be making an incursion this year. I’ve seen at least five so far this summer.

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