Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tiger Beetles and More Near Long Point

Last weekend, Todd Hagedorn and I spent a day in the Long Point Area. We had plenty of nice sightings, but the highlight for me were some tiger beetles we came across at St. Williams Conservation Reserve. Tiger Beetles can be found actively hunting in open, exposed areas.

One of Ontario's rarest species is Ghost Tiger Beetle (Cicindela lepida). The rest of our tiger beetles are mostly dark brown, green or purple, but this one is all white with just a few metallic markings on the back.

Ghosts are dwarfed by the Big Sands Tiger Beetle (Cicindela formosa generosa) found in the same habitat.

Festive Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris lecontei) was also present in the same sandy areas.

A new fern for me was Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron). Unlike most of the Asplenium species which are found on rocks and cliffs, Ebony Spleenwort can be found growing in forests and even sometimes in weedy fields.

Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) is a parasitic plant that looks like tangles of orange thread strewn over other plants. Large quantities were growing in various wetland areas that we visited.

There were good numbers of shorebirds at the Townsend Sewage Lagoons, primarily Least Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer. This Dunlin was mixed in, and was mostly still in breeding plumage. It is a fairly odd time for one to show up, and I'm not sure if it's a summering bird or an early fall migrant.

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