Saturday, September 24, 2016

3rd annual Monarch Trip to Point Pelee

Spent ~ a week at Pelee searching for butterflies and other goodies... It was HOT every single day! Excessive sunshine and often accompanied by light winds... Here are some highlights/rundowns:


Silver-spotted Skipper - abundant... possibly more so than any previous trip to the park

Horace's Duskywing - 2 females near the tip on Wednesday

Wild Indigo Duskywing - irregular sightings... as expected, much more common outside the park

Common Checkered Skipper - 5+ obs inside the park... regular observations outside the park

Least Skipper

Fiery Skipper - regular observations both inside and outside the park (more common outside)

Black Swallowtail - a few inside the park

Giant Swallowtail - frequent observations. Some very fresh, some very worn. What generation are these???

Spicebush Swallowtail - frequent observations. More than I would have expected.

Cabbage White

Clouded Sulphur - less than expected inside the park. One at the tip.

Orange Sulphur

Little Yellow - one mostly white female at NW beach. Unexpected/exciting!

Cloudless Sulphur - male at the very tip on Tuesday. My first for Ontario (overdue?) but very exciting!!!

Gray Hairstreak - frequent sightings. Max count of ~25 on Tuesday (!!) Some very fresh.

Bronze Copper - 2 obs inside the park

Eastern Tailed Blue - abundant inside the park. Many more than normal.

Azure sp.

Crescent sp.

Question Mark - very few observations

Eastern Comma - several obs

Mourning Cloak - few/irregular sightings

American Lady - few/irregular sightings

Painted Lady - one

Red Admiral - few/irregular sightings

Common Buckeye - regular observations both inside and outside the park

Red-spotted Purple - one (worn)


American Snout - 5-10 observations over the week (fresh)

Hackberry Emperor - several obs (worn)

Monarch - NO clusters. Regular observations of low numbers everywhere (foraging, migrating etc). A lack of suitable winds may explain it... Also somewhat low numbers this year (??) but I did have a few thousand at Wheatley waay back on the 14th, moving along the lakeshore...


Sporadic casual observations. The highlights/notable species:

Common Green Darner - abundant, but (perhaps?) far fewer than I would have expected.
Green-striped Darner - 1
Swamp Darner - ~5 obs.
Red Saddlebags - irregular but near-daily observations
Carolina Saddlebags - perhaps 50% more than Red, but surprisingly close numbers
Black Saddlebags - abundant
Wandering Glider - regular/abundant
Spot-winged Glider - Abundant

(no striped saddlebags)


Casual observation & notes:

Waterfowl: nothing unexpected. Sporadic observations from Blue-winged Teal to a (seemingly?) early Common Merganser

Loons/Grebes: A few Horned, but generally scarce. No loons??

Other waterbirds: A few Great Egrets and low-ish numbers of Cormorants around...

Raptor Migration: nothing spectacular but the point always had falcons, sharpies, osprey, harriers, eagles etc about... Often providing some excellent entertainment.

Shorebirds: limited habitat and observations. ~26-28 Sanderling at Wheatley Harbour, then later at the tip - were a nice bunch. 1 Am. Golden Plover flyby....

Gulls: 1 Great Black-backed x Herring hybrid and a max (daily) count of 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on our first day (Saturday). LBBG's were a daily occurrence. Small #'s of Bonies.

Owls: one day-calling E. Screech Owl near the tip, and one dusk-calling Great Horned Owl at the marsh tower were highlights.

Swifts/Hummingbirds - steady migration most days

Crow's/Jays - great views of the long-staying Fish Crow at the tip. Large Blue Jay migration underway, which seemingly started before Mid-Sept.

Passerine Migration: surprising numbers most days, given the seemingly poor conditions... Blackpoll Warblers outnumbered all other warblers combined. Careful observations would yield a steady selection of many families, but we often didn't put in the work to find them. A few days had sizable reorientation flights of Warblers, including a group of 100+ Blackpolls that left the tip together one morning... 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher also did the "reverse migration" thing one morning.


Map Turtle - a few outside the park
Melanistic Garter Snake - only one
Fox Snake - one near the tip. Perhaps 2.5 to 3 feet long.
other expected species...


Nothing unexpected. Mink, bats, deer, etc.


One mystery dead fish at the tip...  (see earlier post)
Several mystery living fish at the marsh boardwalk while hunting for Species at Risk... (stay tuned!)

Other notes:

The stable flies at the tip on Wednesday were BY FAR - the WORST I have ever seen... They were covering 50-75% of exposed pant legs and getting up into your hair... Not only that, but they were covering everything else - signs, garbage cans, the tram, flowers etc. (!!!)

By Friday, the tip was (perhaps) the longest I have ever seen it!

Uber-tame Fish Crow!


I'll get some lep photos online next...


  1. Nice haul. Consider posting your lep sightings on the ontario butterfly google group? I havent heard of anybody seeing Horaces or Cloudless yet this year. Hoping for them in Norfolk one of these days!

  2. Nice haul. Consider posting your lep sightings on the ontario butterfly google group? I havent heard of anybody seeing Horaces or Cloudless yet this year. Hoping for them in Norfolk one of these days!

    1. I thought about it, and then didn't... I've been feeling a bit down on listserv's in recent months... Perhaps it's just a phase?

      (I somewhat hoped that - for those really keen on leps - they'd eventually hear about it in a round-about-blog way...)