Friday, June 29, 2012

New to the Thunder Bay District...the Red Saddlebags

'Just a quick note as we pack up for a weekend excursion. A few days ago I caught a glimpse of a fast-flying mostly-red Tramea along the Pic River, just east of Marathon. I was intrigued as this southern genus is scarcely known from northern Ontario. In the Thunder Bay District we have but two records of a single species, the Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata).

Today while I was searching for orchids in the lee of the Horseshoe Bay dunes at Pukaskwa N.P. (48.59249, -86.29847), I again encountered mostly-red saddlebags on the wing...awesome! Even better, I had a net at hand and two individuals were low and slow.

I know very little about these exotic skimmers. I have tentatively ID'd them as Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta), a new species to the Thunder Bay District...but I could be mistaken.

Pukaskwa N.P. June 29, 2012

Related: New to the Thunder Bay District...the Spot-wing Glider (with notes on the Wandering Glider).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Some exotica (birds and odes) from southern Ontario

Last week we took a swing south to Manitoulin Island and then through the upper Ottawa Valley and Rideau Lakes regions. For the first time since our move to the north four years ago, the lush hardwood forests of the south seemed somewhat exotic and especially diverse - such a sharp contrast to spruce-lichen dominated landscape that's become home.

Regardless of where one lives in Ontario, the June-July emergence of dragonflies is a wonder. The clubtails are a favourite of mine. Here are a few photos from the upper Ottawa Valley.

[click on images to enlarge]
Moustached Clubtail female near Mattawa.
Moustached Clubtail male near Mattawa.
Moustached Clubtail male near Mattawa.
Moustached Clubtail male near Mattawa.
Freshly eclosed Dragonhunter near Mattawa.
Harlequin Darner near Petawawa.
Most of the birding was incidental and most species were seen and/or heard through an open car window. In the Rideau Lakes area, near our family cottage, I did visit known locations for several warbler species - Golden-winged, Cerulean and Prairie (h/t to James Holdsworth) - that I hadn't seen since relocating to the north. These were easily found as the males were still singing on territory. A bonus was a strident Louisiana Waterthrush that was entirely unexpected along a backroad a few kms north-east of Chaffey's Lock.
Brewer's Blackbird near Gore Bay.
Prairie Warbler near Kaladar,  June 12.
GWWA from Bobcaygeon - not a photo from this trip.
CERW from Quackenbush P.P. - another recycled photo.