Friday, July 1, 2011

June 30th: Dive bombing terns, turtles, insects, and a crow....but which species?

Midland Painted Turtle in the Point Pelee Marsh. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.

I had the morning of June 30th off so I went into Pelee for a bit.

At this time of year I like to check out the marsh boardwalk for turtles, frogs, dragonflies and of course Black Terns! The terns were definitely there and they don't like you around while they are nesting. Not only did they dive bomb me, but I could feel them hit my hat, my ponytail and even my camera! (there is even a scratch on my camera). Not only were the terns busy with nesting, but the Red-winged Blackbirds, Swamp Sparrows, Barn Swallows, and Common Yellowthroats were all involved with parenthood. The only turtle I saw was a Painted Turtle soaking in some morning sun.

Black Tern hovering...and watching my every move. Photo by Marianne Balkwill
Male Common Yellowthroat. Photo by Marianne Balkwill
Male Eastern Pondhawk on the marsh boardwalk in Point Pelee. Photo by Marianne Balkwill

After the marsh I drove down to the Visitor Centre parking lot. As soon as I parked I saw them....Swarms of Deer Flies around my car, and once I opened the door at least 5 came in with me! After applying a ton of Muskol I headed down the west beach trail to the tip in search of butterflies. There were not as many out as I expected. Summer Azures, a couple of Red-spotted Purples, a couple of Giant Swallowtails, and a few Hackberry Emperors were the highlight. There were not many dragonflies. Birds included all the local residents, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Kingbirds to name a few.

Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom along west beach trail, Point Pelee. Photo by Marianne Balkwill

Female Meadowhawk. Probably Ruby Meadowhawk?. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.

When I got to the tip, there on the last tree was a crow...a small crow....which crow species was it? Could there possibly be a Fish Crow still lingering around since May? Eventually the crow did take off and the wing beats were faster than your usual crow....Though it did have blackbirds chasing it......sighhh....I guess I will never know since it didn't call.

Crow at the Tip of Point Pelee. Can you just assume it is an American Crow? The bill was rather small, and it did have a rather quick flight. Alas, it did not call. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.

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