Saturday, 2 June 2012

Pronghorn Clubtail and Painted Skimmer

Today I was a leader for a BioBlitz happening at the St.Williams Forestry Tract in Norfolk County. From the advertisement: "A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological inventorying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area." My job was to lead a group of people (turned out to be me +1)with a focus on reptiles and amphibians, while other leaders looked for other things. I pretty much just recorded everything I saw.

As far as reptiles and amphibians went, we didn't find anything terribly exciting - just the common stuff.

Butterflies - 15 species, nothing unusual.

Birds - Pretty much just the expected species, but a highlight for me was my first "orange variant" Scarlet Tanager. Scarlet Tanagers are usually scarlet red with black wings but occasionally an individual will turn up that is orange in colour.

Dragonflies - 10 species, with several highlights for me.

Highlight 1) My first Painted Skimmer. I saw a large dragonfly flying over the open field at St.Williams that had very yellowish wings, that appeared to have markings on them. This darn thing wouldn't land and with it darting all over the place it was hard to get a great look. Never-the-less I'm fairly confident it was a Painted Skimmer due to it's size, behaviour, and wing colouration.

Highlight 2) A Pronghorn Clubtail (photo below) was an unexpected surprise when it landed just in front of us allowing a few photos. A dry open field is not exactly where you expect to see Clubtails, but it happens!

Highlight 3) While watching a Snowberry Clearwing moth visit some flowers a large dragonfly whipped in and grabbed some large prey item. We feared the clearwing ended up as dinner, but it wasn't the case. A Common Green Darner had caught and proceeded to eat a Common Whitetail, a fairly good size meal. Dragonflies truly are voracious predators.

 An Aurora Damsel was also nice to find. This species is identifiable by the lack of postocular spots on the eyes (no blue markings on eyes), and blue over yellow on the thorax. Another clue is that it rests with its wings partly open similiar to a spreadwing.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen Pronghorn clubtail yet around here, but they are fairly common.
    Thanks for the ID on the Lilypad Clubtail! Not sure why I had trouble since I have the Algonquin guide which shows it well!