Friday, 10 July 2015

Gems of Essex County - Butterflies and Plants

I spent the better part of this week in Essex County, Canada's far south, and was able to track down a few rare species including some that barely make it into Canada!  We visited some sites near Windsor including Ojibway Prairie.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Hickory Hairstreak were found in a few locations, this species is designated as Vulnerable in Ontario.

Hickory Hairstreak
Hickory Hairstreak
Definitely the highlight of the trip was catching this Duke's Skipper! It landed on my leg and I quickly captured it with my net for a closer look before letting it go.  This species is designated as Imperiled within Ontario and occurs from only a handful of sites, so it was needless to say a thrill to find!

Duke's Skipper
Duke's Skipper
We also saw several Silver-spotted Skippers, not rare by any means, but a nice one to see!

Silver-spotted Skipper
Banded Hairstreak were the most common hairstreak species we saw on the trip.

Banded Hairstreak
At Ojibway prairie we came across this Cecropia Moth sitting on the trail! This is our largest moth species and it was nearly as big as my hand!

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth
The prairie plants were also exciting, even for a non-plant guy like me!  My friend Andrew Dean pointed out the significance of each with enthusiasm! 

This was my favourite, Ohio Spiderwort! Apparently outside of Windsor it is nearly unheard of!

Ohio Spiderwort
I never get sick of Butterfly Milkweed either, common as it may be!

Butterfly Milkweed
And although this plant doesn't look like much, it was the rarest of the bunch. This species is called Slender Bush Clover and the tiny clearing where we saw it is the only spot in Canada where it occurs!

Slender Bush Clover

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