Friday 20 July 2018

Bluet Surprise - Eastern Ontario

I was down in the Kingston area for the first part of this week doing some more insect surveys on various properties and had an unexpected odonate discovery.  While I was on one property that was altogether fairly boring, I decided to check a small drainage ditch that fed into a small wetland for damselflies.  I saw a few bluets, was able to capture one and then went about the process of identifying it (looking at its genetalia).  At first I thought it was a Familiar Bluet, but the appendages seemed to fit better with River Bluet, a species that is only known from a few locations in Ontario, mostly near the GTA and further west.  After looking at it the photos more closely at home, I was fairly convinced that it was indeed a River Bluet, and after posting it to iNaturalist, other folks concurred.

This species is designated as S2 (Imperiled) in Ontario.

River Bluet

The Red Bubble is my observation of River Bluet
This was a new species of odonate for me and just goes to show that there is interesting things to see even in the most boring of places!

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Dragon Hunting in T-Bay

My real purpose for my Northern Ontario trip was to carry out dragonfly surveys in the Thunder Bay area.  We teamed up with Colin Jones and Mike Burrell from the NHIC and spent a solid 4 days of field work on several good rivers looking for Rapids Clubtail, a species recorded just across the border in Minnesota, but not as of yet in Northern Ontario.  Although we did not find the species on these rivers, we still found lots of other interesting species.  Below are a few of the interesting observations from our time in this wonderful area.  Due to low water levels, canoeing was all but impossible except in a few reaches of river.  The upside was that there were next to no biting insects, a very strange thing indeed for June in Northern Ontario.

The Arrow River was a beautiful, clear flowing, boulder-strewn river that was difficult to walk.

The Whitefish River seemed to have the most suitable habitat for Rapids Clubtail, and was also great for other riverine species such as snaketails and a few clubtails.

We paddled a short stretch of the Little Whitefish River.

The Pine River was very low and could barely be called a river in most spots south of Hwy 61.

The Pigeon River was also a really interesting river that forms the border between Ontario and Minnesota.  In the photo below, Canada is the rock on the right side of the water, the US is on the left.  It would have been easy to walk across in most spots, but we saw what happened to that jogger out west!

Horned Clubtail

Arctic Skipper

Riffle Snaketail

Rusty Snaketail

Mustached Clubtail

Macoun's Arctic

Twin-spotted Spiketail

Twin-spotted Spiketail

Swift River Cruiser

Swift River Cruiser
 This was quite the surprise.   Mike snagged this nightmarish Sea Lamprey in his insect net for a photo op.  This is a nasty invasive species that attacks native fish species.

Check out those teeth!  We didn't test it out to see if it liked human...

I will leave you with a nice photo of Lake Superior from Old Woman Bay.