Jul 242017

Today, July 22, at the Nonquon lagoons in Port Perry, there was an interesting mix of life and death struggles. Lots of sights of successful breeding as Mallards, Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers and Trumpeter Swans showed off their new families. Very few shorebirds but the habitat is still not good for them ? Water is too high.

However two Soras were in full song and a Virginia Rail showed off her two offspring. 5 Common Gallinules and an American Coot were new arrivals as they haven’t been here all summer. The show stopper was the feeding frenzy by the Cedar Waxwings. Fifteen+ birds were feeding at eye to ground level chasing and catching a huge new hatch of bluet damselflies. For the dragonfly/damselfly afficionados out there this is the time be here .. crazy numbers of these insects. Also a large hatch of Monarchs must have occurred as they were everywhere.

Sora (rail) – Wikimeda

Lots of herps – Midland Painted Turtles, Northern Leopard Frogs, Green Frogs and my second (dead) Red-bellied Snake at this site this year. Lots of other butterflies and myriad other insects to amuse. A groundhog and a muskrat represented the mammal clan. Adjacent fields had several Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers – so they are here .. you just gotta look further afield.

Geoff Carpentier
Avocet Nature Services

(via Ontbirds – Bird Alert – Click here for information on how to subscribe to alerts)

DIRECTIONS: The lagoons are located one road north of the transfer site on Concession Rd. 8 [don’t get confused as, despite the fact that these roads are both numbered “8”, they are two different roads – one is a regional paved road, the other a dirt concession road.]. Access to the lagoons is from the east end of Conc. 8 only as the bridge is out west of the lagoons. Please remember to close the gate behind if you go as it is not self-closing.

How to Obtain a Nonquon Sewage Lagoon Permit

Permits must be purchased in advance of entering the lagoons. Permits can be obtained from 605 Rossland Rd., Whitby, or at the Scugog Waste Transfer Station, 1623 Reach Street, Port Perry. An electronic version of the Nonquon Sewage Lagoon Birder Permit is available in PDF format at http://www.durham.ca/finance.asp?nr=/departments/finance/financeinside.htm. Nonquon Sewage Lagoon Birder Permits are available for $10 per permit. Cheques will only be accepted at Regional Headquarters. Payment by cash only at the Scugog Waste Transfer Station. Completed Applications should be forwarded to: Finance Department – Insurance & Risk Management, 605 Rossland Road E., Whitby, ON L1N 6A3


Jul 242017

On Saturday, July 22, I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher, a bird we have never seen before. The sighting was brief, with no time for a photo, but the tricoloured front view of light grey, soft lemon yellow and orange was unmistakable.

Another first this year is a family of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks. The female has been feeding her two young at the sunflower feeder.  There are also at least three males coming to the feeder. In previous years, these birds have just stayed around for a few days.

Stephenie Armstrong, Sawmill Road, Warsaw

Great Crested Flycatcher – Dick Daniels

Grosbeak family at feeder – July 22, 2017 – Warsaw – Stephenie Armstrong


Jul 232017

Update re: John Deyell’s sighting (July 14, 2017) of Trumpeter Swans nesting in Sandy Creek Bay near Woodland Camp Site. Apparently, this same pair had 2 cygnets last year, unbeknownst to most people (saw photos from October last year taken by camp owner). This year they have 1 cygnet. I’ve attached a picture. Woodland’s owner, Cathy, told me a representative came into the camp from the Trumpeter Swan Society and advised that this pair of swans have been named Smokey and the Bandit. One adult swan is tagged J07 and the other has no tag.

Barb Evett

Trumpeter Swans with cygnet – 2017 – Woodland Campsite on Buckhorn Lake – Barb Evett


Jul 222017

Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) (1)
– Reported Jul 20, 2017 14:50 by Ian Sturdee
– 5997–5999 Highway 7, Havelock-Belmont-Methuen CA-ON (44.4328,-77.8960), Peterborough, Ontario
– Checklist:
– Comments: “Flew over road while I was driving. Identified by shape, size and overall colouring including streaked underparts. Had a good look under the scenario. ”

NOTE: Jeff Teller found a dead Least Bittern on the roadside on June 27, 2017. It was 100 – 200 feet east of the gate to the Cavan Monaghan Transfer Station on Syer Line, which is the line that runs west off County Road 28 at Fraserville. He took a photo of the bird.

dead Least Bittern – Jeff Teller – June 27, 2017 – Syer Line at Transfer Station


Jul 212017

This spring (2017) I had a unique opportunity to photograph a Snapping Turtle that was unaware of my presence and as a result I was able for the first time to capture one with its neck fully extended and travelling at “top speed” (for a turtle). For years in the past I have taken lots of pictures (especially laying eggs), but every time I approach them they will lay down and pull their neck into their shell. I often noticed them at a distance stopping to “periscope” in long grass before they travelled along. Close-up shots had always eluded me, until now.

Rick Stankiewicz, Keene

Snapping Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

Snapping Turtle 2 – Rick Stankiewicz

Jul 172017

I had a great day in the field on July 7. I was in the Lily Lake area and found a Green Heron NEST with three fuzzy herons, as well as eggshells. Later, I found what I think is a Porcupine den.

I also collected a few sedges and a rush from various locations in the Kawarthas. The species have yet to be identified.

Erin McGauley

Green Heron nest – Lily Lake area – June 2017 – Erin McGauley

Green Heron (Don McLeod)

Porcupine den in tree – Lily Lake – Erin McGauley



Unidentified sedge – July 7, 2017 – Erin McGauley

Unidentified sedge – July 7, 2017 – Erin McGauley

Unidentified sedge- July 7, 2017 – Erin McGauley

Unidentified sedge – July 7, 2017 – Erin McGauley

Unidentified rush – July 7, 2017 – Erin McGauley

Jul 142017

This is a series of photos from Rick Stankiewicz of a Common Green Darner emerging from the nymphal case. Enjoy!

Common Green Darner nymph which has just climbed up out of the water – Rick Stankiewicz

Adult emerging from nymphal case – Rick Stankiewicz

All the way out now!  – Rick Stankiewicz

Think I’ll stretch a bit! – Rick Stankiewicz

Now, let’s let these wings dry! (Note: This was a different individual, hence the different background) – Rick Stankiewicz


Jul 142017

In the spring of 1940 the countryside around Invermay, Saskatchewan, had an historic Forest Tent Caterpillar infestation.  I was 11 years old and have very clear memories of that time.  By the end of May the leaves in all the trees, almost all white poplar (aspen), and all bushes had been eaten.  It looked like fall.  Two memories stand out.  On the way to town with my dad, we saw telephone poles black with caterpillars.  I remember there were so many on the train tracks that the huge steam engine had to use sand normally used in the winter, when the tracks were icy because the drive wheels were slipping on the caterpillars.

One of my chores was to ride horseback to find the milk cows to bring them in the night milking.  It was raining and when I got home my mother put me in the washtub to wash the caterpillars out of my hair, and all my clothes were put into the washing hamper.

In June the trees and bushes all budded and put out new leaves, and we had spring all over again.  I don’t know what happened in 1941 because we sold the farm and moved to Ontario.

Keith McKerracher

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation of aspens – Government of Manitoba

Forest Tent Caterpillar (separated “snowmen” down the back) – Wikimedia

Jul 142017

For three years now, I have had these Trumpeter Swans across from our home in a bay near Woodland Camp Site on Buckhorn Lake. I know that they have been reported in previous years to your site. They have been here for at least the past 1 1/2 months.  I took these pictures on May 31st 2017.
I have attached a few of the pictures. The one with a yellow tag was here last year, J07.

NOTE:  In July, we spotted the swans with one cygnet. Unfortunately too far away for a picture.

John Deyell, 705 657 3568

Trumpeter Swan – May 2017 – John Deyell – Woodland Campground

Jul 132017

Our very “skittish” and shy Red-headed Woodpecker has returned. I saw it for the first time this years on July 9, but didn’t have a camera handy. However, on July 11, I was ready. This picture was taken looking through our window into our backyard. The feeder hangs from the eave of our porch.

Red-headed Woodpecker – July 11, 2017 – Northey’s Bay Road – Dennis Johnson

Jul 102017

I live in Ennismore on 4 acres in a century home. The article you wrote about declining bat populations and White Nose Syndrome is old but I thought I’d reach out to you since I found it interesting and I’ve got bats – Little Brown Bats, I think. They’re living in my barn which is probably typical for this area, but I’ve also got them in my soffit and behind a pillar at the front of my house. I’m a nature lover and don’t want to hurt them, I wouldn’t mind building a few bat houses if that would entice them out of the soffit.

David Hrivnak (Dave@prismdev.ca)

Note from Paul Elliott, a local bat expert: “Bats very rarely cause any damage to the structure of a house. They only use available access points and spaces and are incapable of gnawing through stuff and so on. Their droppings are very dry and they produce only small amounts of urine because their opportunities for drinking are limited. The only circumstance in which the droppings may become a problem is if the space they are in is not watertight. A leaky roof can cause the guano to become moldy and smelly. As long as your roof is sound, you should not have any problems. Thanks for caring about bats.

Little Brown Bat with White Nose Syndrome (US Geological Survey)


Jul 092017

We had a pleasant surprise on Canada Day. A Snapping Turtle laid her eggs in our graveled turning circle in full view of the house windows. We watched her for about 50 minutes starting about 9:30 am though we don’t know how long she had been labouring. Interestingly, once she had covered the nest she proceeded to walk round the site, closely resembling a figure of eight movement, seemingly sniffing the air a few times before heading off back to the river. Had she briefly lost her sense of direction after her long labours and was searching for the scent of water? The nest is now well covered with chicken wire held firmly in place by a line of rocks. Later that day, around 6 pm, what looked like a doe and a juvenile male White-tailed Deer with sprouting antlers also paid us a visit.

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Snapping Turtle – July 1, 2017 – Stephenie Armstrong

Snapper nest protected with chicken wire – Stephenie Armstrong – July 1, 2017

White-tailed Deer – Stephenie Armstrong – July 1, 2017

Jul 082017

I captured these photos during an early morning kayak outing on Lower Buckhorn Lake on the weekend of June 24. The Eastern Kingbird kept tossing the dragonfly (a skimmer) into the air, seemingly to kill it. I was struck with the size of the dragonfly.

Robin Williams Blake

Eastern Kingbird tossing skimmer dragonfly into the air – Robin Blake – June 24, 2017


Jul 062017

I have been watching two dark brown juvenile Bald Eagles for three mornings now, sitting on and beside a high nest  in a white pine in Wolf Island Provincial Park on Lower Buckhorn Lake.  They glared at me for about 15 minutes but never left. One of them was in the nest, then sat on the branch with the other one for 10 minutes, then back into the nest, which was getting nice morning sunlight around 9 am. I was in a canoe.

The nest has been there for two or three years. I’ve dropped a Google maps pin in the nest location, and hope it shows you the right spot (big white pine). I can watch the nest from the lake side, and from deep in the bay on the north side, but lakeside is better.

There is now a heronry with three Great Blue Heron nests on Three Islands (west of the eagles) where Ospreys used to nest.
Janet Duval, Deer Bay Reach Road

Juvenile Bald Eagle – Drew Monkman


Jul 062017

Do you have a pollinator garden? Would you consider registering the garden in the Peterborough Pollinators 150+ Garden Challenge? Our goal is to register 150+ gardens in Peterborough and area. This is a celebration of both the importance of pollinators and of Canada’s 150th birthday. If you register before the end of August 2017, you will also receive a free sign (see below) and a 2017 Peterborough Pollinators calendar. The calendar is a treasure-trove of information on pollinators and local garden resources.

Be sure to register your pollinator garden in the Peterborough Pollinators 150 Garden Challenge – Drew Monkman

Cover of Peterborough Pollinator’s new 2017 calendar (photo by Ben Wolfe)










A pollinator garden is simply one that takes into account the needs of pollinators – bees, moths, beetles, butterflies and hummingbirds – by providing nectar and pollen. In doing so, the garden should be pesticide free, include plants of different colours, shapes and sizes, offer species that bloom from spring through fall, include a variety of native plants and provide some other habitat features such as a water source, bee nesting sites and larval plants such as milkweed for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. If you feel that your garden meets at least three of these criteria OR you are willing to work towards meeting three or more criteria, please register at peterboroughpollinators.com/register

After you register, you can pick up your sign and calendar at GreenUp Ecology Park (weekends 10 to 4 pm & Thursdays 12-6 pm), located next to Beavermead Park on Ashburnham Drive. You will also receive a 10% reduction on the purchase of native plants. Alternatively, we can deliver them.

For more information, please visit peterboroughpollinators.com or send us an email Thank you for doing your part to help protect pollinators, and we look forward to seeing the sign proudly displayed in your garden.  Please invite friends with pollinator gardens to participate, as well!

Common Eastern Bumble Bee nectaring on apple blossoms – Margot Hughes

Green sweat bee on sundrop blossom – Drew Monkman

Jun 272017

I was observing the Common Loon family (2 adults and 2 very new chicks) on the Otonabee River just south of Lakefield today, June 27. A pair of loons nested here last year as well. As I watched, a Bald Eagle swooped by and posted himself in a nearby tree. I know baby loons have many natural predators but I had never considered eagles as a potential threat.

Gail Mclaren

Nesting loon on Otonabee River south of Lakefield – May 31, 2016 – Jacob Rodenburg

Bald Eagles – Jan. 24, 2015 – Lock 24 on Otonabee River – Tom Northey

Jun 272017

The Hairy Woodpecker with a yellow crown came back to my feeder on June 26 and even posed for me! I was confused by the yellow coloration on the crown, instead of a red patch on the back of the head.

Barb Logan

Note: I did some research on this and apparently juvenile Hairy Woodpeckers occasionally have an orange or yellow patch on the crown. Red on the crown, however, is more typical of juvenile Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. D.M.

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker with yellow crown – June 2017 – Barb Logan

Juvenile Hairy Woodpecker 2 with yellow crown – June 2017 – Barb Logan

Jun 262017

Regarding the Nessus Sphinx reported by Stephenie Armstrong, they are likely fairly common here in Peterborough County, though I rarely see them myself. They do, however, seem to be a day-flier, and can therefore be confused with a Hemaris species like the Snowberry Clearwing.

A few weeks ago, at my friend’s place near Warsaw, we were getting up to two dozen Gallium Sphinx
(Bedstraw Hawkmoths) at a time at her sprawling honeysuckle bush at dusk. More to follow soon about them. I got some excellent pictures!

I’ve seen 41 Monarchs now, and the first was the earliest ever for me – May 30th!
(Only one Giant Swallowtail, however, and it was on the same date as the first Monarch).

Tim Dyson

Nessus Sphinx – Note yellow bands on abdomen – Stephenie Armstrong – June 2017


Jun 242017

On Jun 23, 2017, at 9:23 PM, Scott Gibson via ONTBIRDS <birdalert@ontbirds.ca> wrote:

The Dickcissel invasion has extended to the Kawarthas! This afternoon around 4:50, Iain Rayner found a male Dickcissel just north of Fowlers Corners (NW of Peterborough) @ 1203 Frank Hill Rd (County of Kawartha Lakes). It was sitting on the hydro wire across from the laneway into house #1203.

I went and had a look this evening and found it in the same spot. It was singing from variety spots…hydro lines, fence posts, shrubs…giving great views! Pics can be found in my ebird report.

From Highway 115, go north on Hwy 7/28 approx 10km to Fowlers Corners. Continue north on Frank Hill Rd approx. 3km.

Scott Gibson

Dickcissel – by RebelAt at English Wikipedia


Jun 242017

The tent caterpillar activity is quite evident in the Millbrook area this year, but at our summer home near Bon Echo Provincial Park, the damage done by Forest Tent Caterpillars is devastating. In many areas up to 80% of the canopy on elms and maples has been devoured.

Ralph & Elaine Cole, Millbrook

Forest Tent Caterpillar (separated “snowmen” down the back) – Wikimedia

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation of aspens – Government of Manitoba

Forest Tent Caterpillar defoliation (photo: State University of New York – Cortland)

Jun 242017

We have a sweet smelling Abelia shrub that is proving to be very popular with the insect population. Visitors this month include our first and so far only Monarch, a Black Swallowtail, a White Admiral, and two hawkmoths, including the Hummingbird Clearwing and the Nessus Sphinx, the latter new to us. And out amongst the wildflowers, the Canada Tiger Swallowtail is regularly feeding on the Viper’s Bugloss. I was able to photograph them all except the Monarch, with two separate views of the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.

On June 8th, Peter got a bit of a surprise opening the door to our under-deck to find an Eastern Milksnake coiled around one of the garden hoses. He was lucky to get a photo as it made its way along the line of stopcocks heading for a bit of cover under the stairs.

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Eastern Milksnake – Peter Armstrong

Nessus Sphinx at Abelia shrub. Note two yellow bands on abdomen – Stephenie Armstrong – June 2017

Hummingbird Clearwing at Abelia shrub – Stephenie Armstrong


Canada Tiger Swallowtail on Viper Bugloss – Stephenie Armstrong

Jun 242017

Sedge Wren (Sedge) (Cistothorus platensis stellaris) (2)
– Reported Jun 24, 2017 07:41 by Luke Berg
– Miller Creek Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3866915,-78.3501577&ll=44.3866915,-78.3501577
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37767801

Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) (2)
– Reported Jun 21, 2017 09:42 by Peterborough County Birds Database
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.4180879,-78.2587266&ll=44.4180879,-78.2587266
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37727497

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) (1)
– Reported Jun 21, 2017 06:50 by Peter Burke
– 415–457 County Road 36, Galway-Cavendish and Harvey CA-ON (44.5749,-78.5157), Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.574884,-78.515671&ll=44.574884,-78.515671
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37717358

Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) (1)
– Reported Jun 21, 2017 17:30 by Milda Bax
– home, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.4162641,-78.0171239&ll=44.4162641,-78.0171239
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37734578

Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea) (1)
– Reported Jun 18, 2017 08:30 by John Bick
– Deer Bay Reach Road, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.5740226,-78.2863426&ll=44.5740226,-78.2863426
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37732313
– Comments: “Heard vocalizing in deciduous treetops over the course of 30 minutes at 155 where previously reported.”

Upland Sandpiper by Greg Piasetzki

Yellow-billed Cuckoo – Greg Piasetzki

Sedge Wren perched in a dogwood in the Carden Alvar – Greg Piasetzki

Jun 212017

I recently observed the Great Blue Heron rookery in the Trent Wildlife Sanctuary. As a point of interest, I noticed the rookery is quite visible from the height of land where the Tree Swallow/Eastern Bluebird research nesting site is located along the Blue trail, as one departs the Blue trail in a south western route. You have to use binoculars but I spotted the rookery from the research site at 2 different locations on that ‘high’ land elevation.

I have enjoyed observing the Great Blue Herons all my life. There used to be a small rookery (4 nests) near our home of 30 years when we lived adjacent to the Algonquin Park boundary. Most years, each pair of birds usually raised 3 offspring. At the rookery here at Trent, of the 8 active nests, I observed only 2 nests with 3 offspring. I believe all the others have 2 offspring. There was only 1 nest that I observed 1 offspring in, but the second offspring might just not have been visible from my perspective/orientation . For your information, I have since learned that there used to be a rookery on the south west side of Methuen Lake, south of Coe Hill. I must try to find time to check out that area as well, to see if that rookery is still active.

Of all the observations I have made of the Great Blue Herons over the years, I experienced a ‘new’ and exciting observation when I went to the Trent rookery last Sunday (June 18) afternoon. I watched the herons for about 2.5 hours, throughout the rain storm. During a very heavy downpour (thunder and lightning in the distance) which lasted only ~ 10 to 15 minutes, there was a ‘feeding frenzy’. During that short interval, 4 different adults returned to their respective nests and the offspring were fed. Was this behaviour just fate, or was there a natural variable occurring that stimulated this feeding frenzy? Of course, one could hypothesize in limitless manner to explain this observation.

Thanks very much for your guidance in locating this small rookery.

Joy  (tranquillitybay@bell.net)

Great Blue Heron – Wikimedia



Jun 192017

I photographed this Showy Lady’s-slipper near Omemee on June 18.  Trudy Gibson

Showy Lady’s-slipper – Omemee – June 18, 2017 – Trudy Gibson


These Showy Lady’s-slippers are blooming (June 17) behind my house in Havelock, near the creek. Ulrike Kullik

Showy Lady’s-slipper – Havelock – June 17, 2017 – Ulrike Kullik


Showy Lady’s-slippers – June 17, 2017 – Ulrike Kullik


Jun 172017

I found this plant in the O’Hara Mill Homestead and Conservation Area near Madoc. It caught my attention last fall because of the interesting seed head. Do you have any idea what species it is?

Ulrike Kullik, Havelock

Note:  According to Mike McMurtry, a local ecologist and botanist, this is an Orange-fruited Horse-gentian (Triosteum aurantiacum).  It is a native species that grows in rich deciduous woods but is not common. As the picture shows, it has opposite broad leaves and dark red/purplish/brown flowers in leaf the axils. It is closely related to Wild Coffee (Triosteum perfoliatum). I was not aware of this plant before. D.M.

Orange-fruited Horse-gentian – O’Hara Mills C.A. – Madoc – June 12, 2017 – Ulrike Kullik

Orange-fruited Horse-gentian 2- O’Hara Mills C.A. – Madoc – June 12, 2017 – Ulrike Kullik


Jun 172017

On June 14, while sitting in my screened room in Millbrook, this moth plummeted down from the heavens and landed on the table beside me. I have no idea where he came from. Perhaps he was sleeping along the rafter and fell(?) I thought he was dead. After looking at him for about 10 minutes I lifted him up onto a piece of cardboard. He held on to the edges of the board. I went outside and he eventually walked/flew over to the screen, climbed up a few inches and stayed there for several hours. At dark I went out to see him and he was gone.
He was about 3 inches long, and his head and back looked almost like fur! Do you have any idea what this is?

Bev Hawkins

Note: Basil Conlin, a local moth expert, has identified it as a Laurel Sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae). “This species loves to feed on ash and lilac as a caterpillar and will nectar at deep flowers as an adult. They are lovely! As far as I know they do not fly during the day. I usually find the adults at lights in two batches: first right at dusk, then again after midnight.”

Laurel Sphinx (Sphinx kalmiae) June 14, 2017 – Millbrook – Bev Hawkins