Tuesday, 23 July 2013

West Perth Wetlands

West Perth Wetlands
Mitchell, ON
21 July 2013

    The West Perth Wetlands has been a reliable location for shorebirds on their southbound migration for many years and we decided to visit there to see what was showing up in the second half of July. The level of some of the ponds is no longer ideal for shorebirds and the numbers were quite low. The pond containing the greatest concentration is unfortunately enclosed by a chain link fence, erected for security purposes apparently, and surrounded by dense vegetation making a close approach difficult, except for a few small areas that have been cleared. Even then one has to train the scope through the chinks in the fence.
     It was not vintage shorebirding but we enjoyed an agreeable morning there nonetheless.

Pond nearest the berm at the parking lot

Snail (sp?)

Common Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea

Birdsfoot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus

Chicory Cichorium intybus

Ironweed sp. (?)

    We saw many Viceroys Limenitis archippus, typically on thistles as shown in the picture below. Long known as a mimic of the noxious-tasting Monarch Danaus plexippus some authorities now believe that the Viceroy bears its own load of poisons to repel predators, without relying solely on its mimicry of the Monarch.

    This young Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia has somehow lost its tail feathers.

Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos and Least SandpiperCalidris minutilla
    When we got back to our car we observed two Chipping Sparrows Spizella passerina carrying food, including what appears to be a fearsome Preying Mantis Mantis religiosa.

    We then located this very young bird, probably fresh from the nest hiding in the grass waiting for its parents to bring food.

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