Friday, June 21, 2024

Rondeau Provincial Park, 04 June, 2024

     It had been quite a while - before COVID in fact - since Miriam and I had visited Rondeau Provincial Park, so on a beautiful late spring day we decided to rectify that omission.
     It's always a delight to visit this enchanting spot on the north shore of Lake Erie, firmly ensconced in the Carolinian Zone where the vegetation differs considerably from the area around home, and some birds that are hard to find in Waterloo Region are quite common there.
      On the way down, not far from the park, we spotted this juvenile Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in a field, mantling prey.

       We tried to identify the prey but were unable to.  The bird, however, was making a good meal of it.

       Upon arrival at the park gate we paid our admission and stopped right inside to use the facilities and walk out on the dock.

     A Green Heron (Butorides virescens) flew across in front of us to land in the vegetation that curved around the bay.

     Several House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) seem to have successfully taken over the cavities in a couple of dead trees.

     As might be expected Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) were both vocal and ubiquitous.

     Bittersweet Nightshade ( Solanum dulcamara) is exceptionally delicate and beautiful in my estimation.

     A Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) was assiduously working over the grassy areas in search of ants and other small invertebrates.

Spicebush Trail

     A Wild Turkey (Melagro gallopavo) greeted us right at the entrance to the trail.

     It seems apparent that turkeys have come to know that they are safe from hunters in the park and they do not immediately flee from the sight of a human.
     We were thrilled to discover Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilios troilus) almost right away, one of our target species for the day.

     Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), from which the butterfly takes its name, was very common.

     Neither the plant nor the butterfly are found outside the Carolinian Zone so the combination of the two so early in the day was exceptionally pleasing.
     The boardwalk led us onwards.

     In the early stages of the trail Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) was seldom out of view.

     Honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis) was common too.

     We saw this Warty Harvestman (Leiobunum verrucosum) and decided to exchange pleasantries and leave each other be.

     Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is one plant that may be found with equal ease at home and at Rondeau.

     Ferns in general are prolific in the park. Here is Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis).....

     ..... followed by Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides).

     Another Wild Turkey trotted along ahead of us.

     I have not seen a typical spectacular emergence of mayflies in years and it appears they are declining as are most insect populations. We saw but a few Giant Mayfly (Hexagenia limbata) here and there.

     Summer Azure (Celestrina neglecta) was more common but rarely landed and then with wings closed.

     Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) was much more obliging.

     A Pale Metarranthis Moth (Metarranthis indeclinata) is almost ghostly, resting in the tangled vegetation during the day.

     Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a classic representative of Carolinian forests.

     Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) is very handsome.

     Miriam was awarded the distinction of a mayfly landing on her pants.

     Throughout the entire walk we could hear Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) most of the time but they can be frustratingly difficult to see. Once in a while though a male needs to make himself visible.

     Purple-flowered Raspberry (Rubus odoratus) is a very attractive shrub; unusually it does not develop thorns.

     It was lovely to see a Hobomok Skipper (Lon hobomok) in attendance on Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea).

     An Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) is both impressive and beautiful.

     I am sure that any child seeing this post would want an Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus) to take home.

     What an adorable little insect!
     Northern Crescent (Phyiodes coctya) was seen a few times and even obliged us by perching with wings outspread.

     Another Common Yellowthroat popped up to defend his territory.

     Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) were just a little easier to spot than Common Yellowthroats.

     House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) verged on abundant and we would see them in every location we visited; many were breeding.

     Just as we were about to leave the trail we spotted a Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans).

     Now that's a great way to end a walk.

South Point Trail

     Riverbank Grape (Vitis riparia) is a common plant along the waterways of southern Ontario, its fruit favoured by both humans and birds.

     Curled Dock (Rumey crispus) is an invasive plant, classified by some as a noxious weed that establishes easily even in impoverished soils. 

     Its seeds are readily spread on water where they cling to fur and feather and are thereby dispersed.
     Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) is entirely expected in early June, and several kept us company.

     A species of Nomad Bee (genus Nomada) was foraging for nectar.

      At times there were several Summer Azures flitting around us at the same time, but most seemed reluctant to land; and when they did Miriam had to be quick to catch a shot.

     One even opened its wings briefly.

     We meandered along the path where the lepidopterans were more numerous than in the closed forest, having open space to fly and vegetation in which to escape if necessary.

     Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is one of my most beloved flowers and in several places they were in full bloom, looking nothing short of magnificent.

     White-spotted Sable (Anania funebris) is beautifully-patterned diurnal moth.

     It seemed to be lapping up minerals and was often joined by Summer Azures.

     Hobomok Skippers were not at all shy and perched for us in delightful fashion.

     The following very attractive Long-legged Fly is found in the genus Condylostylus.

     Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) was not as numerous as Hobomok Skipper; nevertheless with a little determination it could be found.

     In the following photograph you will see two Eastern Calligraphers (Toxomerus germinatus), a very attractive little insect, with a Small Carpenter Bee (genus Ceratina), and a species of Acalyptrate Fly.

     American Snout (Libytheana carinenta) is a strongly migratory species, occurring in Ontario only in small numbers and primarily in the Carolinian Zone, especially in summer, and we were excited to come across this distinctive butterfly.

     We were serenaded by Warbling Vireos (Vireo gilvus) several times.

     A Sand Chafer (Strigoderma arbicola) was spotted deep inside the flower of a False Bindweed (genus Calystegia).

     Common Silverweed (Argentina anserina) punctuates the day with a bright smile.

     A pair of distant Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) beamed down on us as only Cedar Waxwings can.

     Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) was both abundant and beautiful.

     An Emerald Spreadwing (Lestes dryas) caught our attention and added joy to the day.

     A Wolf Spider (family Lycosidae) was no doubt on the hunt for its next meal.

     Better be careful, Mr. Spider, lest you become lunch yourself. A Yellow Warbler may have its eye on you!

Marsh Trail

     Remnants of fallen trees provide perches for birds and basking surfaces for turtles.

     Who could resist a smile upon encountering a Meadow Anemone (Anemonastrum canadense)?

     As had been the case all day, House Wrens seemed to be everywhere, many already occupying nests.

     In all of our familiar places Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) are present in seriously reduced numbers, so it was good to see a few at Rondeau.

     All hirundines are under threat so it was encouraging to also see Purple Martins (Progne subis)

     There are probably several factors contributing to population declines, but principal among them is the loss of insect prey. It is a serious situation and any glimmer of hope is very faint indeed.
     We had been seeing male Yellow Warblers frequently, the females probably being occupied with incubation duties, but this individual posed beautifully.

     She was perhaps taking a brief break from the nest.
      A male Purple Martin was vigorous in defence of his nest, screaming at a House Sparrow that even dared come close.

     The euphoria of a nature walk is incremental and to come across stands of Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) is ample proof of that simple truth.

     A Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) showed both upperwing and underwing.

     Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) has been abundant everywhere this year.

     A Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) showed beautifully.

     Long thought to be a practitioner of Batesian mimicry, recent studies have revealed that the Viceroy is toxic, or at the very least distasteful, to predators and is thus now known to be a Müllerian mimic. This is stuff you need to know!
     We found it remarkable that so many species were feeding on the same tree.

     There appeared to be a wound where a branch had perhaps broken off and sweet sap might have been oozing, but we are not sure, and the insects ranged over other parts of the tree in any event.

     In the picture above you may see many Asian Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis) and a Carolina Cantharid (Rhaxonycha carolina) off to the left.
     They were joined by Stable Flies (Stomoxys calcitrans) in addition to the butterflies already shown.

     There were other small insects too, too small to photograph.
     It was a source of satisfaction to see Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) hawking for insects over the lake.

     A Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) had clambered out onto a log and was enjoying the warm rays of spring.

     A couple of Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) were flitting around and we saw this individual land on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

     We noted that it was a female and that she curled her abdomen up under her. Voilà, an egg!

What a great way to end a fabulous day!
      It strikes me that I have covered a lot in this post, but it is to some extent arbitrarily chosen, and I hasten to assure you that I have left out far more than I have presented here. Some of the plants are mainly green and not especially photogenic, many organisms escaped our lens, and there are others for which we are still unable to clinch identification.
      Nature in all its wondrous and glorious diversity was on display, and you may be sure that will be making a return visit soon.  
     Until then, take good care and especially take good care of Nature.
David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.


  1. How beautiful! I love all those butterflies - utterly harmless but oh so beautiful.

  2. So many wonderful pictures it is hard to pick a favorite. But if pressed I might choose the Green Heron. Or the Orchard Orbweaver. Or that green frog. Or...

  3. Beautiful birds, butterflies, insects and flowers, David. I agree with you, the Red Columbine is very beautiful. I like columbines very much. Hugs and kisses, Marit

    1. I bet it would grow in your garden, or maybe it already does.

    2. I have many columbines, but not the redcone. I have never seen the red one for sale here.

  4. ...David, thanls for taking me along on this fabulous nature hike. Where are we off to next?

  5. That bee picture looks GREAT! We have lots of blackbirds over here, but have never seen one with red-wings.

    1. Totally different species, Angie. Different family even.

  6. Bonito parque, con grandes detalles de la flora y la fauna, que habita en él.
    Feliz fin de semana. Un abrazo.

  7. Great to watch. Lots of interesting birds and insects.

  8. Hari Om
    My word, you definitey covered some territory!!! What an adorable array of flora and fauna. As ever, you really made us feel a part of your wanderings. YAM xx

  9. Hi David,
    Wow, great Post!! Congrets with the Spicebush Swallowtail, a beauty!! Also stunning the Bald eagle is fantastic! Love al the photos of plants and insects. All very intresting to see.Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings, Maria

  10. You saw some fantastic organisms on your visit. That Orb Weaver spider is really beautiful. And the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle is also amazing. I have never seen that insect before, but now I wouldn't' mind seeing one. I'd say you had not only great ornithology day but also a great entomology day too. And some herptiles in the mix too. Have a super weekend also. hugs-Erika

    1. And we still have lots to identify, Erika. Beetles especially are a challenge! It’s fun working on it though.

  11. Such riches. And beauty. All of which need care taken. Thank you.

    1. And this goes to show, Sue, what a conscientious observer can discover. I didn’t show even half of what we found. You have no idea how happy a day like this can make me. I am euphoric for days - and before the euphoria of one day wears off I am already into another.

  12. How nice to return to a spot you've not been for a long while and discover such a wonderful array of nature. So many diverse creatures here from birds to butterflies to insects and some beautiful blooms here, too. I'm sure there is much more (how many photos DO we throw out anyway, or at least don't share?). It looks like a wonderful journey.

  13. Some of the Carolinian Zone flora and insects are new to me. I live in the Great Lakes Forest region, which meets the Carolinian, somewhere east of me. I've never seen a green heron, thanks! I wonder how an iris came to be along your walk! Carried in by a squirrel I suppose. And thanks for the columbine. I really like them. Great walk.

  14. Hey David! what a wonderful adventure on the Lake Erie! your detailed descriptions transported me right to the place, making every bird sighting and step on the trail feel real.
    The diversity of fauna and flora you found is impressive! thank you for sharing this rich experience with all of us. I loved absolutely everything.

    Have a great night and happy weekend! (also happy official start of summer there, in your beloved land. Here, winter officially began with a big storm, thunder, cold, wind and humidity jaja )

  15. I think you meant the young eagle was dismantling prey.
    A long and interesting trip with wonderful pictures. :)

    1. No, I did not mean that it was dismantling prey. Mantling is the term used when raptors stand with their wings curved around their prey to shield it from would- be robbers.

  16. Kiitos upeasta postauksestasi. Meidän suomalaisten kannalta oli paljon eksoottisia lintuja ja eläimiä. Rubus odoratus karhunvatukka kasvaa myös täällä. Eräs kasvi näyttää ihan meidän punakoisolta Solanum dulcamara. Myrkylliset kauniit marja, myös kukka on kaunis, hyvin samanlainen kuin perunalla.

    1. We are both northern countries so it’s not surprising that there are similarities in our flora and fauna.

  17. Lovely photos of so many different creatures and landscapes. Enjoyed going along with the two of you.

  18. Hello David,
    These are beautiful series of photos.
    I think the red-winged blackbird is really beautiful, we only see it here in a zoo.
    Beautiful to see the promenade through the forest, I think it would be wonderful to walk there.
    I think the Summer Azure is a beautiful butterfly and the Orchard Orbweaver is a beautiful spider.
    I enjoyed all the photos.
    I wish you a good weekend.
    Greetings Irma

  19. Diversity and beauty !
    What an amazing park to visit !
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures David !
    Have a nice weekend !

  20. So many beautiful images, David. The Yellow Warbler made me smile, the little bird is singing his heart out. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend.

  21. Wow, so much to enjoy on this post. Starting with the juvenile Bald Eagle, love the moths and butterflies, the flowers and all the birds are beautifully photographed. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  22. You had a wonderful trip, and you really saw many creaturs. The Orbweaver is fascinating, it looks like it's got a scarab on its back. The clickbeetle is fabulous, too. And I loved the little bird singing so loud and lustily. TFS! Hugs xxxxxxx

  23. one of the things we miss the most because of our 5 years drought, is having the back yard full of butterflies, drawn to the yard by all the blooms we had. we lost our purple passion plant that was everywhere and they loved that. you have something beautiful for everyone today. the white flowers with a bee on each is so perfect it looks staged. all the butterflies are magnificent. the turkeys look like they don't care at all that you are there and they are fine specimens. even the spiders are gorgeous today. the orb guy colors are amazing

    1. I am sure it is very disappointing to lose your butterflies. I know that you have had rain recently, so perhaps with a resurgence in the vegetation they will return.

  24. What an incredible variety of birds, bugs, and butterflies! You have some wonderful natural areas to walk and enjoy the sights and sounds. Thanks for sharing.

  25. The Click Beetle stole my heart. My goodness, you saw so many marvels of nature along your way. And to think, some folks would take the same walk and not give most anything there a second look.

  26. so many lovelies in this post, hard to remember what to comment on! I did like the close-ups of the insects and butterflies on the tree.

    1. I seldom pick favourites but the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle is hard to beat.

  27. Muy completa e interesante David. Es un gran placer pasear y descubrir en la naturaleza plena de aves insectos y plantas, bien lo demuestras aquí. Me encantan las mariposas. Gracias.
    Os deseo un buen fin de semana.
    Un abrazo.

  28. I suspect that most visitors would scarcely notice one-tenth of what you observed and photographed here. What a lovely place!
    best, mae

  29. The orbweaver is a beauty and I love the swallows. We saw bank swallows this past week but a photo was impossible.

  30. Wonderful post David...Miriams photography and your dialog are the perfect team...So much to be seen and explored.I am presently watching a Wren add more sticks to the birdhouse that they started to fill up last week...Maybe they are serious this time...Thanks for sharing your adventures..hugs

  31. What a wondrous outing. Thanks for letting me tag along. I loved the board walk, the fun designs on the insects and, of course, all the birds. I can't imagine a nicer day.

  32. What an absolutely fabulous day.
    Your photographs show it so well.

    All the best Jan

  33. What a huge variety in today's post! Especially all the butterflies, quite a few of which are new to me. Splendid post.

  34. Estoy feliz con tu reportaje, todo lo que me gusta está en el, plantas, insectos, aves. Gracias. Abrazos para Miriam y para ti.

  35. Hi David.

    Nice spot.
    Beautiful nature.

    Beautiful Butterflies, and that Turkey is very nice.
    The Woodpeckers are beautiful.
    The Sea Eagle is beautiful.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  36. The green frog looks mature. The bald eagle is hungry.

  37. Hienoja kuvia hienossa blogissa 🧡 terveisiä Suomesta 🧡

  38. Wow! Fantastic photos of flora and fauna! I admire your stamina in posting all these beauties.

  39. Biology in its diverse forms - I think we a word for that! What a great looking place. Cheers - SM

  40. I am completely taken by all the beautiful insects you saw. It is difficult for me to identify those that I see, but it is fun to at least try. I'm very impressed that you know the names of so many. The butterflies and moths are a sight to be seen (I have noticed way more butterflies in my garden this year) and my special favorites are the skippers. The stunning photo of the Green Heron really steals the show! Thank you, David, for showing us all of this beauty. Hugs - Carola

  41. Dear David, what rewarding walks - and all this in a single day!?! Even if some things in nature are disappearing, Rondeau Provincial Park seems to be a kind of refuge for many species. You and Miriam brought back lots of great photos and obviously heard and saw a lot more that couldn't be captured on photos. I found some of the photos particularly impressive, but I think my favorite is the one where four insects are sitting on three flowers... :-)
    All the best, Traude

  42. Hello David,
    what a report, there is nothing missing here, great information about all the pictures and the eagle right at the beginning... super beautiful.
    Greetings Frank,

  43. Un reportaje extraordinario, enhorabuena David!!!!


Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.