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Bio Blitz swarming with nature lovers


By Cheryl Anderson
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Ostrander Point was swarming with nature lovers on the weekend as more than 60 individuals helped the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists collect information about animals, birds, plants, insects, amphibians and reptiles on the Crown Land Block.

Tanya Pulfer Ontario Nature’s Reptile and Amphibian Atlas coordinator joined Dr. Paul Catling, alvar specialist, Ted Cheskey Manager of Avian Conservation at Nature Canada and local renowned naturalist Terry Sprague to lead participants on hikes throughout Ostrander Point enumerating everything they saw.

monarchExpert witness evidence at the ERT hearing in winter/spring 2013 convinced the panel that a proposed nine turbine wind power project should not be built at Ostrander Point.  However, after an appeal by the Ministry of the Environment and Gilead Power, the Divisional court overturned that decision. Now PECFN is back at court, this time at the Court of Appeal challenging the Divisional Court decision.

While the Blanding’s turtles were well concealed in cool mud, Monarch and Giant Swallowtail butterflies were making good use of the wild flower meadows.  Several Monarch caterpillars were found on the plentiful milkweed.

An exciting new discovery for Ostrander Point was the Harvester Butterfly, the caterpillars of which feed only on a particular group of plant lice, which in turn feed only on a few kinds of woody shrubs in swamps. It is our only carnivorous butterfly. This remarkable, rare and local insect is not only new for Ostrander Point; it is also the first and only record for PEC, again establishing the biodiversity value of Ostrander.  Also documented was the rare Appalachian Brown Butterfly also an inhabitant of swamps.

Later under the full moon, five Whip-poor-wills were heard and spotted feasting on the wing probably eating the Dobson flies which were recorded as occurring in the bur oak savannah and acknowledged as a major food source for these birds. During the day, several Black -billed Cuckoos were heard calling, one of which reacted to a call lure by dive -bombing Terry Sprague!

Long Run Imports on County Rd 13 was established as base camp for registration, information, schedules, water and food.  The main site camp was on Ostrander Point Rd. allowing participants to explore into the alvar, meadow, forest and wetland areas. Helmer Rd was also used for morning bird walks.

Now the work of tallying the results begins but everyone agreed that this was a successful weekend and valuable data was gathered. The data will allow us to answer some of the questions about Ostrander Point that have been left unanswered by the studies done by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Gilead Power.  It will be added to the County’s Natural Heritage System data base and help to inform the Official Plan Review on the environment of the South Shore.


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