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Participants enjoy County South Shore Stroll

Twelve-spotted Skimmer Delicate Damselfly

By Cheryl Anderson with photos by Dale Smith
“We saw 22 butterflies” the young South Shore Stroll participant yelled over his shoulder as he got back in the family vehicle.

The South Shore Joint Initiative’s stroll down the Simpson road extension in the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area on the weekend was remarkable not only for the number of butterflies.

Mourning Cloak

Of particular interest were several Canadian Swallowtails, a beautiful Mourning Cloak and four Monarchs. Milkweed – both common and the rarer Swamp variety – was in bloom and the Monarchs were busy harvesting pollen. We found two large caterpillars happily consuming the milkweed leaves on one plant.

Two groups explored the Provincial Wildlife Area Sunday morning. One group went directly down the Simpson Rd extension to Lake Ontario. The other group explored the Simpson Road berm and took the road to the east of Simpson Road commonly called MNR Road, to the lake.

Along the way we looked at wild flowers and identified Chicory, Monardia, Vipers Bugloss, Queen Anne’s Lace and a pretty little pink Corn Flower.

We listened for birds and heard Common Yellowthroats, American Redstarts, American Goldfinches, Field Sparrows, Red eyed Vireos, Eastern Towhees and Cedar Waxwings.

Participants were thrilled to see a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret flying over the Simpson Road wetland.

We saw many species of Dragonflies, including a beautiful Twelve-spotted Skimmer Delicate Damselflies swarmed over the swampy areas.

Many of the muddy puddles were home to Leopard Frogs. The only snake we saw, a small Milk snake, had been killed by a motor vehicle.

One thing we were not happy to see was a large dump of garbage along the side of the road. We wondered about who would despoil the Provincial Wildlife Area in this way.

At the lake we rested and replenished. We found a few fossils and some interesting drift wood among the beach stones. Our younger participants had fun skipping the flatter stones out over the crashing waves.

Walking back to our vehicles we practised our “birding by ear” and added a Northern Cardinal to the list.

The South Shore Strolls offer an opportunity to get outside in a safe environment, to learn a little bit about nature and to enjoy the special place that is the South Shore of Prince Edward County.

The next South Shore Stroll is set for Sunday, Aug. 16 to Charwell Point and Gull Pond meeting at Charwell Point Road and Army Reserve Road at 8 am. Attendance is limited by current COVID regulations. Register at ssji.ca

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