Out and about today. The plan was to start at Dunback hoping for late migrants and then go look for odes and stuff. Turns out there weren’t any late migrants but the butterflies at Dunback were good, so the whole day was for bugs.
Starting at Dunback, lots of Pearl Crescents, a few Little Wood Satyrs, and a baskettail or two. Looking for birds, I did hear a cuckoo but never found it. Finally double-checked the songs just now and it’s a FOY Yellow-billed (which appears to be my first in Lexington(?!). Down to the left, Willow Flycatchers were calling, also new for the year. Otherwise, there wasn’t much.
Way down at Blossomcrest, I found a neat bee mimic. It appears to be Merodon equestris:
Back at the intersection, a small skipper attracted my attention. It was dark and didn’t ring any bells. Unfortunately, it would land and instantly spread its wings, so I never got a good look at the underside. I snapped a few photos and with those was able to ID it as a Pepper-and-salt (looks better with the -’s to me). Interestingly, reviewing my pile of unknown skipper photos, I found another one from Dunback from 2005.
So I sort of did get a bit of underside there, but not quite.
After a stop at home, I headed out to the Littleton Rookery. I was hoping for similar results to last year, but no such luck. Along the tracks was very little. One sprite (probably Sedge but it got away), a few forktails, a few baskettails, and a Pine Elfin was about it. At the rookery, I enjoyed watching several nests for a couple minutes, noting how grown the young were. Turning my attention to the bugs, it started slow. A teneral whiteface popped up and then a Common Green Darner. The sun was going in and out, but once it came out for a few minutes, it picked up a bit. Lots of Four-spotted Skimmers, including several ovipositing, a few Dot-tailed Whitefaces, and a few damsels. One was a very teneral spreadwing, that I called Swamp on size. There were a couple female bluets, I’d guess Marsh but can’t say for sure. And one of the things I wanted, a tandem pair of Aurora Damsels. Just yesterday, Nick Donnelly posted a request for high quality pictures of pairs in order to understand how all the appendages fit together. High quality may not be what I got, but it’s a start (I did put the close-focus filter on but they flew off before I could work in closer).
Heading back out, I started to check the wet spot on the opposite side of the tracks, but it clouded up. Back in the open, it looked really dark and potentially stormy, so I moved faster. Being cloudy, there wasn’t much out. Bluebirds at the car were nice. I sat around eating for a few minutes and it became clear that the clouds were moving through. I headed to Fort Pond Brook and decided to find the south entrance as that would take a little longer and get me further from the clouds.
It was pretty much clear by the time I arrived and bugs were back out. In the shaded section, lots of Ebony Jewelwings and a few Little Wood Satyrs were buzzing back and forth. Out in the open, I found my first Lancet Clubtails and a nice Tiger Beetle, which turned out to be Cicindela scutellaris lecontei, which I’d only seen once before.
Also in the area was an interesting moth. It appears to be in genus Drasteria but I haven’t gotten a firm ID yet. It’s clearly an underwing relative, whatever it is.
Still in the sandy section, I started seeing a few elfins. Once one finally landed, I could see it was a Frosted and not the Henry’s I had seen here last month. They turned out to be more distinct than the books made them look. With last weekend’s Hessel’s, 32 regulars to go or so.
In the more wooded area, the clubtails were all over, including several mating pairs.
Lots of other odes including many baskettails, a couple bluets that appear to be female Turquoise, several dancers (presuming Variable), and lots of Jewelwings including my first River of the year. Butterflies included a bunch of duskywings (all large, so assuming Juvenal’s), a Spicebush Swallowtail, and a couple Azures. And another Pepper-and-salt!
That one showed the underside nicely. All the way down by route 2, I didn’t find much and it started clouding up again so I started back instead of working my way along the brook. On the way up, I found my first Hobomok and Dusted Skippers of the year. Further on, I enjoyed a Mourning Cloak chasing a Spicebush Swallowtail, especially when the patrolling baskettail joined the chase. The open area wasn’t terribly exciting, although Brown Thrasher was nice.
I decided to make one more stop at the St. Anne’s Fields in Lincoln. Starting across the street, I spent a bit of time chasing Pearl Crescents trying to make them into something better. No luck with that, but a Snowberry Clearwing posed perfectly.
Crossing over to the St. Anne’s Fields, I found lots of Common Ringlets, more crescents, and not much else. A Cooper’s Hawk being chased off by 15 grackles was nice, especially after seeing similar with a Red-tail at Horn Pond last weekend. The sun was mostly in, so rather than push my luck, I headed home.