A tortoiseshell leads the way

Compton Tortoiseshell

Yesterday I enjoyed another foray into the depths of Frontenac Provincial Park. I must have walked a good 4 kilometers or so in search of study sites for our growing MAPS network. I’ve started to learn that satellite and aerial photography is a useful tool but not a valid substitute for ground truthing. Yesterday, I was very lucky to find a good candidate study site by accident. The Compton Tortoiseshell pictured above was very shy and my persistence to ID the thing led me a ways off my intended track. I then noticed some intriguing habitat nearby and found what could be a new MAPS site for FBS!

Serviceberry blossoms

Serviceberry are blooming throughout the park. I am pretty sure this is Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis). They are the most eye catching plants out there right now but will soon fade into the background as their flowers drop and the other trees leaf out. Serviceberry are particularly common at the site found yesterday.

Upland hardwood forest

The site also has rich mature forest growing in steep valleys and upland slopes surrounding a small lake. Neither Rock Ridge (RRID) or Maplewood Bog (MABO) have this habitat, which makes this site particularly attractive. We know from last year’s surveys that Cerulean Warblers and Yellow-throated Vireos inhabit this forest around the lake. The problem with interior, mature forest like this is that the understorey is largely open and devoid of mistnetting opportunities. Fortunately, the mature forest surrounds a sizable area of regenerating woodland with lots of edges.

Thorn scrub

Here is a nice looking edge with thorn scrub, juniper and young trees. The combination of suitable edge habitat with mature forest is unique, which makes this a good candidate site for MAPS. One or two more visits to the area will be needed as I would like to see how it ‘greens’ out. It would also be helpful to learn a bit more about the bird community residing in the site before announcing any grand openings!

Large-flowered Trilliums

2 thoughts on “A tortoiseshell leads the way

  1. Great to have you back! It is wonderful to learn about the terrific natural spaces in the region and their inhabitants.

    Big smile, here.

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