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PARK BLOG # 15 Nature at its smallest August 2015

Visitors come from afar to Presqu’ile for the stunning waterfront scenery and beaches, bird watching is a passion for many, and nature lover’s young and old love to watch the Monarch Butterflies as they glide effortlessly through the fields and meadows.

But there is another side to Presqu’ile that can be just a little bit more challenging but just as fun to discover. Recently at the Park it was nature at its smallest that caught my attention as I walked the trails with my camera.

The blue panne trail runs perpendicular between the popular beach trail and main road into the Park. Even in August, rubber boots were necessary to navigate several wet areas and the mosquitoes were persistent in buzzing around us. Large Canada Darners darted after prey and the landscape was dotted with the delicate pink hues of the Obedient Plant. My husband spotted a movement and discovered the tiniest of Spring Peeper Frogs and somehow managed to have it hop onto his finger so that I could photograph it.

A short distance down the trail, another was nestled on a Milkweed Leaf soaking up the afternoon sun.

Many people profess not to like Spiders and yet they are amazing to capture in a photograph. August is a good month to find the stunning Black and Yellow Garden Spider. We found a small area where several had built their unique “zig zag” webs hoping to catch a delectable treat. You might need to use your macro or close-up setting on your camera in order to get a clear image.

Harder to spot was the elusive Flower Spider whose pink markings blended in perfectly with the Joe-Pye Weed allowing it to catch the juiciest of flies.

Butterflies are always present at Presqu’ile, and it’s easy to spot the magnificent Giant Swallowtail or Great Spangled Fritillary with it’s prominent black and brown markings in August. But equally impressive is the tiny Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly with its delicate orange markings.

Even tinier was the Chestnut-marked Pondweed Moth which eluded me for the better part of 30 minutes…always landing on the underside of a leaf. Finally, I was able to get an image that I could use to identify it once back home.

Children have a natural curiosity about bugs. And what little one wouldn’t enjoy seeing the spiky bum of this fly from the Tachinid Family. I’m still curious as to what are the appendages in the centre of its face. 

A Goldenrod Soldier Beetle was striking with his striped torso. I learned that they have a defence chemical called cantharidin that birds do not enjoy tasting.!!!

So big or small, it is always worth taking a second look at nature while hiking, biking, running or walking the trails at Presqu’ile. You never know what tiny creature is lurking under the rocks, crawling up a stem or hopping along the trail!!!

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