Sunday, 7 June 2015

Birds and Butterflies on the Ellice Swamp Rail Trail

I spent part of my afternoon walking the rail trail of the Ellice Swamp.  I had been wanting to return to this location for a while and even though I only had half an hour, I decided to walk the trail.  Cloud cover was slowly rolling in and the wind had picked up as I arrived.

  As I prepared to enter the trail, I noticed a painted turtle along the shoulder of the road, slowly attempting to cross.  It is common to see turtles attempting to cross roads this time of year and sadly many are hit while doing so.  I could see which direction this turtle was headed and so I moved it to the other side safely off the road.
The turtle pulled into its shell when I came over.

Safely on the other side of the road.

With my turtle transporting complete, I headed off along the trail.  The wind was blowing fairly strong at this point and the turkey vultures were some of the first birds I saw soaring on the wind currents.
Turkey vultures against the clouds.  I could have cropped the image, but I liked the look of the immense size of the sky.
I saw a buttrefly fluttering around and at first thought it was a first-of-year monarch.  I didn't get a close look, but based on size and brief glimpses, I concluded it must have been the monarch look-alike, the viceroy.
This photo of a viceroy was taken a couple years ago near Erieau Ontario.  Note the vertical black stripe on the bottom wing that can set it apart from monarchs.

The monarchs lack the stripe on the bottom wing and are slightly larger than the viceroy as seen in this picture taken last year.

The milkweed along the trail was ready for the monarchs whenever they do arrive.

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