“We saw 22 butterflies!” yelled a young South Shore Stroll participant from 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 last weekend was remarkable for participants and not only for the volume of butterflies but also the varied varieties.
“Of particular interest were several Canadian Swallowtails, a beautiful Mourning Cloak and four Monarchs,” said Cheryl Anderson. “Milkweed both common and the rarer Swamp variety were 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 Provincially designated Wildlife Area last 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,” Anderson expressed. “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.”
Many species of Dragonflies, including a beautiful Twelve-spotted Skimmer Delicate Damselflies swarmed over the swampy areas with many of the muddy puddles being home to Leopard Frogs. Unfortunately for the participants, the only snake seen was a small Milk snake who 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,” stated Anderson. “We wondered about who would despoil the Provincial Wildlife Area in this way.”
At the lake, participants rested and replenished and also found a few fossils and some interesting drift wood among the beach stones while the younger participants had fun skipping the flatter stones out over the crashing waves.
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.
“Walking back to our vehicles, Anderson said. We practised our “birding by ear” and added a Northern Cardinal to the list.”
The next South Shore Stroll will be on August 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.
For more information and to register please visit www.ssji.ca/south_shore_events