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Hawk Cliff is recognized as one of the prime fall migration hawk watching destinations in all North America.

 

Every year hundreds of birders (and non-birders!) from Canada, the U.S. and other countries visit Hawk Cliff. Birders can normally expect to see 15 different raptor species, with typical count totals reaching several thousand birds per day. On a few exceptional occasions lucky visitors have witnessed the amazing spectacle of over 100,000 raptors of various species migrating past Hawk Cliff in a single day!

Others come to enjoy the many song birds and Monarchs that also pass Hawk Cliff on their journey to warmer climes, or to walk the beautiful trails of Hawk Cliff Woods. This is a stunning 230 acre property and is one of the most significant deep interior forests in Elgin County. Hawk Cliff Woods is a maple-beech forest with many Carolinian specialties, including the Tulip-tree and Pignut Hickory as well as the Endangered Butternut and American Chestnut.   Rare birds such as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Wood Thrush thrive in the deep woods.

Please Contact Roberta Buchanan at roberta.buchanan@icloud.com or by phone 519-864-1475.

Date:  September 22, 2018

Place:  Lambton Mall parking lot – Carpooling is an option as it is an 80 minute drive.

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  (bring your lunch or visit nearby Port Stanley for lunch)

Daily Live-bird Demos at 11a.m. and 2 p.m.

What to Bring:  water, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen, lawn chair, binoculars, lunch

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Point Pelee National Park is a spectacular park to visit in any season, especially known for its spring and fall migration and its incredible biodiversity.  Seven Lambton Wildlife members were fortunate enough to camp there from September 6th to the 9th.

Where to begin …. The best place to begin is to say a big THANK YOU to Paul Carter who did an outstanding job organizing the camping trip. His expertise, along with the expertise of Larry Cornelis, was truly appreciated by everyone.  Each time we have the opportunity to hike with Paul and Larry we learn so much!

You will notice that in the photo Paul and Larry are sitting in red Adirondack chairs.  The Red Chair Experience began three years ago in Gros Morne National Park, and it is a way of connecting Canadians with nature in our country’s most unique and treasured places.

During our stay we were lucky to see many of the species of flora and fauna that Point Pelee has to offer.

Butterflies

We saw numerous monarch butterflies, which was encouraging because we all know that these butterflies are struggling as a species (keep planting those milkweed!).

We were treated to many other butterfly species including Common Buckeye, Giant Swallowtail (caterpillar photos below), Red-spotted Purple, Painted Lady, and Crescent.

Five-Lined Skinks

A highlight of the trip was seeing numerous five-lined skinks!  These beautiful animals are Ontario’s only lizard species.  They have scaly skin like all lizards and are fast, agile and prefer warm, dry habitats.

Dragonflies and Damselflies

There are a great number of species of dragonflies and damselflies in Point Pelee National Park.  Two notable ones that Paul pointed out were the Carolina Saddlebags and the Lance-tipped Darner – both lifers for us!  Some of the more common ones included orange bluets (?), twelve-spotted skimmer, and Common Green Darner.

Snakes

We were surprised to see a Melanistic Garter Snake just outside the canoe rental shop at the Boardwalk trail.  The melanistic color morph is a relatively common color morph that occurs naturally in the wild.   Another great find was a Northern Water Snake – if you look closely at the photos you will see that it had recently enjoyed a meal.

Birds

We were treated to a number of wonderful bird sightings that included both migratory and resident bird species.  It is hard to beat seeing fledgling birds.  The first photo is of a fledgling cedar waxwing that one of the campers spotted at the Cemetery entrance.  Other birds included immature and adult Bald Eagles, Osprey, Magnolia Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, and Wild Turkey.

There is so much to enjoy at Point Pelee National Park – we hope that seeing some of the beauty of the park will inspire you to visit it soon!

Meet: 8:30 am at the Pinery Provincial Park visitor centre.

Tell staff at the main gate you’re participating in the count.

There is a $4:00 fee to participate. Bring lunch and water.

Call Brenda to register.

Rain date is set for June 25th.

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If the allure of migrating raptors isn’t quite enough, Hawk Cliff is also a great place to see Monarch butterflies. These insects follow a similar route to the hawks and eagles when they head south for the winter, which means they also pass through the Hawk Cliff area.

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Butterflies belong to the order “lepidoptera”. Their suborder is rhoplocera and within it are two superfamilies-papilionoidea (true butterflies) and hesperioidea (skippers).

Worldwide there are about 14,500 species of butterflies. In North America, north of the Rio Grande, there are 717 species. In Lambton County, there are 75 to 80 species.

The life cycle of a butterfly is amazing. It consists of four stages of development: egg, caterpillar, and adult. The process of changing from one form to another is called “metamorphosis”. (more…)