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1. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014 The Aquila The Matt Holder Environmental Education Fund Hands-on Environmental Education Vesper Sparrow (Mike McEvoy) THIS ISSUE The Committee…
  • 1. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014 The Aquila The Matt Holder Environmental Education Fund Hands-on Environmental Education Vesper Sparrow (Mike McEvoy) THIS ISSUE The Committee Why Thickson’s Woods? The Birds - update The Bats The Moths The Butterflies
  • 2. The Aquila The Matt Holder Environmental Education Fund Committee Carol Allan - Margaret Bain - Dennis Barry - Barb Haynes Phill Holder - Sue Holder - Kelly Reyenga “Spread the Word” David Beadle - Moth Consultant; Toby Thorne - Bat Consultan American Toad (Mike McEvoy) PURPOSE To find students with a passion for nature and provide them with opportunities to fund their research within Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve. To develop baseline documentation on the Reserve biodiversity so that changes can be monitored. And if necessary, take appropriate steps to protect and improve the biodiversity of the Reserve for future generations. LATEST COMMITTEE BUSINESSTo findstudents with a passion for nature and provide them with opportunities to fund The Birds of Thickson’s Woods - Over 700 sold Web site launch: Fund Brochure - approved 2015 Calendar - Monthly species decided Potential Projects - General informal discussion • Moths • Butterflies • Dragonflies • Bee-keeping • Snakes • Invasive Plants • Tree Inventory • Mammals • Bats • Insects • Fungi • Spiders • Water Quality • Turtles • Frogs • Bird Migration At a meeting on July 23 2014, we were fortunate to have a presentation from Anders Holder from Environment Canada on Government grants available through their EcoAction Community Funding Program for habitat restoration and protection. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 3. The Aquila Why Thickson’s Woods? Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve is critical!To There are very few privately protected wildlife areas on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Free of political influence or pressure from development, Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve sits as an oasis in the middle of a concrete desert. Hence the Reserve has become critical as an indicator of how industrialization impacts historical, present and future biodiversity. Known since the 1960s as a birding “hotspot”, there is much more to the Reserve than being an important bird migration stopover. There have been many impressive historical sightings of all kinds of wildlife, from beavers to rare butterflies to dragonflies to bats, as well as many unusual plants and trees. But most non-bird sightings have only been through casual encounters and have not been fully documented. It is becoming ever more important to record what is happening to the biodiversity of the Reserve in our efforts to manage any negative changes within our control. Dennis Barry has been actively leading the charge against Garlic Mustard and Dog Strangling Vine, both imports from Europe which have a devastating effect on native flora and fauna. The impact of invasions of Eurasian Lady Bugs on native species may be a prob-lem to native Lady Bugs. But certainly Margaret Carney’s recent discovery of Red Fire Ants, again from Europe, will have an impact on the Reserve. On this basis, the Matt Holder Environmental Education Fund has been set up in the memory of Matt in the hope that young naturalists will be encouraged to do research projects towards creating a complete inventory of the biodiversity of the Reserve and thus provide the data to help protect any species at risk. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 4. The Aquila Prothonotary Warbler in Thickson’s Woods, May 16, 2014 (Ed McAskill) THE BIRDS OF THICKSON’S WOODS - UPDATE The recent publication “The Birds of Thickson’s Woods, an Annotated Checklist” has been very successful in raising funds to provide grants for natural history research in the Reserve and will sell out soon. There have been two additions to the checklist so far this year - Arctic Tern and Acadian Flycatcher. Another highlight of the Spring was the Prothonotary Warbler that turned up in May. This was only the third record of this species following one seen in May 1977 and another in May 2010. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 5. The Aquila New Publications 2015 Calendar - $15 with brilliant photographs by Mike McEvoy and Rosemary Harris Designed by Carol Allan Thickson’s Woods Field Checklist of Birds - $2 Also available (by request during May at Thickson’s) is a pocket Bird Field Checklist with all the species recorded in the Thickson’s Woods Reserve Area. All proceeds from publications will go towards grants for student research within the Reserve. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 6. The Aquila Recent Activity THE BATS The very nature of their nocturnal activity makes it extremely difficult to determine which bat species visit the Reserve or call the Re-serve home. Residents see bats flying at dusk all the time during the summer months but few are positively identified. Matt studied bats as part of his work in Alberta and used a Bat Detector to determine species identification and activity. We felt that identifying and documenting bat activity in the Reserve would be a perfect project for the Environmental Fund to sponsor. With this in mind I contacted Dr. Brock Fenton, a world expert on bats, from Western University. He was very helpful in explaining the technological advances in Bat Detector equipment and which types we should buy. As a coincidence, one of Brock’s Students was giving a talk at Kingston Field Naturalists on his work on Great Lakes Bat Migration, so I contacted him (Toby Thorne) and explained our ideas. He was excited to learn more about the Fund so Margaret Bain and I went to see him at the KFN meeting, and then met the next day to talk all things bats. Margaret and I learned a great deal about bats and how much is NOT known about bats in Ontario. Toby has agreed to make a presen-tation about bats to the Fund Committee in November, with emphasis on equipment, methods and species identification. Toby has also agreed to come to Thickson’s next year to conduct a “Bat Walk” and to help us with our program. Toby will be our Bat Consultant. BATS OF ONTARIO There are nine species of bats documented in Ontario. Eastern Small-footed Bat - possibly visits the Reserve. Little Brown Bat - Formerly very common but populations are rapidly declining due to White Nose Syndrome. Has been recorded in the Reserve. Northern Long-eared Bat- Probable in the Reserve, but no formal records. Silver-haired Bat - Not often encountered but visits the Reserve. Migrates south each winter prior to hibernation. Tri-colored Bat (formally Eastern Pipistrelle) - Common along the north shore of Lake Ontario, so certainly will be found in the Reserve. Big Brown Bat - Commonly seen in the Reserve and probably overwinters in the Woods. Eastern Red Bat - Common throughout the province. Recorded in the Reserve. Migrates south each winter. Hoary Bat - Our largest Bat, should be recorded in the Reserve but no records yet. Migrates south each winter. Evening Bat - a southern migratory species. A specimen was collected at Point Pelee in May 1911. Unlikely to occur in the Reserve. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 7. The Aquila The Bats of Thickson’s Woods Reserve As of October 2014 four of the eight expected species have been recorded in Thickson’s Woods Reserve. Little Brown Bat (Glenn Coady pers. comm.) Silver-haired Bat (Glenn Coady pers. comm.) Big Brown Bat (Glenn Coady, Dennis Barry pers. comm.) Eastern Red Bat (Glenn Coady, Dennis Barry pers. comm.) Big Brown Bat (Toby Thorne) If you have sightings of any bat species you have encountered in the reserve, please let me know. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 8. The Aquila Darling Underwing (David Beadle) Homemade Moth Trap (Phill Holder) THE MOTHS As far as we know, there has been no work done on moths within the Reserve, and considering the varied habitat and proximity to the lake there should be a considerable species list. In fact moth expert David Beadle - author of the Peterson Guide to Moths of Eastern North America, tells us we should be able to record over 1000 species in the Reserve over time. So with David’s guidance I built a moth trap. Then on September 20th, David and a bunch of us set up my trap in the front garden of Margaret and Dennis’s home and David, along with Steve LaForest and Carolyn King hung a white sheet over a line in Glenn Coady’s back yard, and illuminated the sheet with a bright mercury vapour light bulb. This works as an attraction for moths, which they can’t resist the temptation to land on the sheet. It was exciting as we watched moths fly in, land and wait to be identified. Conditions weren’t ideal, and intermittent rain restrict-ed the time we had. But the highlight of the night was a beautiful Darling Underwing Moth that flew in just before the rain started in earnest. My Moth Trap was also successful. Although designed to be left unattended overnight, we shut it down when the rain started. We would like to conduct regular “Moth Nights” starting in the Spring and hopefully find a student or students to run the overnight Moth Traps every weekend from Spring to Fall. I hope to make a couple more Moth Traps so that we can cover different habitats within the Reserve at the same time. None of the traps are lethal. We will photograph and release what we catch. So, starting on September 20, 2014 we have an official Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve Moth List of 21 Species. Thanks to David Beadle for agreeing to keep the list and be our Moth Consultant. Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 9. The Aquila The List of Moths of Thickson’s Woods Reserve Actual photographs from the first Thickson’s Moth Night: Left: Darling Underwing with wings folded and Right: A Faint-spotted Palthis (David Beadle). Sp. Number Scientific Name Common Name 951 Machimia tentoriferella Gold-striped Leaftier Moth 1986 Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis Goldenrod Gall Moth 4716 Scoparia biplagiata Double-striped Scoparia 4755 Synclita obliteralis Waterlily Leafcutter 5156 Nomophila nearctica Lucerne Moth 7390 Xanthorhoe lacustrata Toothed Brown Carpet 8322 Idia americalis American Idia 8323 Idia aemula Common Idia 8397 Palthis angulalis Dark-spotted Palthis 8398 Palthis asophialis Faint-spotted Palthis 8832 Catocala cara Darling Underwing 9639 Amphipyra tragapoginis Mouse Moth 10397 Lacinipolia renigera Bristly Cutworm Moth 10436 Aletia oxygala Lesser Wainscot 10524 Nephelodes minians Bronzed Cutworm Moth 10641 Agrotis vetusta Old Man Dart 10676 Feltia herilis Master’s Dart 10915 Peridroma saucia Pearly Underwing 10942.1 Xestia dolosa Greater Black Letter Dart 10944 Xestia smithii Smith’s Dart 10955 Agnorisma badinodis Pale-banded Dart Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 10. The Aquila THE BUTTERFLIES A list of butterflies has been developed over the years, consisting of casual sightings and observations during Butterfly Counts. There are 38 species on the list, which should increase as we conduct regular Butterfly Counts. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Mike McEvoy) Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 11. The Aquila Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve Butterfly List Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Regular but uncommon. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Papilio canadensis Regular in late spring/early summer. Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor Rare visitor. Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio Troilus Rare visitor. One record. Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes Fairly common. Breeds. Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes Uncommon visitor. Cabbage White Pieris rapae Abundant resident & migrant. Breeds. Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice Uncommon to abundant. Most common in fall. Numbers vary from year to year. Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme Rare to abundant. Most common in fall, but rare in some years. Bronze Copper Lycaena hyllus Uncommon. White M Hairstreak Parrhasius m-album Rare visitor. One record. Banded Hairstreak Satyrium calanus Uncommon Acadian Hairstreak Satyrium acadica Uncommon. Coral Hairstreak Satyium titus Uncommon. Spring Azure Celastrina ladon Common. Summer Azure Celastrina ladon violacea Common to abundant. Eastern Tailed-blue Cupido comyntas Uncommon to common. Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus Uncommon but becoming more regular. Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele Uncommon Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos Common, more so later in the season. Northern Crescent Phyciodes cocyta Common in spring and early summer. Question Mark Polygonia interrogationis Uncommon. Eastern Comma Polgonia comma Fairly common. Adults winter in the woods. Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa Fairly common resident. Adults winter in the woods. American Lady Vanessa virginiensis Uncommon to common. Numbers vary from year to year. Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Common to rare depending on year. Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Uncommon to abundant depending on year. Often arrives in early April. Common Buckeye Junonia coenia Rare to common. Breeding colony on disturbed land west of Thickson Road. Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax Rare. White Admiral Limenitis arthemis arthemis Regular during summer. Little Wood Satyr Megisto cymela Rare. Common Wood-nymph Cercyonis pegala Rare. Eyed Brown Satyrodes eurydice Uncommon. Monarch Danaus plexippus Common to abunbant. Common fall migrant, but during late August of 2005 and 2006 large numbers used the woods for a week or more as a staging area prior to departure for their wintering grounds in the mountains of Mexico. Numbers roosting in the woods peaked at an estimated 100,000, with several thousand clustered on single trees. An individual banded in the meadow in mid-September several years ago was found dead in Tennessee three days later. Viceroy Limenitis archippus Uncommon. Wild Indigo Duskywing Erynnis baptisiae Rare. European Skipper Thymelicus lineola Common. Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor Uncommon. Pearl Crescent (Mike McEvoy) Issue #1 OCTOBER 2014
  • 12. The Aquila I have purchased five and and made five butterfly nets and Rayfield Pye has agreed to conduct regular Butterfly Counts within the Reserve next year to see if we can increase the list. We hope to find one or more young students to come out and document what we find. We hope that during all these activities we will catch many other kinds of bugs and new lists can be created. A REQUEST: If you have historical sightings of snakes, frogs, turtles, salamanders, bats, butterflies or moths – or any other noteworthy sightings within the Reserve boundary, we would love to know about them. Or if you are at the Reserve and see something that could be added to the list, please send these sightings to Dennis Barry or Phill Holder at WANTED: Students with a passion for wildlife, to conduct Environmental Projects/Studies at Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve. Grants available. Contact Phill Holder at If you have hi res photographs of birds or other wildlife taken within the Thickson’s Woods Nature Reserve, please contact Phill Holder at Thanks to Carol Allan, Margaret Bain, Dennis Barry, David Beadle, Margret Carney, Glenn Coady, Brock Fenton, Barb Haynes, Sue Holder, Carolyn King, Steve LaForest, Ed McAskill, Mike McEvoy, Rayfield Pye, Kelly Reyenga, Toby Thorne and the Thickson’s Woods Land Trust. Visit Us On All images are copyright Hawk Owl Publishing
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