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Bill Mason Sand Pit (part 1)

I've been exploring the flora and fauna at the pond near Bill Mason Centre. Apparently it's a disused sand quarry. The sandy habitat attracts some unique flowers--including lots of pretty pink bell-shaped flowers in bloom right now (gerardia, I think?)--as well as interesting insects and concentrations of insects.

On my last visit I was swarmed by darners, a very large and active class of dragonflies. I like their boldness (they'll often fly right up to my face as if inspecting me), and my camera likes them because they're big enough to easily get in focus--that is, if they'll sit still long enough!

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A Canada Darner, I think--they were the majority. Best viewed at wallpaper res.

Canada Darner chowing down on a small beetle.

Clouded Sulphur. Confusingly, although there exists a "Pink-Edged Sulfur", this isn't one. He was nectaring on yellow and pink flowers, appropriately enough.

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When this guy landed noisily on the sand I thought he was the strangest thing I'd ever seen:

On an impulse, I googled "cicada" back home and my mystery was quickly solved. I guess this was my first cicada. I always assumed they looked like crickets!

(Continued in next post...)

"exuberance and preposterousness"Bill Mason Sand Pit (part 2)


September 8th, 2013 at 9:39 am
Nice... I really like the darner pics!

Mustang Sallie
September 8th, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Love that yellow butterfly!

September 8th, 2013 at 7:15 pm
Beautiful shots - I love the first darner and the second sulphur photo. Apparently we have Pink-edged Sulphurs in Ottawa, though I've never seen any; I should find out from the butterfly group where the best place to see them is.

Have you been to the field at the back of the trail (if you had bypassed the pit and kept walking through the woods)? The shelter there is named the "Dragonfly Shelter" and I've seen darners there as well. This makes me really want to head out there sometime!

September 8th, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Thanks! I thought sure a sulphur with such a distinct pink edge must have a name like "Pink-Edged Sulphur" or something, and was pleased to find just such a name on Google--then disappointed on further research that no, all I had seen was a plain ol' Clouded Sulphur.

Yes, I've been back to the meadow a few times, earlier in the year when my focus was birds. Found Chestnut-Sided Warblers and Field Sparrows there.