The Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga Ontario is a park that combines both a formal garden area near the main parking lot and a somewhat wild ravine park along the Credit River. It offers many different types of habitats from dry meadows to wet cattail marshes for butterflies with varying interests and needs. For someone who likes to try to photo “capture” butterflies to identify them and learn more about them, it’s a wonderful park to visit in July.
So What Exactly Are These Small Skipper-sized Tan Brown and Bronze Butterflies with a few Faint White or Cream Marks and Dashes?
Luckily, southern Ontario doesn’t have too many plainly coloured Skippers. Even so, I had trouble sorting out the ones I was seeing in the flower gardens at Riverwood in mid-July. Eventually, with the help of some better butterfly watchers, I found out I was seeing two different types.
Northern Broken Dash Skippers Live in Southern Ontario
The first Skippers I saw were mostly perching on leaves until they saw another butterfly then launching into the air to inspect it. If the other butterfly was a different type, like a Red Admiral, they would quickly settle down to wait again. If it was another Skipper, they would zoom up in a tight spiral presumably trying to intimidate rivals or find a partner.
Every so often, they would also re-fuel from the dwarf domesticated Bee Balm flowers.Although there were several flowers blooming in the gardens, these Northern Broken-dash Skippers didn’t seem interested in anything but the Bee Balm.
Dun Skippers Are Pretty Plain Brown Butterflies
Another type of brown Skipper was also checking out the garden for friends and foes. Several Dun Skippers were also perching and patrolling.
Will These Skippers Be Damaging the Garden Flowers?
After I got home, I looked up these Skippers in the ROM Field Guide.
Northern Broken-dash skipper caterpillars feed on grasses, including “Hairy Crabgrass” and “Panicgrasses.” So I don’t think the gardeners at Riverwood will be too dismayed.
Dun Skippers caterpillars eat Sedges. Given the close proximity of a marsh and a woodlot to the gardens at Riverwood, I’m sure these butterflies can find several types of sedges for their caterpillars to munch on. Again, the gardeners can admire them without concern.
I was really pleased to see so many butterflies so easily at Riverwood. The gardens are accessible to wheelchairs and walkers with limited mobility with wide gravelled paths and some benches. Some parts can also be seen from cement paved paths. It would be a good place to visit for anyone interested in flowers and butterflies.
- A Photo List of the Butterflies of Riverwood, the Rattray and Other Spots In and Around Mississauga
- Spring Butterflies Sip Sap at Riverwood
- November Butterflies and a Cattle Egret at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke
Have you ever had to sort out some plain brown butterflies? Does a garden near you host a variety of colourful visitors? Please share your experiences with a comment.