A Mid-July Ramble Along the Credit River in Southern Ontario

Recently the weather was cool and calm enough to incite me to take a long walk along the banks of the mighty muddy Credit. Actually it was a bit muddy with the topsoil washed in the river by recent rains. And it had water in it which is a bit unusual some summers. There was lots to see along the way from wildflowers and butterflies to dragons and damsels and even a frog who’d found his princess.

Photo of Blue Jay Bath Credit River on NaturalCrooksDotCom
This Blue Jay had a drink then took a bath. Maybe it was checking how warm the water was before committing?

Photo of Red Admiral Second Batch On NaturalCrooksDotCom
This Red Admiral was one of a new batch of adults showing off their brilliant colours.

What Kind of Sandpipers Stalk the Rocks of the Credit River in Summer?

In spring or fall you might find many different types of shorebirds making a brief appearance along the Credit River. And by fall, of course, I mean from the last week of July onwards as shorebirds move south way earlier than I’d expect. However, two kinds of shorebirds can often be found along the river all summer: Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers.

Photo of Mallards and Spotted Sandpiper Credit River on NaturalCrooksDotCom
I try to take photos of every Mallard no matter how mangy they look while moulting: it pays off when you notice something more interesting behind them!

Killdeer are well known since they often live and nest in suburban neighbourhoods in school yards and baseball diamonds. They can be found along shores although they are not limited to a wet habitat.

Photo of Spotted Sandpiper Credit River July On NaturalCrooksDotCom
Spotted Sandpiper Stalking Prey

Spotted Sandpipers, though, usually like to have a least some wetland in their territories. Once nesting is over, of course, they move around and can be found in many small odd corners of Ontario.

Why Were the Green Frogs Literally Belly Flopping Across the Pond Beside the Credit?

Photo of Green Frog Pair on NaturalCrooksDotCom
The Green Frog won a girlfriend with his calls.

I stopped on my walk south along the Credit to admire three male Green Frogs who were calling occasionally in hopes of impressing a girl. On the way back upstream later, however, the calling had grown to a full chorus and the males had become very active jumping and splashing at each other. Only one, though, had found a partner who was attracted by his manly “twangs.”

What Swallows Are Trying to Build Mud Nests High Up Underneath the Burhamthorpe Bridge?

It was interesting to watch a group of Cliff Swallows trying to get nests started on the undersides of the bridge for Burnhamthorpe Road. The concrete is very smooth and it was obvious the mud was not sticking particularly well. I hope to get by later this summer to see if they had any success. Since they have already raised broods of young this year they must have had nests elsewhere earlier.

Photo of Cliff Swallow Building Nest on Burnhamthorpe Bridge On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Cliff Swallow nests are shaped a bit like a gourd with only a small opening for the parents to fly in and out of. Barn Swallow nests are shaped more like a Robin’s nest with an open top. Among other features, Cliff Swallows have a light whitish forehead, not a rusty forehead like a Barn Swallow.

What Kind of Damselfly Has No Colours?

It’s difficult to identify the many types of dragon and damselflies in Ontario. Males and females often have different colour patterns. Immature males often start their flying lives looking somewhat like the females but then change their markings, making ones in transition particularly confusing. And then there are the pale brown-grey-greenish damselflies with no apparent markings.

Photo of New Damselfly on White Sweet Clover on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Many of these are actually newly “hatched” damselflies. They have shed their nymph-skins and pumped up their wings but they have not actually matured enough for their colours to emerge. I suspect that this one was a new damselfly, particularly since it could not fly very well yet.

Butterflies and Blooms

Photo of Indigo Bunting In Staghorn Sumac on NaturalCrooksDotCom
This Indigo Bunting was beautiful but too fast for my limited photo skills.

The walk was brightened by many lovely wildflowers and an occasional four-winged flying blossom. It was well worth dodging the bicycles, joggers, hikers, runners, and fisherfolk to spend the morning rambling along the banks of the Credit.

Photo of Purple Prairie Clover in Crown Vetch on NaturalCrooksDotCom
I believe this is Purple Prairie Clover, standing tall in a field of Crown Vetch.

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Do you have a favourite summer ramble? Is there any creature you keep an eye out in particular? Please share your views with a comment.



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