It’s the summer solstice today – to be precise at 6:51am – and we took a stroll down to Ste-Anne to check out the farmers’ market and to wander along the waterfront. It’s been a month and a day since I added a new species to the patch list (plenty of old friends, but nothing new) and I was beginning to get twitchy about the fact. Along the breakwater west of the lock gates there was a fair number of Swallow activity taking insects – about which I will talk in a moment – from just above the water. Tree Swallows, of course, they being the common ones hereabouts but also Barn Swallows, at least one Cliff Swallow and – hallelujah – a small number of Northern Rough-winged Swallows (#116).
The universe is returned to an even keel.
No pictures, Swallows are really hard to capture as they move so fast and anyway, i just had a short lens with me but it did enable me to find out what all the bird activity was about. There was an active hatch of sedge flies out there on the water and, in fact, several of them kept landing on our clothes and on my hat as we walked along. What’s a sedge fly, you ask? Can’t find those in my entomology field guide. Well, a sedge fly is the fly-fisherman’s name for caddis flies (Trichoptera) – don’t ask why – and they are a major food source for both fish and birds. In fact there were quite a number of fishy rises to the hatching flies, all ignored by three asiatic fishermen who were determinedly facing away from the activity and fishing in the calmer waters on the opposite side of the breakwater. You would think the birds at least would have given them a clue, but no.
Anyway, here is a photo of a sedge fly sitting on my hat … to be specific here is a photo of a Zebra Caddisfly (Macrostemum zebratum). Look at those enormous antennae, way longer than its body and wings.
… and here is where all the activity was. Birds and flies and fish to the left … fisherman looking in the opposite direction.