Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sora Rail and Checkered White Butterflies


Sora Rail, Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, WI; 6/16/2012.
Until a month ago, I've only managed to see a Sora Rail once. It was over two years ago in a marshy area in Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, IL. And despite my many efforts, I never saw one there again. That marshy area has not been much of a wetland for the past two years, so it's no wonder that Soras would not stay there as a breeding ground. I've heard their whinny-like call emanating from marshes in several other areas (mostly Horicon Marsh and Necedah Wildlife Refuge - both in Wisconsin), but not in Illinois. So on June 16, while I was hiking in the Horicon Marsh, on a narrow spit of trail sandwiched between the large marsh, I heard the sharp call of a Sora Rail and it sounded very close. I scanned the reeds to try to locate where the sound might be coming from, but to no avail I couldn't spot it. After a few minutes I no longer heard it and decided to move on. As I turned, I saw some movement in the reeds on the other side of the trail. And there high-stepping through the shallow water was a Sora Rail (Above).
The same Sora escaping into the reeds, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 6/16/2012.
I was able to get a couple of pics before it slipped into the thicker cattail reeds (Above).
The last glimpse of the Sora, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 6/16/2012.
It only made its appearance for a matter of seconds before it was swallowed up by the cattails and gone from sight. That is the same thing that happened when I saw my only other Sora at Rock Cut SP - I saw it for a couple of seconds and then it melted into the reeds.


A male Checkered White, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/12/2012.
As promised, I am including pictures of butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies in my posts for the remainder of the summer. Today's butterfly is the Checkered White (Above). I almost ignored these guys thinking they were the same as the Cabbage Whites (yesterday's post) that I have been seeing for the past several weeks. As I was trying to search out some Grasshopper Sparrows (which I failed to find - only heard), I noticed that these little white butterflies seemed to have different markings on their wings than the Cabbage Whites. So I gave them closer attention, took some pics, and sure enough, they were indeed a different species.
A female Checkered White, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/12/2012.
The females have a bit fancier markings on their wings (Above).

A male Checkered White with its wings spread, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/12/2012.
Like Cabbage Whites, the Checkered Whites can be found across the U.S., however unlike the Cabbages, which are common all over, the Checkereds are more common West of the Mississippi River, and into Mexico and Florida. So it was cool that I was able to see them in a less common area.

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