Monthly Archives: March 2012
This park in Ontario is part of a 40-kilometre-long sandspit in Lake Erie. It is recognized as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations. It is a world-renowned refuge and stopover for migrating birds in fall and spring. Every spring for quite a number of years now, I make a couple of pilgramages to the park. It is about a 1½ hr. drive from my home in Strathroy. Usually once in March and another visit in April. Generally, I don’t stay very long. I always head to the banding station on Old Cut Road first. Banding nets are set up early in the morning and I believe they come down at noon. They are checked every 20 minutes.
Yesterday, as I wandered the trails around the netting area, the trees were full of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and BROWN CREEPERS. I heard a CAROLINA WREN singing but couldn’t locate it.
Kinglets are difficult to photograph because they hardly ever sit still.
NORTHERN FLICKERS and DARK-EYED JUNCOS were moving thru the trees, heading north. AMERICAN ROBINS and NORTHERN CARDINALS were flitting around. The weather was perfect in the morning.
After leaving the banding station, I drove around the area for a bit before turning around and heading back home.
And I’m planning to take advantage of it and head out, walk some trails and go exploring. Yippee!!
This morning I headed out early. It is a fairly short walk to the conservation area and I got there shortly before 9 AM. The weather is still nice, although there is a storm headed our way later this afternoon supposedly. I walked back to the bridge and around the trail several times. Since it was so nice, I figured that I might run into others out trekiing around the trails. But it was very quiet. What was REALLY noticeable, was how things have greened up in just a few days. I was on the trail this past Tuesday and I really wasn’t aware of anything loking all that green, but today there was so much more greenery. All kinds of green growth on the ground and bushes (wild honeysuckle always leafs out early – and there is alot of it at the conservation area). WOW. While I was there, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON flew by overhead. I saw a HAIRY WOODPECKER. And there were several RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS calling and flying around.
Before I sign off, I also want to mention that it is good to read posts from my blogger friends. So good to hear about their activities and thoughts.
I got thru a couple more days at work. Kinda slow. But things are picking up this weekend. Saturday I am attending a workshop in London. It deals with the process to be followed when a church is going to be looking for a new minister. And then on Sunday, I going to Hamilton to watch my son and his wife participate in a 3/4 marathon race. This should be neat. Really looking forward to it. Friday afternoon I am heading into London to visit a friend in the hospital. That leaves me only Friday morning to get out and go for a walk on the trails. I think I will head for the Strathroy Conservation Area at 9 in the morning. This should give me a couple of hours to wander around there.
Members of the Strathroy Area Birding Group headed towards the Grand Bend/Port Franks area Saturday morning shortly after 9 AM. It was a bit foggy, but the forecast was good and the fog lifted before long.
Our first stop was in Warwick. We drove to the traditional spot where TURKEY VULTURES roost in the trees along Egremont Road just on the western edge of town. However, it must be a little early in the season as there were no vultures to be seen there yesterday morning.
Our second stop was the Thedford Sewage Lagoons. In order to get to the ponds, it is necessary to climb up and over the gate at the trail entrance. Then it is a short walk back to the ponds. This stop was well worth it, as there were alot of CANADA GEESE, numerous ducks and four TUNDRA SWANS just waiting for us. The ducks seen there were MALLARD, NORTHERN SHOVELER, CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, and COMMON GOLDENEYE. A couple of these were “lifers” for one member of the group.
From there, we headed towards Port Franks. Along the way we stopped to observe a duck on a small farm pond. It seemed odd to us. In that , we could not identify it at the time. It was obviously a female, but what species? Pictures were taken and after analyzing the pictures, I have determined that it was a female RING-NECKED DUCK. Not unusual at this time of year, but the plumage sure had us baffled this morning.
Our third stop, was at the Port Franks area, we drove up Outer Drive, stopped at a bridge and scanned the water for any birdlife. Other than an AMERICAN CROW, a TURKEY VULTURE and a small painted turtle crossing the road, we did not see much here. We moved on down and parked at the slough, not far from Lake Huron. There is a little trail here that we followed down to the lake. Here we observed RING-BILLED GULLS, HERRING GULLS, GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and a GLAUCOUS GULL. A GREAT BLUE HERON flew in from out over the water. As we walked back to the car, we heard the call of a SANDHILL CRANE. Walking along the road that runs along beside the slough, we kept hearing the call of the crane. DARK-EYED JUNCOS and AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS followed along beside us in the scrubs. SONG SPARROWS kept popping up in the reeds singing. A NORTHERN FLICKER flew by over-head. A COMMON MERGANSER sat resting at the edge of the slough. A pair of HOUSE FINCH flew across the road and landed in a spruce tree in front of us. As we were leaving the area, a BELTED KINGFISHER was spotted perched on a snag out over the water. And a short while later a PURPLE FINCH was seen singing from the top of a tall spruce tree.
Time for lunch. We headed to Grand Bend and had a nice lunch at Aunt Gussies Restaurant.
After lunch, we started back towards Strathroy, taking the “scenic” route. This involved a drive thru a campground in Port Franks where we saw several HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS busy working the trees over and chasing each other around. Working our way along some backroads in the Sylvan road area, we noticed a flock of geese and swans in a field.
We stopped and counted 18 TUNDRA SWANS.
Our next stop on the “scenic” route back to town was a visit to the entrance and parking lot area of Joannie’s Woods. Here we observed several quite large fish in the little stream along the entrance road.
Now we were serious about getting back and headed down Sylvan Road towards Hungry Hollow. Of course when a rather large bird sitting in a tree off in the distance is sighted, you just have to stop and have a better look. It was too far away to get a real good look, but we figured that it must be a BALD EAGLE. Pictures were taken. And when I got home and enlarged the pics on my computer, it was obviously an eagle.
This image is a bit blurry because it was taken from quite a distance and then enlarged.
A great day of being out in the beautiful spring weather and seeing lots of birds made for a rather special trip. Thanks to all the participants.
- Canada Goose
- Tundra Swan
- Northern Shoveler
- Ring-necked Duck
- Common Goldeneye
- Common Merganser
- Great Blue Heron
- Turkey Vulture
- Bald Eagle
- Red-tailed Hawk
- American Kestrel
- Sandhill Crane (heard several times, but not sighted)
- Ring-billed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Glaucous Gull
- Greater Black-backed Gull
- Rock Pigeon
- Morning Dove
- Belted Kingfisher
- Downy Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Blue Jay
- American Crow
- Black-capped Chickadee
- White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
- American Robin
- European Starling
- American Tree Sparrow
- Song Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Northern Cardinal
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Common Grackle
- Purple Finch
- House Finch
What a nice morning for a walk in the park. Bird sound was loud and coming from all directions. I heard Pileated Woodpeckers calling repeatedly. Saw Hairy Woodpeckers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Chickadees were all over the place. Several Downies. I didn’t bring my camera and was kicking myself as a pair of Wood Ducks put on quite a show. And Blue Jays were everywhere. There must have been a big influx of migratory Blue Jays. They seemed to be streaming thru the park and calling loudly.