Pics and Tale of the Trip

18 Mar

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.


  1. Canada Goose
  2. Tundra Swan
  3. Mallard
  4. Northern Shoveler
  5. Canvasback
  6. Redhead
  7. Ring-necked Duck
  8. Bufflehead
  9. Common Goldeneye
  10. Common Merganser
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. Turkey Vulture
  13. Bald Eagle
  14. Red-tailed Hawk
  15. American Kestrel
  16. Sandhill Crane (heard several times, but not sighted)
  17. Killdeer
  18. Ring-billed Gull
  19. Herring Gull
  20. Glaucous Gull
  21. Greater Black-backed Gull
  22. Rock Pigeon
  23. Morning Dove
  24. Belted Kingfisher
  25. Downy Woodpecker
  26. Hairy Woodpecker
  27. Northern Flicker
  28. Blue Jay
  29. American Crow
  30. Black-capped Chickadee
  31. White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
  32. American Robin
  33. European Starling
  34. American Tree Sparrow
  35. Song Sparrow
  36. Dark-eyed Junco
  37. Northern Cardinal
  38. Red-winged Blackbird
  39. Common Grackle
  40. Purple Finch
  41. House Finch
1 Comment

Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “Pics and Tale of the Trip

  1. Bob Zeller

    March 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    That’s quite a list, Dave, and it sounds like you had a great time. That’s the kind of birding that I like to do.

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