Joany’s Woods is only a 25 minute drive from Strathroy. And this beautiful area has it all, wet (in places), swampy (in places), hilly (in places), mature hard-woods (in places), spruce and pine plantings (in places) — well you get the picture. Several great walking trails wind their way thru the property. Yet this Thames Talbot Land Trust area is relatively unknown.
Today the Strathroy Area Birding Club, caravan-style, left the parking lot of the Strathroy Seniors Centre shortly after 7:30 AM. As we pulled onto the roadway leading to the parking lot at Joany’s Woods, we slowed down, rolled down the windows and started looking around. There is water on both sides of this roadway. And up ahead a couple of WOOD DUCKS rose up out of the water. We proceeded at an even slower pace and noted 4 more WOOD DUCKS in the water up ahead. We watched them for a while from the vehicle and slowly inched forward. These 4 ducks eventually took to the air also.
As we disembarked from the vehicles in the parking area and prepared to hit the trail, we heard the unmistakable call of SANDHILL CRANES. There were just a couple of calls and they stopped. But we were beaming. WOOD DUCKS and SANDHILL CRANES, what a great start to the day!!!!!
We walked the “Inch Trail”. It took a little over 2 hours. For the most part the birds were silent. However, we came across small pockets of birds here and there. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, HERMIT THRUSH, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were the birds most frequently encountered this morning. At one point, a HOUSE WREN put in an appearance, providing very good looks as it perched on a branch in front of us. WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS were seen in several different locations. FIELD SPARROWS were found as they sang their trilling song loudly.
Occasionally, MALLARDS and WOOD DUCKS would take flight from some of the flooded swampy areas. DOWNY WOODPECKERS, NORTHERN FLICKERS and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS were seen working over trees, looking for that tasty morsel of food. TURKEY VULTURES, AMERICAN CROWS and a couple of RED-TAILED HAWKS were seen flying overhead. At one point, an immature BALD EAGLE was spotted circling in the sky in front of us.
Upon arriving back at the parking lot, we decided to walk back down the roadway that we came in on and see if the WOOD DUCKS had come back. We did not re-discover the WOOD DUCKS, however, as we were just about to turn around and head back to the car, an AMERICAN BITTERN took flight not more than 10 feet from where we stood. We had an awesome view of the bittern as it crossed over the road in front of us and disappeared into the trees. How unexpected and thrilling to see.
Part of the group had to leave at this point. The rest of us drove over to the other side of Joany’s Woods. We didn’t have a lot of time left, but wanted to walk along the river and check out one of the other trails. We did not see many birds here, but another BALD EAGLE flew around overhead. And we started to hear SANDHILL CRANES calling. Louder and louder. But they seemed to be above the clouds. We could not see them……at first. And then, up ahead, we saw a single SANDHILL CRANE come into sight as it dropped lower and lower and disappeared on the other side of the road and behind the trees.
A fitting ending to a great morning walk. We were back in town at approximately 12:30 PM. Thanks to all the attendees