Monday, March 10, 2014

Signs of spring

Well here we are, it's almost spring. Sure as hell wouldn't know it right now, even here in extreme southwestern Ontario.  Normally we would be observing flocks of Tundra Swans, lots of ducks, Killdeer, and those flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds that darken the sky....well maybe the last one is a little extreme.  Long story short we are not seeing any of it really.  (that is until today March 10th as Jeremy Hatt is out right now looking at multiple Killdeer, along with lots of waterfowl and geese in the fields along Concession C)

There have been some goodies around.  Jeremy Hatt had two Greater White-fronted Geese last week, while the highlight of the month so far were the Red-necked Grebes first located by Jeremy Hatt and Jeremy Bensette on Lake Erie off the northeast beach of Hillman Marsh on March 5th.  I went out with Mom last Friday to go for a drive around the onion fields and when we arrived at the beach along with Alan Wormington and Rick Mayos there were an estimated 36 Red-necked Grebes on the lake! As stated by many, these Red-necked Grebes are most likely (if not most definitely) over wintering birds that have been pushed out of the many frozen lakes and are trying to find open water.

When Jeremy and I went birding Sunday afternoon, we only saw 1 Red-necked Grebe on Lake Erie.  We also encountered what Jeremy is pretty confident was one of his earlier Greater White-fronted Geese. We later drove into Point Pelee and checked out Lake Erie at the end of Shuster Trail.  The lake was ice as far as the eye can see. Our highlight in the park itself was a red phased Screech-Owl near the Blue Heron parking lot.

Cute as a button red phased Eastern Screech-Owl.  Photo by Marianne Reid-Balkwill.

We also had our first Turkey Vulture for the year soaring effortlessly near Freddy's Park Stop and 3 imm. Red-shouldered Hawks at different locations while driving north of the park. American Crows were also migrating north, and we occasionally heard the odd male Red-winged Blackbird on territory.  As for waterfowl, the lake on the east side had many of your typical divers at this time of year but in far lower numbers (except Long-tailed Duck which have been in higher numbers) than what you would expect by this date, and it wasn't until late afternoon when we saw some Tundra Swans in the onion fields.  Other than these few tidbits on Sunday, the area still seemed like a frozen wasteland.

Luckily, today (March 10th) things are turning around with 8 degrees Celsius weather and strong southwest winds. Send in the ducks!!

In other news: Guess what comes out tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. More like send in the clowns for Wednesday! Crazy weather!