Thursday 14 May 2020

Lambton Loons and Other Stuff

Yesterday I ventured further afield to Lambton county. There was been an absolutely stunning Pacific Loon in the Sarnia Bay over the past few days, and I wanted to check it out. I have only ever seen the species once prior, and it certainly did not give views like that!

My dad and I arrived early on. It was a gorgeous day, and with the sun to our backs, it really lit up the bay. A Common Loon was present upon our arrival.

After a little bit of searching, the target species popped up, quite literally!

With that bird out of the way, I wanted to check out Canatara Park. It was the birdiest morning I had had all year, even if diversity was relatively low. Seems like today was really good, and some nice birds popped up (including a Kirtland's Warbler, which I have never seen)! I had nine species of warblers, including my first of year Magnolia and Orange-crowned. Just to give testament to how slow the spring has been, that Magnolia literally took my breath away when I spotted it! My other first of the year was a Gray-cheeked Thrush. Almost seems early, even though its late! I haven't had a Swainson's Thrush yet.

After Canatara, I opted to head south to Sombra. I stopped in at a few places along the way. At Guthrie Park there were a couple Common and Forster's Terns. Cathcart Park proved to be quite birdy! The place was covered with Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, as well as many swallows. A few shorebirds in the form of yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpipers were sprinkled throughout, along with some mergansers and terns of three species; Black, Common, and Forster's.

Not too much along the Sombra riverfront, but there were a few Purple Martins and a Forster's Tern.

My next stop was the Sombra Sewage Lagoons. Lots of birds to sort through! There was a great number of shorebirds, including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Least Sandpiper.

Also a great number of Black Terns, I counted 76. It was amazing to see.

A Peregrine Falcon ripped through a few times, and kept the terns and shorebirds on their toes.

Some Common Gallinules were calling nearby. Additionally, I also had my first Bobolinks of the year. Dad spotted a Red-tailed Hawk nest nearby.

I cut inland from Sombra, and went to the Sydenham River Nature Reserve. I had a few birds here, including a singing Yellow-throated Vireo. My main target here however was the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). I saw some last June when I was here for a breeding bird blitz, but they were well past their prime. Seems I caught the peak this time around!

False Mermaidweed (Floerkea proserpinacoides) was also abundant.

I picked up a few birds on the drive between there and Strathroy, including Eastern Bluebird, American Pipit, and House Wren. I made a quick pit stop into the Strathroy lagoons. A few lingering ducks and a couple rails, both Sora and Virgina.

In the evening, I went to check out a population of one of my favourite wildflowers, the Wood Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum). This is a very rare plant in Canada, with only two known populations, both in Middlesex county. A nice ending to the day.

I wasn't really doing a big day, but still managed 109 species. Probably could have made it 110 with American Woodcock, but I was too tired to bother!

Today was quite good, and we got our first big push of migrants in a week and a half.

Last night

Perhaps more on that later...

1 comment:

  1. Quite a tour!
    I find Sombra and Port Lambton lagoons attract large numbers of Black Terns. I recall over 200 at Port Lambton once! And, one must keep an eye out for a White-winged (which showed up at P.L. in May 1991!).