Sunday 14 February 2021

A Long Walk and Other Things

Friday I decided to get out for a nice long walk along the Thames River. My plan was to start at the old dam in Springbank Park, and end up in the northeast corner of the city, past Kilally Meadows Environmentally Significant Area. A total distance of about 20 kilometers, my longest walk in quite awhile.

I started off strong with a Redhead and a Greater Scaup right at the dam. There has been a recent influx of Aythya ducks in London on the river as a result of the great lakes freezing. 

I continued down the path, and encountered a group of 16 Redheads, as well as the usual wintering waterfowl. A bit later I came across a flock of 150 Common Redpolls.

At Greenway Park, I came across a few more Redheads, as well as another Greater Scaup.

At the Forks of the Thames, I spotted the female Ring-necked Duck that has been in the area for awhile, as well as a male Redhead which was accompanying her. 

Several kilometers later I came across a Pied-billed Grebe, undoubtedly one of the couple that have been hanging out on the Thames this winter. 

I arrived at the Harlequin Duck location, but was unable to find it. It must have been hiding. I did however come across a Ruddy Duck. What an odd bird for the Thames River in February!

The remainder of my walk (about 6 kilometers) was pretty uneventful. I checked out a series of feeders that had been harbouring a wintering Red-winged Blackbird, but had no luck in finding it! 

Today, Bill Lindley and I went down to Glencoe to try and find an interesting meadowlark that had been seen on February 10th, and was posted to Facebook. The photos seemed to point to it being a Western Meadowlark, and that identification seemed to be the general consensus among everyone who saw the photos. We spent nearly two hours looking, but were unsuccessful. There had been a lot of snow the day prior, which covered up the grassy roadsides where the bird had been feeding, so maybe we will have to give it another shot once it warms up a bit.

This afternoon I was out of the house when I got another message: Spotted Towhee! Since I wasn't coming from home, I didn't have my binoculars or camera, and I was wearing running shoes, but I would have to make do. I rushed over, and we began our stakeout of the bird feeder. After and hour and a half, finally the towhee showed up. It was very skittish, but offered diagnostic looks. I was hoping to get a lifer today, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be that!

I'll have to go back for photos. The bird has apparently been coming to the feeder for a week, so it will likely remain there for awhile.

After things being quiet for weeks, it was certainly nice to get the adrenaline pumping again!  

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