Saturday 31 March 2018

April Fowl's Day Came Early

I would have ideally liked to have saved that title for tomorrow, but I doubt I will be able to get out, so today will have to do!

This afternoon I went to the Strathroy Sewage Lagoons to have a look around. There were quite a few ducks on the ponds.

The majority were Ring-necked Ducks.

Buffleheads were also numerous.

There were a couple Tundra Swans present.

But wait a minute...that left bird looks odd...

It is a Trumpeter Swan!

There was another pair of Trumpeter Swans as well.

Trumpeter Swans are pretty rare to Middlesex county, so I was happy to be able to find three on the same pond!

There was a variety of other ducks, such as Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and my first Blue-winged Teals of the year.

Lesser Scaup

Blue-winged Teals

There was also a Horned Grebe and American Coot.

Horned Grebe

American Coot

Just as I was about to leave I spied a male Red-breasted Merganser, another good bird for Middlesex.

Great early spring outing!

Friday 30 March 2018

The Wilds of Algonquin: Part Two

Read part one here

After a few hours rest, we awoke to the songs and calls of many winter finches. These Red Crossbills came down for grit not too far was not the best however!

We went to the visitor centre next, where we watched the action at the feeders for a bit. I was happy to be able to see my first European Starling for my park list :-)

Pine Siskin

Red Crossbill

Purple Finch

We searched for Spruce Grouse at the Spruce Bog boardwalk, unfortunately to no avail. We did however find a Ruffed Grouse and a Purple Finch.

Purple Finch (rear end)

Opeongo Road was next, where we found many Red Crossbills and White-winged Crossbills.

Red Crossbills

White-winged Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill

Gray Jays found us pretty quickly. We found some more as we walked up the road.

Soon it was time to get picked up and start heading home, but not before I found a Canada Goose near Cache Lake, an early migrant.

We also saw an Otter at the same location.

Overall it was a great weekend to be up in Algonquin! I think spring is finally upon us!

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Wilds of Algonquin: Part One

This past weekend I visited Algonquin Park with a group of other young birders with the Ontario Field Ornithologists (including Ethan). It was quite a lot if fun and we saw some great birds!

I arrived early Saturday morning to the Wildlife Research Station (I was late getting up, so we stayed in Dwight Friday night), and was immediately overwhelmed by the number of finches! Finches turned out to be pretty common throughout the park, and I don't think we ever really went a moment without hearing at least a siskin or a crossbill!

We birded around the Wildlife Research Station for a few hours, and we were treated to awesome sightings such as a White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, and a Merlin, which is good winter bird up there.

White-winged Crossbill

Afterwards we went to Opeongo Road to look for some Gray Jay nests with the researchers. Again, crossbills were numerous, as were Pine Siskins.

Red Crossbill

Pine Siskin

It wasn't long until we found some Gray Jays, including one on a nest.

There were some curious Red Squirrels as well.

We visited the Visitor Centre next, where the feeders were quite active. We saw Blue Jays, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Evening Grosbeaks among other things.

Evening Grosbeak

Red-winged Blackbird

Pine Siskin

White-winged Crossbill

Red Crossbill

I was quite excited to see my first American Marten.

There were a couple Wild Turkeys in the parking lot, overwintering birds.

We checked out Spruce Bog quickly after the Visitor Centre, which revealed to be more or less quiet. At least there were a couple cooperative Gray Jays and a Purple Finch.

We checked out Bat Lake and a little bit of the Old Airfield before dinner, but were unable to find anything that we hadn't already seen.

Certainly a great first day in Algonquin!

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Blackbird Bonanza 2.0

This past Saturday I happened across a blackbird roost in north London with literally thousands of blackbirds of multiple species, including Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

I captured a video, but since I had the telephoto lens I was only able to capture a small fraction of the spectacle. It was quite the sight! Please excuse my shakiness ;-)

Sunday 18 March 2018

Some Aylmer Things

Today I went to the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area and Aylmer Sewage Lagoons with my local nature club, Nature London. We saw quite the variety, including Eastern Bluebirds, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, Cackling Geese, and Greater White-fronted Geese.

Snow Goose (blue morph)

Tundra Swans

Canada Goose

Cackling Geese

Eastern Bluebird (male)

Eastern Bluebird (female)

Greater White-fronted Geese

Cackling Geese