Sunday, February 24, 2013

Circle Tour

I made a circle today in the WSA (Wallaceburg Study Area). lol. (If Hamilton can have one, why can't we?).
I started at Shrewsbury and after some diligent searching Steve and I refound the Euro Baldplate.  Took quite an effort due to the distance and number of waterfowl in that puddle.  Maybe it is one returning from last fall!
Some Snow's and Ross's were present when I first arrived.

On Friday I received a note from a friend in Elgin County about a dark Red-tailed Hawk near her place.  Yesterday Donald Pye relocated it near the corner of Furnival Road and McLean Line.  I headed straight for there, and found it right away this morning!  It was perched above a creek and flew back and forth a couple of times.  A stunning bird.

I am not sure exactly what to call this, whether is is the calurus subspecies or not, but is likely.  It is not the darkest form as depicted in ID guides, but it is dark and possibly a dark intermediate (or dark rufous) form.  It best fits the plate 308 photo on page 278 of Raptors of Eastern North America (Wheeler, 2003).  There can be so many variations in Red-tailed Hawk it gives me a headache!  It is an adult and has dark brown belly and chest.  I never got a decent photo of the underside.  Apparently there is a very dark morph of the Eastern type as well.

I have seen only one Western adult and that was in fall migration when I was at Blenheim Lagoons a few years ago.  That one was decidedly the calurus type.

Since I was not far from Skunk's Misery, I headed up to Centreville Road.  This is one area we do on the butterfly count, so I know it is a good area.  Between Sassafras and Dogwood Roads, I found an immature Golden Eagle.

From there I headed back Bentpath Line and dipped on the Snow Geese at Beaver Meadow.  The last couple of days there have been a few of these in a field, several of these being young birds.

(photo courtesy Mike Bouman)

On the St. Clair River, 8 Greater White-fronted Geese were reported at St. Clair, Mich. yesterday.  I scoped hundreds of geese up to near Stag Island, but did not find them.  I never got past Mooretown though.  First time I have heard of this species on the river!


  1. Blake, its always nice to find a bird in its prescribed location! Awesome bird, and the Golden Eagle is brilliant as well. ... I think its a good idea to have a Wallaceburg Study Area... lol!

  2. Nice pictures The photos really
    brings out the colour in the bird.
    I was there at 5 this afternoon
    and did not find the Hawk.
    From a distance the Hawk looks
    Darker Donald Pye

  3. I also say there should be a Wallaceburg Study Area! I spent a brief time searching the geese along the river yesterday as I was driving down the river, but unfortunatly didn't find anything on interest. Though there was a Surf Scoter at the Point Edward Lighthouse the day before!