Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sarnia Birding

I spent a little time around Sarnia this morning.  The weather was crappy but on I went! As I drove up the Kimball Sideroad, I kept my eyes open around the few pasture areas that remain.  Finally an Upland Sandpiper revealed itself.
A Typical Upland Sandpiper Scene

First stop was the old Blackwell Landfill on Blackwell Road.  It is open to the public for walking.  Last year lots of grassland birds were there including Dickcissels.  Not as many this year!  It is not a 'dickcissel year', so it was no surprise none were present.  Lots of Savannah Sparrows, but no Grasshopper Sparrows within.  Only a couple pairs of Eastern Meadowlarks.  I was hoping for a Western though.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I heard the buzz of a Grasshopper Sparrow.  Turns out there were a few along the road at the solar farms.  There are massive solar farms around there.  Although they are virtually devoid of life, the edges seem to be good for things like Grasshopper Sparrows!
Grasshopper Sparrow

I decided the next stop would be the Dow Wetlands, but I drove a bit of the south end of the First Nations Reserve.  At one point I heard a Canada Warbler singing, and an American Restart.
At Dow, lots of ponds are here, but there are also extensive grasslands.  An Upland Sandpiper popped up at one point.  Meadowlarks are here too, but I did not hear any of the western type.  No sign of a Northern Bobwhite either!

I then headed up to Canatara Park which hold some nice breeding birds and is certainly a significant migrant trap.  It is an oasis within the city of Sarnia.  The weather was less than ideal to encourage birds to sing, but I did come up with a pair of American Redstarts, a Chestnut-sided Warbler and a Pine Warbler.  Pine Warblers do nest there in the pines. Yesterday Eric Marcum saw a Black-and-white Warbler in the park, but I did not find it today. Other common birds present as well.
Over at the scrubby area near the North Slip at Sarnia Harbour, I heard another American Redstart singing away.

I headed south on Waubuno Road as there are some really good pastures along there.  I did not come up with anything unusual though.  I stopped at Moore WMA and saw the resident Blue-winged Warbler. One is here every year it seems, but beware, I have seen Brewster's there as well.

The afternoon turned out quite nice with warmth and sun (go figure), but it was a time for relaxation!

Summer Layup for you ship buffs!

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