Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Birding

Winter is definitely making its presence known the last couple of days with lots of snow and cold temperatures.  Yesterday I headed towards Lake St. Clair looking around a bit for today's CBC.  Lots of Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs were swirling about.

Spur at left

Little else.  I could not find a Snowy Owl.  Strange since that area usually has them even in non-invasion years.  Even today I did not see one, but perhaps others did.

I eventually ended up at Point Pelee for a walk down Shuster Trail and back to the cemetery.  Lots of White-throated Sparrows and a couple of Hermit Thrushes were seen.

Scene from end of Shuster

No Snowy Owl there in the onion fields either!
I came across the large flock of longspur, but did not find the Brewer's Blackbirds.  Perhaps I did not look hard enough!

Today was met with light snow all day.  It was quite cold, but it was a bearable cold with little wind.  I checked out St. Luke's Marsh as part of the CBC.  Turned out as I expected with very few birds.  Things are just so frozen and have been for some time.  I started off with a Belted Kingfisher at the pumphouse.  Not sure what it is doing there as there is no open water anywhere in sight!  It was all downhill from there.

Another dark Rough-legged!

I ended up with only a paltry 12 species.  Obviously milder years are better for that count.  I have had some decent birds there over the years including Sora, Common Yellowthroat, Marsh Wren, Long-eared Owl, Snowy Owl.
That marsh has really grown in over the years, especially with phragmites.  Back in the mid '90's I did a marsh monitoring survey there and the scenery sure has changed.

There is only one spot to walk out and get a look at the lake.  I might as well have been in the Arctic!

On the way home I found a White-crowned Sparrow along a cedar hedge row.  They usually hang out in these spots during the winter, but this year they are very scarce.
Lots of Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs were again swirling about.

Good birds are always found on this count, and of course milder years are better for waterfowl.  I heard that a Yellow-headed Blackbird was seen today near Lighthouse Cove north of Tilbury.  Reminds me of the very first St. Clair CBC I did when Steve and I saw a Yellow-headed in Bradley.
I did not stay the afternoon and for the tally, so I am not privy yet to results.  Stay tuned!
Happy New Year to you bloggers, bloggists, blog addicts and bloggees.

Sparrows looking for grub

1 comment:

  1. Blake, Happy New Year! I think I ran into that flock of Longspurs yesterday on Road C. I also recognize that Rough-legged as well! Nice work!