Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Roberta Stewart Wetland

Just outside of Wallaceburg along the Chenal Ecarte (Snye River) is Stewart Wetland, owned by Chatham-Kent municipality.  Since it is on the way to work, I usually check it twice a day.  I have not seen much yet this year, and of course things come and go during the day, but there is always the potential.
The wetland was first created when drained farmland was reverted back to marsh in 2005 by Ducks Unlimited.  That whole area from MacDonald Park to just south of the Walpole bridge used to be marshland adjacent to the Snye.  Most is now farmland, but some marsh remains.
The first year (fall 2005 migration) was spectacular for shorebirds as well as the following spring.  Best bird was a female Ruff that I found there 8-9 May 2006.

The water level is controlled to some extent, so when it is low, it is excellent for shorebirds.  Last year with the excessive rain, it was too high for many shorebirds.
Note Mute Swan on nest!

There is a small island which shorebirds can use, but unfortunately the Mute Swan pair is nesting on it this year.  The swans do not really bother the shorebirds, but any wading water birds that come near tend to be hassled.
This week the same birds have been present.  A Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowleg (both there for over a week), a Wilson's Snipe and a Spotted Sandpiper.  Actually two Wilson's Snipe this evening!

I tried digiscoping this evening. (I have more work to do!).

It is good for heron types as there are always Great Blue Herons around, Great Egrets and later on Green Herons which next nearby.  Sometimes Black-crowned Night-Herons roost in the trees as well.
Back in October 2010 I found a Cattle Egret roosting there during that big influx into the province.  I stopped by after work on day and noticed a white blob in the old sumac trees.

I am still waiting for an ibis!

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