Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Birding Along Lake St. Clair

Sunrise in Dover

It was a very windy start to 2015 with a westerly wind up to 50 km/h here.  That made for some uncomfortable birding along Lake St. Clair for the 35th St. Clair NWA CBC!  This count is a good way to start off the year as we often see some good birds in areas we normally do not have access.

This year I got into some territory that I had never been in before.  It was quite interesting and would have been more productive if it was not for that wind.  A couple of decent birds were tallied though.
At dawn, I saw 2 Snowy Owls along Winter Line between Marsh and Mallard Lines.  One was on a fence, but as I put up the camera, it took off!

Along Lake St. Clair there are several private marshes so access can be an issue this time of year. Our party got into one.  One of our first birds was Wild Turkey when we saw a group in a corn field with deer right alongside.  In fact, there were several White-tailed Deer, including this one watching us along a dike.

Just after this encounter, we came across a couple of Common Redpolls, the only ones recorded on the count.  It was uncertain how many were present, but it was another tick on the list.  There have been very few redpolls yet in our area, but maybe they will become more plentiful soon.
Farther down the same dike, we came across a good-sized flock of juncos/tree sparrows but nothing was with them.  Along a hedgerow, a pure flock of close to 15 White-crowned Sparrows came along.  Nice to see that especially this winter when very few sparrows are around.  These were the only ones on the count!

In another section of the property beside our only small woodlot consisting mostly of Trembling Aspen, I heard the characteristic sound of a Fox Sparrow.  I came back later and obtained good looks at the bird which not surprisingly was the only one on the count.  In the process, a Great Horned Owl flushed for another tick on the list.

On the return walk, a Merlin darted past us and perched briefly.  It has been a while since I have seen one, but a few stick around during winter.

Bald Eagles were plentiful, as we saw at least 15 in our area.  They nest in the area which obviously has something to do with the number.  At one point we saw about 12 out on the frozen lake.

Later, while driving some roads, I came across 3 Snowy Owls in one field.  These were known wintering birds though.

As always, it will be interesting to see the result of the count, including the number of Snowy Owls.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it was a pretty good day for you. I too will be interested to see how the snowy owl numbers of this year compare to last year. Your blog has been inspirational for me as I work to set up my own.