Saturday, March 21, 2015

Birding in the Ice Age

Not much to report on today.  Just like clockwork, the weather went for a crap overnight and was rather miserable until early afternoon today, so that did not help.  Rather cold and even colder this week!

I went to the Hillman Marsh area this morning in hopes of finding some interesting waterfowl.  There was a lot to look at there (seems to be little elsewhere).  Starting at the flooded fields on Mersea Rd. 21 and area, there were lots of puddle ducks.  However, the Eurasian Wigeon reported the day before was nowhere to be found.  Likely still somewhere out there though.


Lots of Green-winged Teal to sort through as well.  There was one lacking the vertical whitish bar which is perhaps the one being reported as a Common Teal.  However, it was not totally convincing as the European version.  Maybe a hybrid (?); I have no idea.  Jeremy Hatt and Mark Field also looked at this curious bird.


Hillman Marsh hosted lots of stuff especially at the bridge along Road 2.  A few Bonaparte's Gulls were there among the many Ring-billed Gulls and other waterfowl.

Paracoots and some Ruddy Ducks

The field along Concession Road D has already dried up, so little was there.

A Long-eared Owl partially hidden in the cedars near Hillman Marsh was nice to see at least.

After about 2 hours in the area, I headed east through Wheatley and along Talbot Trail as the day was still young.  Around Erieau, it was drizzly and foggy and even colder, emphasizing to me that it was the weekend.  Only the channel is open there so a number of common ducks were congregating in it.  Everything else is frozen solid!
There a few wet spots in fields that hosted waterfowl, especially Redhead and some Canvasback.  Very few wigeon in this area yet.

In desperation, I did a quick walk of Rondeau's campground which revealed a male Eastern Bluebird-first for the year.  None were around this winter that we could find.

I then headed over to Ridgetown even though I knew there would be no water in sight.  A number of Canada Geese were on the ice in the south cell wondering what the deal was with all this ice.

Along Kent Bridge Road, I found a 'prairie pothole' with some waterfowl, but nothing unusual.  Lots of Redhead here as well.

Farther north along Kent Bridge Road, I found another, but larger group, mostly of Tundra Swans.

Other birds in my travels today included the expected Turkey Vultures and Eastern Meadowlarks.
Close to 1000 Tundra Swans were in a corn field west of Wallaceburg late today, but very few geese and ducks.

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