Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter in Essex

A change in scenery was in order for today so I headed into Essex County.  First stop was the Hillman bridge where some Dunlin were reported yesterday.  There is some mud, but with all the rain forecast this week, it might disappear.

I could see the Dunlin on the mud in the distance.  While there, eight Great Egret flew in and landed in the opposite direction to the east.  Both species were FOY's.

Next stop was to try and see an Eurasian Collared-Dove.  I saw the reported nest, but could not pick out a bird on it.  Perhaps the bird was lying low on the eggs (Easter eggs?).  However, I did see one bird just across the road on a hydro wire, so that was good enough.

Once in the National Park, I headed straight to the Tip. Upon arrival at the Tip parking lot, there was Steve Pike.  His car had changed plumage!  Or so I thought.  He picked up another Focus, but this one is fire engine red.

We walked to the Tip and saw a number of birds flying around, but not much.  Horned Grebes were new for the year.  We had just missed a Beaver on the ice at the very Tip according to Dan Greenham.  Would have been neat to see.

Quite a few ducks were along the west side including Surf and White-winged Scoters.  Rather far out though.

Later, a walk up to Sparrow Field and back yielded very little.  Just a few expected spring birds.
We checked the cactus trail and saw more of the common spring birds.

De Laurier had a few sparrows in the parking lot including a couple of chippies.
Steve headed out of the park while I decided to walk Woodland Trail in hopes of burning off more winter fat.  No warblers yet, needless to say.

Heading towards Wheatley, I again stopped at Hillman bridge.  Pretty sure I counted 17 Dunlin, but there were definitely 15.  I took a crappy photo and could count 15 specks.

Just though this Herring Gull looked nice....

Wheatley Harbour had a few gulls and cormorants flying around.  While I was eating my lunch there, a young Glaucous Gull came by and swam on the lake just out from the harbour.

Nearer home, I decided to stop at Mitchell's Bay.  I will now be checking that regularly!  There are presently perhaps 25,000+ ducks visible.  Impossible to estimate, so likely more.
The other day, Allen Woodliffe estimated 12,000 Canvasback, and I think that is a pretty good assessment.  Lots of other species mixed in, but I could not even pick out a grebe.
Most ducks were rather distant though.

A few piles of ice were out on the Bay. The ice left rather quickly this year.

One last stop was the Bear Creek unit of St. Clair NWA at the end of Bear Line.  A few species of ducks were there, plus an American Coot and a Great Egret.  Of course a  Belted Kingfisher was perched on a snag.  This is one spot you are almost guaranteed a kingfisher.  Usually there is one here on my Christmas Bird Count.  This neat spot is not checked too often.

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