Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year-End Birding

Yesterday I went to Rondeau Park.  It was rather quiet as one would expect, but quieter than normal. Recently we have lost much of the sand that was built up from early October.  That mysterious concrete foundation at south point trail is well-exposed again!

Another tree succumbs

This morning I headed south of town and started at Bear Creek Marsh where I usually start my CBC. Yesterday, the blackbird flock was reported near there along with three Yellow-headed Blackbirds. They were just on the edge of the Wallaceburg CBC circle, so they made count week!  Wallaceburg CBC has recorded Yellow-headed Blackbird five times since its inception.

Upon my arrival, a massive flock came off St. Anne's Island, but kept going.  There were 5000+ birds.  At the Snye (Chenal Ecarte), some were still moving by and I could hear quite a few in the reeds/phragmites.  I believe they roost there during the night.

I headed back out and at the start of the marsh and the very end of Bear Line, was a very large flock!

record photo
It was predominately Brown-headed Cowbirds, but lots of starlings, grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds mixed in.  The flock was constantly moving, but I eventually did pick out two male Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

It was once again a very gloomy day and photography was useless.  Even with ISO at 4000+ (!) it was a challenge.  It was supposed be a sunny day, just like yesterday (ya right), but as usual the weather forecast was wrong yet again.

Find the yellow head in this photo:

I followed the flock down the road for almost a half hour, but that is all I could find.

I went on towards Mitchell's Bay and around Lake St. Clair to Lighthouse Cove.  I saw only 5 Snowy Owls on the roads I took, but a couple were fairly close.

It was generally quiet just like every place else.  CBC's farther north and east seem to be getting good numbers of birds, but in this part of the province there are very few birds inland as everyone has noted.  At least there have been some decent birds!

Lots of swans still around

Arriving back home, I stopped by the Vermilion Flycatcher stakeout. It took a while to spot the bird, but it was finally seen working the weedy field.  It came close, but with the ever-present gloomy skies I still could not get sharp photos.

Tomorrow is a new year, so I expect some birders to be looking for this fine bird to start off 2016 birding.

Happy New Year to all!

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