Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Brander Park/Baby Point

Winter finally arrived this week.  The sun was very bright today and hard on the eyes since we have not seen much of it in the last six weeks!  After work today I took a short walk at Brander Park for some fresh air, one of my favourite spots.

A seen in the woodlot this past Sunday.  Lots of ash trees have fallen:

In the past I have written about the spot.  Here is a post from 2012.

Baby Point

One of my local spots for birding is Brander Park, Port Lambton.  I have mentioned this place many times for birds and butterflies.  (Yesterday I saw several Fiery Skippers and a Common Checkered-Skipper!).  It is only a "stone's throw" from my workplace so I go for a walk there almost every day and sometimes after work.

Originally this area was known as Baby's Point, one of the oldest settled areas in Lambton County. The land was owned by the Baby (pronounced 'bawby') family, particulary Francis Baby.  The Baby's were a prestigious family and he inherited the land from his grandfather in 1742.
Remains of large dock and wooden barge (barge was abandoned there in the 1950's by a couple of my dad's cousins!)

A settlement there preceded the village of Port Lambton and it was a busy place for trading.  Artifacts have been found over the years at Brander Park.  I recall when I was younger we would scour the beach area and find old clay (smoking) pipes and Indian artifacts.  I have a couple of arrowheads in my possession.
Over at the woodlot area there are some old Pear trees.  Whether these had origins with the Jesuit pear trees, I have no knowledge.
Brander Park seems to be an excellent spot for seeing birds of all types.  The woodlot there is a great migrant trap and in times of migration it can be crawling with birds.

It is also a good spot for flyovers as birds come off or head towards Walpole Island or use the St. Clair River.  Then there is the river itself for waterbirds.
Behind Brander Park is the Port Lambton lagoon site which comprises two cells.  It is a good site for waterfowl and other birds.  In the spring, Black Terns can congregate there in big numbers.  I have seen about 200 at different times.  Needless to say, Ontario's first White-winged Tern was found there back in May 1991.  Although I went back to the lagoons to see it, I could stand at Brander Park and see the bird! (Black Tern at right).
I had never really stopped at Brander Park for birds until one August day back in 1988 and was amazed at the number, especially warblers.  I recall seeing a  Prairie Warbler that day.
Speaking of warblers, the potential for a rarity is there.  Back in 2003, May 14 to be exact, I was stunned to find a male Virginia's Warbler foraging along the treeline!  I watched it for about ten minutes, being certain of ID.  It was late in the afternoon, but we could not find it the next day.

American Tree Sparrow (good area for sparrows!)

I have recorded at least 207 species of birds at Brander Park over the years.  I am not sure what will be added next but the there are many possibilities.

Stream through the woodlot

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