Monday, February 27, 2017

Perch Creek Tour

Sunday dawned bright and sunny as I headed out to the St. Clair River.  There was not much to see along the river, except many gulls were on the move.  The Cathcart Park area had some waterfowl to look at.


There was a small raft of Redhead, etc. south of the park just out of view which probably held the Redhead X Ring-necked hybrid #1.  It hung out in the area all week.

I had intentions of going for a long walk and Perch Creek Habitat east of Sarnia seemed enticing.  It is a good spot for birding all year long.
Upon arrival at the parking lot, I happened to meet up with Sarnia birders-extraordinaire Deryl and Sharon Nethercott!  We set out together and did a thorough coverage of the area.
Perch Creek has a variety of habitat including meadow, wetlands, ponds, upland forest and some small conifer plantations.
At certain points in our travels, we came across two different Northern Saw-whet Owls.

For whatever reason, Perch Creek always has one or two of these cute little owls wintering each year. Sometimes, Long-eared Owls roost in the pines or spruces as well, but this has not been a good winter for them in the area.

Hooded Mergs in the north pond

To the west of the habitat, is the former Blackwell Landfill which is open to the public.  We ventured onto the property where one can get a good view of the solar farm.  Hawks perched on the panels included two Red-tailed and one Rough-legged.

It is also a good area for Short-eared Owls.  We found a pellet or two on the landfill which obviously came from Short-eared.
To our amusement, two Coyotes were roaming the solar farm.  One stood watching us among the sea of solar panels!

The old landfill and solar farm is good for grassland birds in the breeding season.  Grasshopper Sparrows are regular and often Dickcissels and Clay-colored Sparrows nest in the area.

We did not come across a lot of birds this day, which has been the norm for this winter here and in many other inland locations.  Usually there is a good variety of birds to make things interesting.

After a two hour walk, we parted ways.
On my way home, I stopped by McKeough CA for a walk.  Upon arrival, two male Eastern Bluebirds were perched on posts near the entrance.  These were the first I have seen this year.

Along the old Callahan Road, there is a drain that was recently rehabilitated.  It will hold back water to create a wetland habitat.

Photo taken in late December

February 26, 2017

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