Thursday, September 28, 2017

OFO Convention and Recent Trip

This past weekend was the annual Ontario Field Ornithologists Convention--the location being Long Point and Port Dover area. The conventions are always a big affair with numerous field trips, dinners, and comaraderie.  It used to be a one-day event, but for many years it has expanded into a three-day event.  I have gone to each one since 1997, with the exception of two. 

I arrived at Long Point about 09:30 Friday. It was already hot and humid, a sign of things to come.  I looked around a bit, walking Big Point Marsh trail, then after lunch joined a field trip at Long Point Bird Observatory Headquarters.
We first took a look out over the inner bay where there were many ducks and a few Common Gallinules.

Common Gallinule

Along the trail, we spotted a late migrant Olive-sided Flycatcher, which is uncommon at the location.  Ironically, someone asked about this species here a while before we saw this one!

Yes, it is an Olive-sided!
It seems there has been a good showing of them this fall migration, since I have seen several.

Next stop was Port Rowan Wetlands down a dead end road.  It is a former sewage lagoon, with a superb viewing stand (made of steel!) and a concrete ramp.  I visited this spot many moons ago.  Just on this same road is a boat repair facility (Ron Banks) which I worked at for a short period of time .
There were  few Green Herons here, and about ten Common Gallinules among other things.  Even a Sora was calling at one point in the muggy air.

Green Heron

The evening was spent in Port Dover.  The "Birds and Beers" is a fun event.  There were several speakers, one of which was Doug McRae humourosly recounting the time he and Jim Richards were stranded  on High Bluff Island at Presqu'ile back in 1986.

Saturday dawned warm and muggy, as I joined the field trip at Old Cut and the Provincial Park.  Birds were few and far between due to the "too nice" weather.

Birders On the Beach!

There was a good variety seen though, including one spot in the Provincial Park.

After lunch, I joined the field trip at Port Dover and Townsend Lagoons led by Adam Timpf and Tim Lucas.  First stop was Silver Lake in Port Dover where we saw lots of waterfowl and a good variety of shorebirds in the sizzling heat.  It was a new birding location for me.

Birders at Silver Lake, Port Dover

At one point I spotted this Wild Indigo Duskywing.

On to Townsend Lagoons....a place I briefly stopped at only once before many years ago.
As we got out of the air-conditioned car, a large kettle of Broad-winged Hawks was circling overhead, followed by a Peregrine Falcon.
There were quite a few ducks at the lagoons, but few shorebirds.  Naturally, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper from the previous day was long gone!
Three Eastern Meadowlarks were in and out of the grasses as the temperature climbed.

The evening was the main event at the Port Dover Community Centre. 
The distinguished ornithologist this year was Dan Strickland, who worked in Algonquin Park. Among other things, he is best known for his research on Gray Jays (more appropriately called Canada Jays).
Ron Tozer introduced Dan, with a presentation preceding.  The presentation focused quite a bit on Gray Jays.

Although more field trips were planned for Sunday, I headed out early for more interesting sights to beat the traffic.  The drive from Simcoe was good, taking only 3.5 hours to Huntsville.  My destination was Algonquin Park, which will be covered in the next post.


  1. Looking forward to the next post! Seems it was a decent weekend for the convention.

    1. Weather was good except for the heat. I always look forward to these events!

  2. Glad to hear that Dan was awarded the Distinguished Ornithologist Award.....he has been a legend in Algonquin and Central Ontario for a long time. I think it was back in 1974 when I first met him.

    1. And, he is still doing research. Certainly well-deserved.