Saturday, February 9, 2019

Morning Grosbeak to Afternoon Owl

Today I went to a place I have not been to in many years.  Fanshawe Conservation Area at NE London has been on the radar lately with the regular appearance of an Evening Grosbeak.
I arrived a little after 09:00 and stood watch at the start of Tamarack Trail.
Here, people have been putting out bird seed to attract a variety of birds.

Dark-eyed Juncos appeared to be the most numerous species, but a few White-throated, a single White-crowned and a Fox Sparrow rounded out the sparrow department.

The Fox Sparrow was a bit skittish, but did come in for one decent photo.

I kept to the spot for more than 1.5h in hopes of seeing the Evening Grosbeak.  Around 10:30h, I heard the bird call a couple of times, but could not find it.  I went to the other side of the spruce trees, and finally saw it fly in to perch atop one of the trees.  I alerted others who were standing vigil.  Included was Paul Nicholson who writes a fabulous column seen in the London Free Press each Saturday: the-world-outdoors

It perched there for some time, but lighting was horrible.

It might have come down to the seed, but I decided to leave since I was chilled to the bone!

Earlier, just before I arrived at Fanshawe, I received word that four Greater White-fronted Geese were at Sarnia.  I did not really intend to go there today.  I checked a couple of back roads as I headed west, but did not find anything of note.
I decided to head into Sarnia anyway.

The geese were still present upon my arrival at Blackwell Trails south pond.

It was just over a year ago that some arrived here!
It seems to be an annual event around this time.  Several Greater White-fronted Geese have arrived in southern Ontario the last couple of days.  Lots are at Jack Miner's in Essex County, while many are on Rondeau Bay.

Continuing on, I checked Sarnia Harbour and Bay.  The harbour and bay are iced in, but open water is on the river.
Two of Canada Steamship Lines oldest vessels are wintering in Sarnia this year.


CSL Tadoussac

Highlight was an American Coot in a small open patch in the Sarnia Marina.  It was too distant from my vantage point for a photo.

I also received word of Long-eared Owls at McKeough CA.  I usually see one or two here each winter in various spots. Today, I managed to see one.  They flush too easily though. I never got a photo, but at least I saw one for a first-of-year.

old photo

It turned out to be a decent day.  It was cloudy in the London area, but sunny down my way!

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