Monday, March 12, 2012

Birding in the rain

Well I had ideas of grandeur today....I was going to head down to Rondeau (more specifically the Ridgetown Lagoons) and then work my way east along Lake Erie, to finish at Townsend. About 20 minutes out of Ridgetown it started to rain, and hard. This pretty much sums the day up, with the rain not letting up until 3:30! But oh well, can't control the weather, so I continued birding.

Ridgetown Lagoons were pretty good, but alas no Greater White-fronted Geese. Lots of ducks though, and some good variety. Had 5 Wood Ducks and 20 N. Shoveler's (these really seemed to have moved in, since Friday).

After that, I checked out Shrewsbury and Bate's Marsh. The usual diving ducks were on the bay, but it was hard birding with the steady rain. I did have a singing Carolina Wren and an interesting American Wigeon (see below).

A whitish American Wigeon - Bate's Marsh - March 12, 2012

I've seen American Wigeon's with almost pure white faces only a few times (I think 5 times). Has anyone else seen this? I saw another Wigeon with the same patterning later in the day, at Townsend.

After Rondeau, I motored north and east, along Hwy. 3, stopping in Port Stanley, then Port Bruce and Port Burwell. Not too much to really mention, the usual suspects for this time of year.

Onto Long Point, I spent from 1-4pm here, covering essentially ALL of the spots, while I waited for the rain to stop....Some of the interesting birds I saw here included:
Sandhill Crane - ~30 - some in the fields north of Long Point, 1 @ the Hahn Marsh, and 2 @ Big Creek
Great-horned Owl - 1 bird along Hasting's Drive
Great-horned Owl - world's BEST pic of this species - March 12, 2012
 Duck numbers continue to impress, literally thousands all throughout the lagoons.
Little Gull's - 8+ at Turkey Point, off the beach

I also toured Concession A. This is one of my favourite spots at Long Point (Hasting's Drive is really nice too), and found a nice and early Painted Turtle crossing the road!

Finishing up at Long Point, I headed on over to Townsend. About this time the rain more or less stopped, and thankfully I turned something good up! Walking along the dykes, I came across a nice drake Eurasian Wigeon in the SW cell, associating with some normal Wigeons, as well as another 'whitey' Am. Wigeon (check out another Eurasian Wigeon here). Great to see one of these guys!

Finishing up my walk, I had a E. Meadowlark and a nice Savannah Sparrow! Townsend was my last stop, and a nice way to end my day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Long Point = NO Smew

It's been a while, but I'm still the class I TA was cancelled, and with no work scheduled, I decided I'd try my luck down at Long Point and maybe, just maybe see that male Smew found last evening by Ron Ridout.

I got down to LP late in the morning, and birded until late afternoon. There were several birders down there (Josh, and Guelph gang along with Barb Charlton). Spectacular numbers of ducks are in Inner Bay, which was really great to see.

Highlights for me were a drake Blue-winged Teal at BSC's pond and at least half a dozen Little Gull's feeding off the causeway.

Bald Eagle - 1 of the 5 for the day - March 9, 2012

Canvasback's - 4 of the estimated 4,500 present on Inner Bay - March 9, 2012

Earlier in the week I was down at Lake St. Clair for work, and saw some nice spring like stuff. Most noteworthy wasn't a bird!! But a very lethargic Leopard Frog.