Saturday, July 8: Target Birds in Eastern Ontario
Locations birded: Today, we birded Sheffield Conservation Area near Kaladar, Cheese Factory Trail in Hastings County, Napanee Plain IBA north of Napanee, Moscow Marsh in Moscow, Frontenac Provincial Park in Sydenham, and Nolans Corners Marsh, NE of Smiths Falls. More details on the above sites available via eBird, by using the Hotspot search: http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots
Field notes/highlights: This was the fourth installment of this particular route, with a new stop, Nolan’s Corners Marsh, added in at the end. Each excellent birding spot is connected by a lovely, birdy, flowing driving route, and each time this tour is run, new and exciting observations are made by the group. Running this trip in July meant we were birding, head-on, into the dreaded summer doldrum period, but we didn’t mind and were optimistic about our chances! On the heron front, we cleaned up! Least Bittern (superb views), American Bittern (close, low fly over), Black-crowned Night-Heron (seen in Ottawa, just before we were back from our day out), Green Heron, Great Egret, and Great Blue. As for cuckoos, we dipped on Yellow-billed but had good looks at a Black-billed. We enjoyed the sights and sounds of a few Indigo Buntings throughout our day. We also had excellent views of Eastern Towhee, once again heard Clay-colored Sparrow at its “usual spot”, and had our first Grasshopper Sparrows for this particular tour (I’ve noted the location for future trips). I identified a head-on bird as one of our targets, an Upland Sandpiper, which turned out to be a Mourning Dove...the best laugh of the day (after I cried). We enjoyed excellent, prolonged views of Black Tern near the end of our day — the best views I think we’ve all had in a while (for one participant, this bird was a lifer). On the warbler front, however, NONE of our targets were acquired. Prairie, Cerulean, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-winged, and Golden-winged were stone cold quiet. In the field, some birds were in song (Red-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Field Sparrow, etc) but many were so obviously keeping very low key as they were tending to young *somewhere* in the forest. Non-bird sighting of the day was an adult Five-lined Skink…4/4 on this tour! Thanks to everyone who signed up; a great way to cap off spring/summer tours. Next up: a few tours at the end of July, enjoying the first wave of early fall migrants.
Sunday, July 23: Breeding Birds and Fall Migrants
Locations birded: Today, we Embrun and Russell Sewage Lagoons