Sunday, 5 April 2015

Afternoon in the Ellice Swamp

I was glad to have a free afternoon at my disposal and I decided to spend it at the Ellice Swamp.  I had not been there for a few weeks and was anxious to see what might have moved in with our recent spell of somewhat milder temperatures.

I was also interested to check the nearby field where tundra swans had been spotted the previous day.  The pictures below are ones that I took the other day when about 40 swans were present.  When I checked on the way to the swamp, only about 10 were in the field.  Some distant waterfowl were present as well.

After checking on the swans, I continued on to the snowmobile trail entrance into the swamp on a nearby sideroad.  I hadn't been able to travel these trails before due to the snowmobile traffic that had kept them busy most of the winter.  Today I had the trails to myself.  Golden crowned kinglets were common along the trail, but none appeared cooperative for a photo.  Three blue herons flew overhead and the sounds of distant canada geese, tundra swans and chickadees rounded out my experience.

Views looking down the trail

Tired looking autumn leaves.

Signs of a woodpecker meal.

I still had a bit of time upon leaving the snowmobile trail, so I headed on to the rail trail in a different part of the swamp.  Upon arriving there, I could see that birds were much more active here and I added many species to my list for the day.  Plenty of turkey vultures were roosting in the trees. The distinctive sound of a northern flicker caught my attention and I soon picked out the bird in the top of a tree.  The marsh along the trail had thawed and was a bustle of activity.  More canada geese were swimming around. Red winged blackbirds, starlings and grackles were very vocal.  There was also a large number of crows and gulls some distance over.  The gulls appeared to be mostly herring, but the odd ring-billed could have been there too.  Four wood ducks glided into the marsh as I prepared to leave and a flock of american wigeon flew overhead calling loudly.  I would have stayed longer, but I had to be home to do the milking that evening.  In the coming weeks I hope to be back to watch for new arrivals of the year.
Turkey Vultures

Snow dusted mallard nest tube along the rail trail.

Turkey passed by.

Receding Snow Along the Rail Trail

I submitted an ebird list available here. 

I hope to get out at home again soon to check out the wetlands and woodlots on our farm.  I'll conclude with a few feeder shots again.

The male goldfinches are really becoming obvious.

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