Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Morning Along the Avon River in Stratford, Ontario.

Looking down the river at part of downtown Stratford.
I had some time this morning before my classes started at school so I decided to leave home a bit early and visit the Avon River.  The main reason for my visit was to try and pick up a couple lifers that had been reported on eBird the previous day.  A pair of red-breasted mergansers and several horned grebes had been seen here and I was hopeful to add a couple species to my life list.  Neither of those birds are extremely unusual, but for the time of year and location eBird considers them rare.

I arrived at the river in good time and began scanning the ducks right away.  A pair of wigeon caught my eye, not unusual but nice to see.
American Wigeon pair- Avon River
I bit further down and I spotted six ring-necked ducks floating out in the middle of the river.  They were too far to get a good photo of, but with binoculars I was able to confirm identity.  A pair of buffleheads showed up as well.

I soon spotted a small duck-like bird bobbing around and occasionally diving.  I was soon on it with the binoculars and had my first view of a breeding plumage horned grebe.  Along the walk, I found two other horned grebes giving my a grand total of three.  The red-breasted mergansers did not show, but I was still satisfied.  I added one lifer to my list and I definitely hope to be back to the river again soon.
My river list ended with:
20 Canada Goose
50 Mallard
2 American Wigeon
4 American Black Duck
6 Ring-necked Duck
2 Bufflehead
2 Common Merganser
3 Horned Grebe
1 Killdeer
3 Ring-Billed Gull
1 Belted Kingfisher
2 Black-Capped Chickadee
1 American Robin
1 Dark-Eyed Junco
20 Red-Winged Blackbird
10 Common Grackle
3 House Sparrow
Canada Geese and American Black Ducks- Avon River
Mallards-Avon River

The warmer weather also has me birding more at home again.  Yesterday I recorded six tree swallows swooping around over one of our ponds, the first ones I've seen this year.  I made sure the nest boxes there were cleaned out in case they started looking for a nesting site.  Tonight I managed to pick up a pair of wood ducks.  Spring bird sightings are picking up.


  1. Nice list of species and congratulations on the lifer!

    1. Thanks for commenting. It's challenging sometimes, but a lot of fun to find new lifers close to home.

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