Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spring Update

The mild weather of late has encouraged the first push of migrating birds, emerging mammals and some early spring plant life.

Just steps from the front door, the familiar snowdrops and crocuses are making their presence known. 

Spring birds are also beginning to trickle in.  Red-Winged Blackbirds are here in full force, colonizing territory around available wet and marshy areas.

Tundra swan migration started early this year.  However the odd flock continues to pass overhead from time to time.

Migrating ducks are here in good numbers.  One of our ponds is hosting ring-necked ducks in larger numbers than I have ever seen here.  Recently I counted 17, not a big number for some places but a good total for one pond around here.  A pair of hooded mergansers were present as well.  Hopefully they will nest on this pond again this year.

Two weekends ago, I visited Norfolk county with the Stratford Naturalists.  The main objective of this yearly trip is to see the tundra swans that congregate there on route to breeding grounds.  I thought that most of them might have passed through early this year due to the early mild spell in February.  However there were still plenty of swans around down there along with a wide variety of other waterfowl.  An early eastern phoebe also made a brief appearance.
Gaggle of Gadwall

I have made several recent trips to Stratford's TJ Dolan Natural Area in search of the long staying Tufted Titmouse.  A couple Titmouse (titmice?) showed up here last fall back during a Titmouse eruption here in southern Ontario when the species was showing up in areas not commonly found.  The first couple times that I went to look for the bird it eluded me, but the regular species are always fun to watch.

Last weekend, I decided to try again. Armed with more precise information on where it was commonly being seen, it wasn't long until I was setting eyes on my first Ontario Tufted Titmouse.

This afternoon, I decided to check out the West Perth Wetlands.  Highlights included my first Northern Shrike and a rare for this area Horned Grebe.
The coming weeks should bring some good sightings.