First Trip to Long Point

Saturday’s trip to Long Point was the furthest we’ve travelled to date to look for birds. The drive was lovely and relaxing. We originally intended to start out at Long Point Conservation Area. Unfortunately, Lake Erie was ice covered. We did, however, find a fabulous mix of waterfowl at what we believe is known as the Causeway. Species here included Ring-necked ducks, Northern Pintails, Tundra Swans, Wood Ducks, Redhead ducks, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal and Canvasbacks.

Female and male Wood Ducks at Long Point

Female and male Wood Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks, Long Point, Ontario

Ring-necked Ducks

Tundra Swan, Long Point, Ontario

Tundra Swan

Mix of waterfowl, Long Point, Ontarion

Mix of waterfowl

Whereas on our drive up we rocked and rolled to an Erie, Pennsylvania radio station, here we were treated to this Song Sparrow’s solo.

Song Sparrow, Long Point, Ontario

Song Sparrow singing

We found this group of Sandhill Cranes in the field at the Sinclair-Campbell Project.

23 Sandhill Cranes, Long Point, Ontario

23 Sandhill Cranes

While driving along we could not help but notice the wind turbines dotting the land.

Omnipresent Wind Turbines, Long Point, Ontario

Omnipresent Wind Turbines

We were aware of the dangers the turbines present to birds. I did a bit of research and found this petition submitted by the American Bird Conservancy to the U.S. Department of the Interior dated February 12, 2015. You don’t necessarily have to read the 115 page root and branch analysis. The executive summary is found at pages 8 to 10.
We found eight Killdeer foraging on a small patch.

Killdeer, Long Point, Ontario

Killdeer

I got a fleeting glimpse of this Horned Lark. It was so tiny and camouflaged so well with its surroundings that I quickly lost sight of it.

Horned Lark, Long Point, Ontario

Can you spot the Horned Lark?

This Turkey Vulture soared above us.

Turkey Vulture, Long Point, Ontario

Turkey Vulture

We did not stop in at any of the conservation areas, primarily because no one else was around. We did, however, stop at Bird Studies Canada.

Bird Studies Canada Welcome

Bird Studies Canada Welcome

Unfortunately, the facility was closed for the weekend but we did walk a portion of the trail. We accidently flushed a Great-blue Heron.

Flushed Great-blue Heron at Bird Studies Canada, Long Point, Ontario

Flushed Great-blue Heron

We enjoyed stopping from time to time to read the various interpretive signs.

Interpretive Sign - Long Point

Interpretive Sign – Long Point

History of the Long Point Company

History of the Long Point Company

Interpretive sign - Short-eared Owl, Bird Studies Canada, Long Point, Ontario

Interpretive sign – Short-eared Owl

Interpretive sign - Prothonotary Warbler, Bird Studies Canada, Long Point, Ontario

Interpretive sign – Prothonotary Warbler

Interpretive sign - Chimney Swift, Bird Studies Canada, Long Point, Ontario

Interpretive sign – Chimney Swift

This Red-tailed Hawk kept us company for a while.

Red-tailed Hawk, Bird Studies Canada

Red-tailed Hawk

The pine trees were alive with song but the birds (Common Grackles, Red-Winged Blackbirds and I believe European Starlings) were rather skittish. We could see them dashing about on the backside of the trees as we approached. I count myself fortunate for managing to photograph this Common Grackle.

Common Grackle at Bird Studies Canada, Long Point, Ontario

Common Grackle

The property was well laid out and the view from the lookout quite spectacular. We can only imagine what the property must look and sound like in the summer and fall.  Please see their Twitter page for interesting activities and outings.  One such outing is Jane’s Walk to be held at High Park in Toronto. Birders will meet at 5:00 a.m. in a secluded spot to “hear the chorus of birds as the sun rises”. Sounds totally fab, doesn’t it?

Next stop was Port Rowan Marina. From the roadway we spotted some waterfowl in a small patch of open water. They were all Redhead ducks.

Redhead ducks, Port Rowan Harbour

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks, Port Rowan Harbour

Quartet of Redhead ducks

Male and female Redhead ducks, Port Rowan Harbour

Male and female Redhead ducks

The marina itself was gorgeous. Can you imagine what it must look like at sunset and sunrise?

Boathouses at Port Rowan Harbour

Boathouses at Port Rowan Harbour

We lunched at the Boathouse Restaurant located within the marina. The three highlights of our stay were (1) the view from the restaurant:

Boathouse Restaurant, Port Rowan Habour, Ontario

View from Boathouse Restaurant

(2) the Ghost Fleet of Long Point poster:

Ghost Fleet of Long Point Poster

Ghost Fleet of Long Point Poster

and (3) the apple cinnamon bread pudding. Mine was the low fat version. I didn’t eat the whipped cream or caramel sauce. His was the full fat version. He lovingly basted the pudding with the sauce. Totally hyper on sugar I suggested, “Soooooooo, I was thinking that every day I would look up a history of one of the ships mentioned on the poster, then I would call you to with details and we would discuss at length the ship, the crew, the cargo, yadda-yadda-yadda”. As I wickedly prattled on I could see he was trying to find the nicest, politest way to tell me he was not interested. His sugar rush triggered the telling of one corny joke after the other. [If it interests you, you can look up the ship histories here.

Here is our final avian and shoreline view of Port Rowan.

Mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, Long Point

Mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles

Mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, at Long Point

Mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles

Long Point, Ontario

Beauty

As we entered Hamilton via Highway 403 we saw at least 35 raptors, primarily Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks. In downtown Burlington we had three Red-tailed Hawks overhead as we waited for the traffic light to change.

Later on we made a stop at Lasalle Marina in Burlington. Save for a patch or two much of the lake was ice covered. In what little open water there was, we noted all three mergansers (common, red-necked and hooded) and buffleheads.

Hooded Merganser, Lasalle Marina, Burlington

Hooded Merganser

Male and female Common Mergansers, Lasalle Marina

Male and female Common Mergansers

We both enjoyed our sojourn to the Long Point area. What we saw, read and heard whet our appetite for further research, increased our appreciation for what we have, and really inspired us to join the chorus for conservation and preservation of wildlife and their shrinking habitat.

P.S.  Here’s the answer to the Horned Lark query.

Horned lark search

Couldn’t find it? Here it is!

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