The “muttering” of a Carolina Wren was cause for investigation. Near the water’s edge at Lasalle Marina was a family of five Carolina Wrens. While the parents foraged the wee ones tried out their wings and balance. I couldn’t tarry too long as my presence attracted the attention of unwanted visitors including chipmunks.
Nearby a Grey Catbird, thankfully not a cat, meowed from the thicket.
A Spotted Sandpiper posed nicely during a recent brief visit to Windermere Basin.
Last Sunday, notwithstanding the hail, wind and chill I embarked on the 8 km walk from Confederation Park to Spencer Smith Park. I try to do so once a year. I didn’t mind the weather as the pedestrian traffic on the beach and trail was very light. Birds observed along the route included a Great Blue Heron, American Redstart, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Warbling Vireos, Baltimore Orioles, Great-crested Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, White-crowned Sparrows, Northern Mockingbirds, Peregrine Falcons, Cedar Waxwings, Hermit Thrush, Swallows and a Red-necked Grebe.
The previous week Dunlin were resting on the beach.
At Spencer Smith Park migrating Surf Scoters were a surprise find.
There are still a few Long-tailed Ducks on the lake.
On Saturday my target species was Whimbrel. This was my third try in three years. Finally!! Yesss! Thirteen Whimbrel flew by!
The warblers were concentrated high in the trees in the area known as the Big Bowl. I was up for the challenge but then I noticed a photographer was shadowing my every move. FYI, it is generally acceptable to piggyback someone else’s find (seeking permission as the situation dictates) but it’s not okay to have them do all the work all the time.
Finds of the day included a Northern Waterthrush and the following:
I nipped into the bird colony near the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters. Last trip we saw a few intimate couples. No hatchlings yet. This spot remains a favourite for flight shots of terns, cormorants and gulls.
I am not sure how the Black-crowned Night Herons are faring this year.
Weird Moment No. 1: Yesterday along the beach strip I observed a woman depositing a powder-like substance retrieved from a large ziplock bag to the base of two trees. Initially I thought the substance was either sand or ashes but then I thought, no, this is weird. As she headed to a fourth tree I asked the obvious question. The response, “It’s flour. It helps the birds develop their eggs.”
I gave her my infamous you-are-ridiculously-full-of-crap look. The activity ceased immediately, likely more so because I took a video.
Weird Moment No. 2: A most disturbing sight at Hendrie Valley. An adult squirrel carried another adult squirrel in its mouth along the path, up an embankment and eventually out of view. They were not fighting and indeed, there was no struggle nor any vocalization. I checked the internet. A few others encountered a similar sight including observance of cannibalism.
A Cooper’s Hawk supped on a chipmunk. Lots of chipmunks roaming Hendrie. The hawk will thrive.
This American Mink struggled with and at one point tumbled back down with the fish. Grit, determination and pangs of hunger made for a successful trip home.
Here are a few more birds of Hendrie including two warblers species photographed this morning.
Wrapping up, the 7th annual Spring Bird Festival will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Features include hourly bird walks (starting at 10:00 a.m.), the Whimbrel watch, displays, live birds and other activities.