Wilson’s Phalarope (Townsend Sewage Lagoons)

June 4th – Townsend Sewage Lagoons

The journey from Burlington to Townsend, Ontario was lovely.  It’s always an adventure to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar. We were unsure what to expect. Would we be turned off by the sights and smells? We, well I, worried needlessly. It’s a gorgeous spot.

A singing male Bobolink greeted us warmly then headed off to a nearby field.

male Bobolink

male Bobolink

We, in turn, greeted two Burlington birders, who put us on to our target species, the Wilson’s Phalarope. The female Wilson’s Phalarope is larger and more colourful than the male.

female Wilson's Phalarope

female Wilson’s Phalarope

male Wilson's Phalarope

male Wilson’s Phalarope

During our stay we observed Killdeer (many), Canada Geese (numerous), Savannah Sparrows, an Eastern Kingbird, Spotted Sandpipers, a Least Sandpiper, two Northern Shovelers, and others.

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Painted Turtle and Spotted Sandpaper faceoff

Painted Turtle and Spotted Sandpaper faceoff

male Northern Shoveler

male Northern Shoveler

Killdeer's broken wing posture

Killdeer’s broken wing posture

Beautiful countryside abutting Townsend Sewage Lagoon

Beautiful countryside abutting Townsend Sewage Lagoon

Prior to our departure, we put two newly arrived birders on to the female Phalarope.

Then on to the Tollgate Ponds on Eastport Drive. Quite a number of Ring-billed chicks have hatched. They are easily photographed, having hatched immediately behind the concrete barrier. Do pop by if you can. They are incredibly cute!

Ring-billed Gull chick begging to be fed

Ring-billed Gull chick begging to be fed

After lunch we checked in at Bronte Marina, Oakville, to check in on Cliff Swallows and the two Red-necked Grebe nests.

Nesting Red-necked Grebe No. 2 standing allowing for view of eggs

Nesting Red-necked Grebe No. 1 standing allowing for view of eggs

Red-necked Grebe sitting on nest

Red-necked Grebe No. 2 sitting on nest

Nesting Red-necked Grebe No. 2 stands allowing view of eggs

Nesting Red-necked Grebe No. 2 stands allowing view of eggs

Red-necked Grebe transporting nesting material

Red-necked Grebe transporting nesting material

The Cliff Swallows are confronted by heavy competition from the House Sparrows.

Cliff Swallow constructing nest

Cliff Swallow constructing nest (Typical nest construction requires between 1,400 and 1,800 trips to sources of mud.)

Cliff Swallow ignoring House Sparrow

Cliff Swallow ignoring House Sparrow

Cliff Swallow making it plain to House Sparrow that the mud nest was unavailable

Cliff Swallow making it plain to House Sparrow that the mud nest was unavailable

June 5th

This snapping turtle was digging when I arrived at Hendrie Valley Park.

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Nearby her previous nest lay exposed, having been destroyed by a predator, likely a racoon or mink.

Snapping Turtle's eggs destroyed by predator

Snapping Turtle’s eggs destroyed by predator

 

Close up of snapping turtle's destroyed eggs

Close up of snapping turtle’s destroyed eggs

Further on, an Eastern Phoebe rested on a branch, undisturbed by my presence.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

My last stop was Spencer Smith Park where a Common Tern slowed down enough for me to get a couple in flight shots.

Common Tern at Spencer Smith Park

Common Tern at Spencer Smith Park

Parched and hungry, I walked over to my favourite coffee shop.  Overhead, at the intersection of John and Pine Streets, Chimney Swifts were twittering as they zoomed by.

Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts

A pair of Barn Swallows have constructed a nest in the corner of the parking garage at the above-noted intersection.   This swallow will dive-bomb pedestrians if they linger too long.

Maintaining watch in car park at Pine and John Streets, Burlington

Maintaining watch in car park at Pine and John Streets, Burlington

Barn Swallow resting on the antennae of a parked automobile

Barn Swallow resting on the antennae of a parked automobile

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

This was the last photo I took before the bird went after me!

vigilant Barn Swallow

vigilant Barn Swallow

 

 

 

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