Monday 27 June 2011

Weekend birding

I headed back to Guelph with Laura for one last weekend before she disappears to Nova Scotia for the rest of the summer. On the Saturday we headed up to Luther Marsh for a few hours in the afternoon.

I really like Luther - it is only an hour from Guelph, it has some cool herps, and it has a lot of birds that typically breed much farther north. We arrived around 1 PM to surprisingly cool weather (20 degrees C) and no mosquitoes!!! A nice change to Windsor for sure. Almost immediately we heard and saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Redstarts, and Common Yellowthroats.  A walk down the east side added Magnolia, Yellow, Pine, and a bold male Chestnut-sided Warbler who didn't appreciate us intruders. A Common Loon was on the lake, an American Bittern called from in some sedges, and 5 species of swallow caught insects. The highlight was near a small marsh - I heard a Sedge Wren sing from some tall grasses near the edge of the marsh several times. Never did get a look at him!

Laura and I had some fun catching Mink frogs in my "secret pond" - a place that is absolutely loaded with Mink Frogs. For this Southern Ontarioer, it was a treat to see Mink Frogs once again. They truly are a frog of the northern forest, as their southern limit of distribution (Luther Marsh) is the highest latitude of any North American Frog.

Mink Frog

Mink Frog

Mink Frog

Sunday I slept in a bit, then checked out some other areas close to Guelph. At the Britton Tract near Campbellville, I had a few nice birds including 3+ singing Mourning Warblers, 2 Blue-winged Warblers, Black-billed Cuckoo, many Chestnut-sided, Redstarts, etc. I added a few new butterflies to my small but growing list - Northern Cloudywing, and Common Ringlet. On the way back to Guelph, a stop near Starkey's hill was quite productive. Just in the area around the parking lot and down the road, I saw many sparrows including 2 singing Clay-colored, 2 Grasshopper, and 5 Savannah. An Eastern Meadowlark was heard, a Purple Finch was seen, and many Bobolinks were around. 3 VERY territorial Blue-winged Warblers kept an eye on me and an Alder Flycatcher was singing. Not a bad afternoon near Guelph!

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