Sunday 7 April 2013


Spring has finally arrived. After weeks of below average to average temperatures, we finally are starting to feel some warm weather! As I type this, it is 16 degrees outside and predominately sunny with a strong southwest wind.

Since I hadn't gone birding in Ontario since about March 16, I went for a hour and a half walk around a local pond in south Cambridge today. Immediately it became apparent that a lot of migrants had come in!

It was almost a sensory overload of spring migrants. Normally I get out every day or every few days and so I see maybe only one or two new migrant species per outing. But since the last time I had birded in Ontario it was relatively cold and still the middle of March, almost everything was new! Robins and blackbirds were everywhere, and a few Killdeer called nearby. A quick scan of the pond reviewed a Great Blue Heron and 5 Pied-billed Grebes.

Later on I found my first two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers of the spring, calling and chasing each other - one of my favourite species. Sparrows were abundant and while the strong winds made it difficult, I was able to find 1 Fox, 1 Savannah, and 2 Chipping Sparrows. In a nearby swampy area a flock of Rusty Blackbirds were quite vocal.

There were still some reminders that it was still early in the spring, though. Several Common Redpolls flew over, and a flock of 55 or so Bohemian Waxwings was also nearby.

The highlight of the walk for me was hearing the first few Spring Peepers of the spring calling!! The next few days look excellent for herps, so my birding will be put on hold as I see what herps I can find.

This week is forecast to have above average temperatures with a lot of southerly winds, especially early in the week. Following that will be lots of ups and downs. Quite a few birds will be on the move, and I wouldn't be surprised if the first warblers start to show up. Yellow-rumped and Pine are pretty much guaranteed soon, and Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, Palm Warbler, and Nashville Warbler won't be far behind. Unpredictable weather with lots of wind is generally good for causing rare birds to show up.

"Prime" birding season usually starts around my birthday, the 25th of April. However early and mid April can still be good for vagrants, and this time period is certainly a lot better than the previous three months! Some of the more regular rarities during this time period includes Henslow's and Le Conte's Sparrows, Eared Grebe, Black Vulture, chances at rare herons/ibis, and rare ducks.

Megas found between today's date and the 20th of April include Bewick's Wren (1981), Eurasian Jackdaw (1985), Burrowing Owl (1991), Ferruginous Hawk (1992), Garganey (1993), Prairie Falcon (1995), Black-headed Grosbeak (1998),  Townsend's Warbler (2000), and Black-necked Stilt ((2006).

I wouldn't mind one of these...


Alan Wormington said...

Black-throated Gray Warblers at Point Pelee in 2005 (starting on April 18)

Blake A. Mann said...

Pelee awaits your arrival!!