Bird Trip Report – Strathroy to Grand Bend

On Saturday, March 16th,  the Strathroy Birding Group met at the Senior’s Centre parking lot in Strathroy at 8 AM and headed off for a day of birding.  Our first stop was on Amiens Road to look for the Ross’s Geese that had been seen there this past week.  We dipped on the Ross’s Geese, however, despite a pretty thorough search of the area.  The Ross’s might still be in the area, but we could not find them.  We did see lots of other birds there, though.  Canada Geese, Wood Duck, Mallard, Hooded Merganser, Killdeer, American Crows, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Downy Woodpecker were all present at this location.  Just past the Skinner farm on Amiens near the Ilderton Road intersection, some Wild Turkeys were seen skulking in the Pines.

From there we headed down Glengyle Drive and stopped beside the lake near Ruby’s Farm and Landscaping.  There were Canada Geese on the lake and in the brushy lake edge there were numerous birds.  Mostly Dark-eyed Juncos, but also American Tree Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinal and White-breasted Nuthatch. 

We continued down Glengyle Drive until a flock of birds on McEvoy Road caught our eye.  It turned out to be Horned Larks and Snow Buntings.  There were approx. 50-75 Snow Buntings and around 25 Horned Larks.  Both of these species gave us excellent, extended views as they worked the corn stubble right beside the car as we were parked off to the side of the road. 

Next we headed into town and stopped at Timmies for a bathroom break and to grab a cup of Joe for the ride.  We headed north out of town.  On Egremont Road, we pulled over to view a Rough-legged Hawk.  Next we drove over to Seed Road, scanning the fields along the way hoping to glimpse a Snowy Owl.  Unfortunately none to be seen.  We turned on Cuddy Road to look for Short-eared Owls, as they have been seen in this area lately.  Again, however, we came up empty.  Small groups of Horned Larks kept flying up from the side of the road into the fields all day long.  Morning Doves were occasionally seen sitting on telephone wires.  Rock Pigeons were seen in various fields nears farms along the way, as were Killdeer.

We worked our way towards Greenway Road north of the Pinery Provincial Park.  We saw another Rough-legged Hawk and along Bog Line near Northville, we spotted a male Northern Harrier flying over head.   

The sight of approx 10,000 Tundra Swans in the low wet areas along Greenway road was an unforgettable spectacles.  Despite the falling snow that hampered viewing a bit, it was still mind-numbing to see so many swans in one area.  Small flocks were constantly in the air coming and going, calling in air, while the vast majority rested and browsed in the fields and water.  While we were there, a huge flock (1,000’s) of Canada Geese arrived and another gigantic flock of ducks ( too distant to view and identify) floated by hazily in the distance.  In addition, there were Pintail and Bufflhead and Mallards seen in field. 

After awhile, we said good-bye to the swans and headed down the road to Port Franks.  We drove around the village looking for birdlife.  We saw Ring-necked Ducks and Canada Geese in one of the lakes at the edge of the village.  Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed gulls were seen near open water in the channels.  A Turkey Vulture floated by at one point.  House Sparrows put in an appearance.

From Port Franks, we headed down the road towards Forest.  We stopped along the way occasionally to view flocks of blackbirds in the fields.  They were mostly European Starlings, but there were also flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds.  Try as we might, we never did spot a Common Grackle, although we know they are around (right, Joy??).  In Forest, we stopped to watch a huge flock of starlings pulling big earthworms up out of the grass.  It was a feeding frenzy.  Never saw anything like it.   

From Forest, we turned and headed back to Strathroy,  adding Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel to our daily tally of birds. 

We arrived back at the Seniors Centre parking lot around 3 PM.  It was a good day,  Lots of birds and enjoyable company. 


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lynn Sanders on March 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Epic day of birdwatching – so sorry to have missed it. Our resident male grackle returned Mar. 14th. Along with his rusty hinge song and blow-up preamble.


    • Posted by Joy Pierce on March 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      I appreciate your comprehensive summary of the March 16 outing, both route and
      species seen. Thanks. Sunday evening, March 17 was eventful with a flock of
      about 45 tundra swans flying over from Coldstream Conservation Area towards
      Strathroy,,,catching late sunshine light. This was followed by my surprise flush of an
      adult turkey near a rear corner of our property (mature spruce & pine cover there near our compost container). Perhaps a visitor from the Conservation area.
      ….and around 5 a.m. this morning I saw in the darkness a skunk feeding beneath
      our bird feeders. Where does it live as I have seen it there once before?


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