some back roads birding

On Monday morning, I met up with Mary Lou Kightly at the Strathroy Dog Park.  We planned on meeting there, as she was going to be walking her dog, Holly.  She grabbed her binoculars and, along with Holly, they boarded my van and off we went.

There has been talk, over the past week, of sightings of Dickcissels in southwestern Ontario.  Some of these sightings have been in south-west Middlesex County.  It seems to me that Dickcissels move into southwestern Ontario almost every year.  But some years, their numbers seem a little greater.  Not sure if this will be one of those years, but they are here now.

We we drove out Calvert from Strathroy, heading southwest.  We crossed Melbourne Road and then Thames Road.  The next road we came to was County Road #6, Kerwood Road and turned right onto Kerwood Road.  There is a fairly large shrubby field on your left as you drive north west along there.  I have seen Dickcissel in this field before, and also Upland Sandpiper.  But on Monday, all Mary Lou and could find in this field, besides grackles, European Starlings and blackbirds, were Bobolinks.  We saw a few fluttering in the tall grass quite a way back from the road.  The occasional Bobolink perched on a fence post, giving us pretty good views.

As we drove along Kerwood Road, we turned left onto the first road we came to, Winter Drive.  We continued on Winter Drive, crossing Napier Road.  About 1/2 kilometer past Napier Road, we saw a pile of black dirt on our right.  We rolled down the windows and listened carefully as we slowly crept along.  Not far past that pile of dirt, we heard the singing of at least two Dickcissels.  We stopped and one of the songsters flew in close-by and landed on some weeds and provided us with quite the concert.  This is a beautiful bird.

After a while, we turned around and headed back to Napier Road, where we turned right.  We headed down Napier Road, past a couple of interesting looking farm houses.  Eventually, we came to a wooded (mostly spruce) field on our left.  I have often found Clay-coloured Sparrow here.  Their buzzy two-note song carries and they can be located by listening for it.  Unfortunately, we did not hear it on Monday.  We did, however, hear and see Grasshopper, Song, Savannah and Field Sparrow here.  Also, Eastern Kingbird and Indigo Bunting.

A little further on, before Napier Road meets up with Calvert, a stream crosses Napier.  Stopping at this bridge can be rewarding as there are often birds to be seen at this point.

We turned left onto Calvert and then right onto McArthur.  McArthur is another interesting road.  Fields on either side can be productive.  Continuing on McArthur, past Walker’s Drive, there is a field that is excellent for finding more Bobolinks, meadowlarks (Western Meadowlarks have been found along here) and Upland Sandpiper nests in this area.  Once, I heard and saw a Northern Bobwhite here.  But I am sure it was probably an escapee from a game farm.

So if you want to see some birds, why not take a drive in the country.  Mary Lou and I did, and we were not disappointed.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ulila Robson on June 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Thanx so much for your birding route and details. I followed it on Tues afternoon from strathroy. Counted birds species from home and got near forty. Saw the bobolinks, dickcissel. Brown thrasher, bluebird and kingbird made for a good day!


  2. Posted by Anonymous on June 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks saw the dickcissels yesterday, will be doing your route soon!


  3. Posted by Anonymous on June 8, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks, I’ll be saving this route, saw the dickcissels yesterday morning, next chance I’m doing your drive!


  4. Posted by Lynn Sanders on June 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Great that you saw many bobolinks. I haven’t seen any in our field yet this year. Our barn swallows are noticeably down in population both on our farm and at S.A.R.I. near Ilderton.


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