Monday, May 9, 2011

Camp Opemikon Work Weekend

Perth Ontario. April 30-May1

It was work weekend at Camp Opemikon. Our job was to get the Scout camp on Christie Lake ready for summer.  But during free moments, Barbara and I did as much birding as possible. We arrived at camp at 7:30 pm on Friday, set up our tents, and had time for a quick look by the swamp across the road.  We heard an unusual call, which turned out to be a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; normally one only hears them drum.  We also heard a Ruffed Grouse drumming in the dark.
In our tent on Saturday morning at 6 am, we could hear an American Bittern calling frequently across the road.  We got up and headed down to the road.  We saw two Chipping Sparrows and a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.  A Pileated Woodpecker called in the distance.
We saw one of the resident Ospreys gathering nest material.  It was really neat to see it fly up to a dead tree, and snap off branches on the wing.  We saw a Beaver swimming.  There were tons of male and female Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles.  Suddenly, I heard the familiar call of a Common Yellowthroat. It showed briefly, then flew across the road and away.  We also had brief views of a Northern Flicker.  Two Great Blue Herons flew overhead, as did a Common Loon.
In the morning, while doing our work, we saw an Eastern Phoebe and a pair of Hooded Mergansers cruised silently by on the far side of the bay.  Later we saw a couple of Loons on the bay.  Barbara discovered a pair of Black-capped Chickadees going in and out of a hole in a rotten stump.    We at first thought they were nesting inside, but each time they re-emerged, they were carrying bits of rotten wood, presumably to use for nesting material elsewhere.
On Sunday morning, we heard the American Bittern again.  He was frustratingly close, but we never did see him.  An Eastern Kingbird perched fairly close and did some fly catching. The Osprey was breaking off more sticks, and a pair of Wood Ducks landed in dead branches in the swamp. We spotted some turtles basking in the sun. Two Belted Kingfishers put on an amazing aerial display.  We heard a couple of Wilson's Snipe and then saw them flying up.  We also heard another Ruffed Grouse drumming across the pond. A good end to a beautiful spring weekend at camp.

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