Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Constance Creek Paddling and Birding

Sunday, April 24

We launched out canoe on Constance Creek at Thomas Dolan Parkway.  We could see a good number of Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads and Canada Geese in the back on the east side of the bridge.  We paddled towards them, but they all flushed almost immediately.  We saw some Wood Ducks take flight too with their characteristic woweek sound.  Every beaver lodge or mound of vegetation seemed to have a Canada Goose perched on it, presumably on a nest.
We went to the solid reed bank that one can see from the bridge, but could not find a way through that did not entail a huge amount of work.  So we turned back and went under the bridge, spotting a Muskrat swimming along the way.  we were only perhaps 100 m west of the bridge when we heard a characteristic sound - a Sora Rail.  We paddled over to the edge of the reeds and played the Sora call using my voice recorder and portable speakers.  After a bit, we got an auditory response from very close.  We strained to see it, but could not.  Eventually, we had to give up and proceed.
Leopard Frogs were calling in moderate numbers throughout the creek.  We heard another Sora and many Swamp Sparrows, but could not see either.  We saw a pair of Ring-necked Ducks in  excellent light.  We also heard a Pied-billed Grebe calling, but could not locate it, hidden in the reeds.
We came to a wall of reeds, but seeing open water ahead, we forced our way through to a whole other section of the creek.  We saw many Bufflheads in this section, some of which let us approach closer than usual. 
Power Lines in the distance indicated the presence of Baskin's Beach Road bridge, but we were blocked again and this time could not see a way to get through.  So we had our lunch in the canoe and turned back. On the return trip, we saw two great Blue Herons, the Osprey, and a Northern Flicker. We heard two more Pied-billed Grebes calling, but could not see either. The taped call seemed ineffective.
What a great area to explore by canoe!

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