Thursday, July 26, 2012

Burrough Road and around the Cottage at Grand Lac des Cèdres

July 20-22, 2012
We stopped at Burrough Rd just outside of Venosta and hiked a couple of km along the bike path.  Jane and Sami had seen a family of Sandhill Cranes here recently and also an Upland Sandpiper.  Well, we saw neither, but there were lots of birds - Savannah and Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats, American Goldfinches, American Robins, Ring-billed Gulls, European Starlings and a Brown Thrasher.  For mammals we had a Racoon and a White-tailed Deer.

Returning to the car, we decided to drive a little further along Burrough, whereupon we saw 4 Wild Turkeys.  Then we carried on to the cottage.
The next morning, we decided to try birding and berry picking on Ch. du Lac à L'Arche, where it turns to go down towards Cayamant.  There were virtually no berries due to the drought, but we saw a few nice birds, including a White-throated Sparrow, and Eastern Phoebe and an American Kestrel.

I decided we should hike over an explore the abandoned farm at Lac Catherine.  The fields were full of Savannah Sparrows and also a darker bird which I had to look up - female Indigo Buntings.  Barbara spotted an Eastern Kingbird too.

We drove to the other end of the lake and saw a bunch of juvenile Eastern Bluebirds on a wire.  We stopped on the way back to check out the decorative rocks, and I spotted an adult male Common Yellowthroat (all the previous one had been juveniles).

As we drove down the hill to our cottage, I spotted a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  Unfortunately, we were not able to get a photo.  Later, while watching the Purple Finches and Red-breasted Nuthatches around the feeders, we saw a Brown Creeper on the tree behind.  The Creeper and the Thrasher were numbers 106 and 107 on our cottage list.  We also had some brief visits from a Ruby throated Hummingbird, both Downy and Hairy woodpeckers and Blue Jays throughout the weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Loon Chicks at the Cottage

July 14-15, 2012
Our June loon count had shown us several potential pairs and two nests.  One was unfortunately abandoned with two eggs in it.  But we had high hopes for the other pairs.

Barbara attended the lake association meeting on Saturday morning, and saw a soaring Red-shouldered Hawk outside the community hall.  When she returned, we did our loon count.
Things stated slowly with 3 loons in our bay and a white-tailed deer at the west shore.  Then we saw 11 teenager loons (non-breeding adults) further down the lake.  The pair at Deep Bay now had two chicks, and another pair duplicated this effort at Pike Bay.  Another pair at First Island were behaving very suspiciously, and it looked like the mother was concealing a chick, but we could not be sure.

That evening, our friend Colleen asked if we had seen the nest at Sylvester's Bay - we had missed it!  So Sunday morning, we paddled our canoe out to have a look.  She was there and immediately hopped off the nest, so we beat a hasty retreat.  We paddled in close to shore on the return, and Barbara spotted a good-sized Snapping Turtle.  All in all, a good weekend for wildlife watching.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rivière Noire Canoe Trip

July 8-9, 2012

We planned a short trip with friends and former neighbours, Jerry and Charolyn. On the way there, we stopped briefly at Chemin Smith Léonard and Hwy 148 to look for Upland Sandpipers (yes again). At first it looked like another blank, but we were happy to see a distant Eastern Meadowlark and some Eastern Bluebirds. Suddenly there were 2 Upland Sandpipers on fence posts right beside the car. One flew across and was joined by a third on the ground.

We were not concentrating on birds during the actual canoe trip, but were amazed by the number of Belted Kingfishers and Spotted Sandpipers that we saw.

Bird List
1. European Starling
2. Eastern Meadowlark
3. Eastern Bluebird
4. Belted Kingfisher
5. Common Merganser
6. Spotted Sandpiper
7. Yellow-rumped Warbler
8. Common Yellowthroat (H)
9. Ovenbird (H)
10. Chestnut-sided Warbler (H)
11. Great Blue Heron
12. Northern Flicker
13. Osprey
14. Sharp-shinned Hawk
15. Turkey Vulture
16. American Crow
17. Common Raven

Mysterious Yard Visitor

July 7, 2012

We had been hearing a strident call in the neighbourhood almost daily since April. It was vaguely familiar, but I could not place it. It was something like a Tufted Titmouse, but not really.

A few days before, he had ventured into our yard, but took off before I could get a good look. Then on Saturday morning, while having breakfast on the deck, he showed up next door and perched on a low branch and began to sing. This time we got the binoculars on him and saw right away that it was a CAROLINA WREN. He stayed for a distant photo. He returned briefly just before dark to check out the stream on our pond.

A Visit to Calabogie

July 6, 2012

There was a summer EDS party at Carolyn’s and Harold’s. Cathy came with us, and we drove up via Panmure Road and Dwyer Hill Road. You guessed it, we were looking for Upland Sandpipers, but drew a blank. We did have a nice view of a Broad-winged Hawk just before reaching Calabogie (no photo). There were only Mallards at the lake, but it was interesting to see that they were starting into eclipse plumage already.

On the way home, we checked for Upland Sandpipers again but the best we could do were some Grasshopper Sparrows and hordes of juvenile European Starlings.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Cottage List Continues to Grow

July 2, 2012
It was family time at the cottage for the long weekend.  Although not much time was devoted to birding, we did get a Black-throated Blue Warbler (heard in the swamp beside us) and a Scarlet Tanager that came right into our yard!  A Black-throated Green Warbler also made a surprise visit to the feeders to see what the Purple Finches and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were interested in.  There was also an unusually high number of Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers prowling the feeders.

On the lake, we had a young fawn swimming across to an island and our first Common Loon chick of the season.