Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grassland Species

Finally! I was beginning to think Jean and I would not see any Bobolink in the grassy field on 5th Avenue this year. Desperation was soon to set in and I was prepared to contact John or Kayo for an alternate location in the Niagara Region to ensure we would have this grassland species on our year list. Returning from a club ride Saturday morning I caught a glimpse of what I believed to be a male Bobolink.

Jean and I would return later that afternoon to confirm my earlier observation from the Nishiki. Yes, it all makes sense now. Does this mean I can never purchase a new bike? I would change the name of the blog, perhaps to, "Tales of the Cannondale". An excellent bike but for a birding blog, not very intriguing. And you all thought I obtained the name from the bottom of a plate like the designers of the bike did (or possibly a bag of rice).

We would observe 3 male Bobolink (#152 for the year) in this field pictured below. Using a scope we had some great views of the birds in their breeding plumage as they grasped onto stalks strong enough to support their weight. While in flight, the Bobolink would pass close by, singing their rolling song.

Another object we observed in flight was a Lancaster bomber (the only flying Lancaster in North America) as it passed over our location. Both my uncle and Jean's grandfather were members of Lancaster crews during WWII. It was an amazing sight to see this plane fly overhead.

OK, back to birding. While we were standing on the rural road Jean mentioned there was one species she would like to see again. We had last seen one in this location in May of 2007. An Upland Sandpiper. Well, ask and you shall receive. Out of the long grass on the opposite side of the road, near the last remaining vineyard, popped an Upland Sandpiper (#153). It walked out onto the road but would quickly return to the long grass and remain hidden from view. As we passed the vineyard we could not find the bird again.

Other interesting species observed along the rural road included, Savannah Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, Eastern Kingbird and a Great Blue Heron observed in flight.

I can now rest easy. Bobolink was added to the year list as well as the bonus Upland Sandpiper. Another grassland species will be next on the agenda, the Grasshopper Sparrow.

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