Saturday, October 23, 2010

Last Chance in Bruce (or more aptly named, Misses in Perth)

OK. This post is slightly out of order. We jump back to August for a moment. Shorebirds were on the move and the waters of Lake Huron were warm enough for swimming.

August 18

Three days had past since Jean and I observed our lifer Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and that's one tick I will surely never forget. We were now relaxing on the shores of Lake Huron. Hiking the Tower Trail at MacGregor Point produced no first of the years but we may have influenced a young lad from Michigan to pursue a life of birding. 9 species were added to the Bruce County list, including Wild Turkey observed in a field after leaving the provincial park. South of MacGregor Point, we scoured the rocky shoreline near Brucedale Conservation Area. No birds but the glacial deposited rocks were interesting though.

The morning of the 18th, we hiked the dunes in the nearby Inverhuron Provincial Park. Last year we observed a Swamp Sparrow on the banks of the Little Sauble River. The bird was an addition to the 2009 list and I was looking for a repeat this year.

No Swamp Sparrow north of the bridge this year. Only Song and Chipping Sparrows made appearances this fine morning.

While hiking the dunes of Inverhuron P.P. we observed many Black-capped Chickadees flying across our path. Mixed in the conifers with the chickadees were a few Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Heading towards the park's beach, we found some Black-throated Green Warblers (3) east of the bridge.

After birding Inverhuron, it was time to take it easy at the public beach.

A relaxing twitcher reading The Reluctant Twitcher.

August 19

Our vacation in Bruce County would soon be over. A pleasant sunset was enjoyed in Kincardine the previous evening but any chance of birding Thursday morning was washed out by a heavy rainfall.

We left Inverhuron and Tiverton early in the afternoon and headed south on Highway 21.

The morning rain had flooded a small section of a field east of the highway. If I had not stopped in a construction lot to obtain an item from the back of the car we would have missed the shorebirds and an addition to the year list. A Solitary Sandpiper (#180) was wading in the pond with a few Greater Yellowlegs, a couple Semipalmated Sandpipers and a Least Sandpiper. A Wilson's Snipe was well hidden in the grass but Jean's keen eyes spotted it as if it was out in plain sight.

We reached the town of Mitchell late in the afternoon and stopped at the same picnic area we did the previous year. In addition to the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher found at the Luther Marsh, daily sightings of some exciting birds were occurring at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons while Jean and I were at the cottage. Though it is a toy I can do without, a Blackberry would have been extremely advantageous in this situation. On the 16th, a birding friend of ours posted that he had seen a Hudsonian Godwit. The next day, another post indicated that along with the Hudsonian, a Marbled Godwit was also present. In all, a total of 14 shorebirds were hanging out at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons while I was viewing Tree and Barn Swallows flying over Whirl Creek. Arrrgh! Not only would we be past 200 species for 2010 (as of today), the life list would have 2 more birds on it. Next year, a stop at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons in Perth will be on the itinerary and hopefully the life list will have a couple of godwits.

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