Friday, June 1, 2012

I'm Still Here

Yes. It has been while since my last post. A little prodding seems to have done the trick and I have awoken from my slumber.

A few birds were added to the year list since posting my last tale, including a lifer on April 7. For now it's best to inform you all of a recent addition (prior to the OFO Carden Alvar trip) to the year list since it is still fresh in my memory. Though I don't think the 2012 lifers have faded just yet. Do any of them?

It was Victoria Day and it was a perfect day to go chasing a reported bird. A Snowy Egret was observed near the Grand River on the Saturday and any wish we had to add this bird to the Ontario list would have to wait until the holiday Monday. So after a long day of counting birds for the BOS May count, I checked the reports Sunday evening. The egret was still hunting in the same small pond in Dunnville.

Jean and I have birded this pond a few times so there were no worries we would not find its location. It is one of the stops during the OFO Rock Point trip and you can usually find Great Egrets and herons wading in the shallow waters.

When we first arrived, we could not see any wading birds in the pond. No splash of white amongst the green reeds led me to believe that the egret had left the area. Jean and I stepped out of the car and crossed the road to scan the pond from behind the chain-link fence. The Snowy Egret was there. It was hidden on the north side of the pond and as we approached the fence, we flushed the egret from the reeds. Its trailing black legs with yellow feet were easily seen as it flew to the south side of the pond.

Views of the Snowy would have to be distant. We were without our spotting scope. Yes, no scope to get a closer look at #266 on our Ontario list. I'm relieved to say the glass is fine. The scope was sent to the U.S. for repairs to the mounting foot and we'll be without it for approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Ouch! "Scopeless in the Carden Alvar" sounds like a fine title for a future blog post.

We watched the Snowy Egret as it continued to hunt on the far side of the pond. The movement of a small rail-car at the nearby factory did not disturb the egret. I was hoping it would fly back to the south side and allow us a closer look.

A few friends arrived and the small egret was a lifer for one of them.

Before leaving the Dunnville area, we tried looking for a reported adult blue morph Snow Goose at the Mosaic ponds down the road. It was observed with a group of Canada Geese and though one of our friends had seen it the previous day, we could not find it.

Jean and I have visited the Mosaic ponds during OFO trips and we have observed our lifer Stilt Sand Piper and Marsh Wren at this Haldimand County hot spot.

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During the trips, the gates are opened by an employee of the company that owns the property and OFO members are allowed to explore a large area of the wetland. This day, our views were limited to a few spots along the roads, north and south of the ponds. If the Snow Goose was there, it was hidden.

No worries. I left Dunnville satisfied with the Snowy Egret tick. In a few days, Jean and I would be travelling to the Kawartha Lakes. Hopefully we would have a repeat of last year's observations while birding the Carden Alvar.

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