Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Summer Day at Wetland Ridge.

From the amount of tales I've posted recently, you would think I had given up on the birding thing and simply chose to laze around while my lists sat idle.

Well, that's never going to happen. There were some issues with transferring images from Jean's camera to the PC but we have figured it out and I no longer have an excuse not to post.

Soon after ticking the Red-necked Grebe, Jean and I returned to St.Johns CA to find a Scarlet Tanager. Despite the male's bright red colour, it's a tough species to spot in the high tree tops but luckily they were singing and we could finally move on to the next target species.

Well, first we had to ensure our target date for a group tour with some friends at the Niagara College teaching winery and brewery took place as planned. A few days later, Jean and I visited the former sewage lagoons behind the school's Glendale campus. Birders that enjoy beer can sample a variety of malted beverages created by the students after an hour or two of birding at the base of the Niagara Escarpment.

During our walk around the two cells, we ticked a total of 40 species.

Baltimore Oriole, Icterus galbula

Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica

There were also Tree and Cliff Swallows flying low over the lagoons.


...and mammals were also spotted.

Green Heron, Butorides virescens

Other heron species observed included Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

I was hoping to add a shorebird species to the year list during our hike. Shorebirds can be found along the edges of the cells and we usually spot them in the north cell. Species Jean and I have observed in the past include Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper. Of these 5 species, I still needed a Solitary and Lesser Yellowlegs for the year list.

On this day, a Lesser Yellowlegs was roaming the mudflats.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes

A Solitary Sandpiper was ticked three weeks later when visiting the lagoons on the Civic Holiday in August.

Jean and I have visited the lagoons a number of times since 2006 and we have accumulated 82 species for our Wetland Ridge Trail list. 15 lifers were found here including a Common Gallinule (known as Common Moorhen at the time of the lifer tick). Though the chances of repeating a Common Gallinule observation may be tough, I'll still love to bird the ponds a few times a year. Knowing that there's cold beer to sample later on, makes a visit all the more enjoyable.


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