A hardy group of 24 participants recently took a 4-day trip to Point Pelee National Park to observe the annual bird migration and other wildlife. It looks like they had a great time judging by these photos taken by Neil Carleton! All the photos here were taken at Point Pelee National Park, May 4-7, 2015, with the exception of one taken at Rondeau Provincial Park where the group also explored. Our apologies for the sequence of photos which may not be exactly as they were intended for this post. WordPress software can be a little temperamental and stubborn and has its own plans for the sequence.
As the ice recedes in Presqu’ile Bay on the north shore of Lake Ontario, thousands of migrating ducks move in to await our northern lakes becoming free of ice, so they can move into their breeding homes. A small group of Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) members and friends journeyed to Presqu’ile Provincial Park on March 28th to view this natural spectacle, and they weren’t disappointed.
The MVFN outing, led by MVFN President Cliff Bennett has become an annual event for the club. From the various viewing stands, the group was able to see fourteen different species of waterfowl including a single white-winged scoter, a single American coot, and redhead and canvasback ducks by the hundreds. There were also dozens of long-tailed ducks and thousands of greater scaup, buffleheads and golden-eye ducks. Dozens of mute swans dotted the whole bay and herring gulls picked up various bits of debris along the ice edge.
As well as ducks and other waterfowl, the group observed several raptors, including a red-shouldered hawk, a harrier, and a pair of kestrels, several red – tailed hawks, and a Cooper ’s hawk. Spring arrivals included red-winged blackbirds, grackles, American woodcock, turkey vultures and robins. In total, the group tallied forty-five species in all for the day’s viewing.
Viewing so many ducks in one area is often quite revealing as one sees them in breeding colours and observes distinctive courting activities. A particularly active scene was demonstrated by a pair of mute swans; the female was completely submerged in the water by the male for at least ten seconds, followed by an intimate rubbing together of necks.
As spring weather approaches, there are many upcoming events being organized by MVFN’s active birding committee. The next of these are the popular spring Early Morning Bird Walks. This series will take place on 4 Wednesdays: April 8, 15, 22 and 29. For information on these events check the MVFN website at mvfn.ca. Other MVFN events in April include the Alvar Pub Night Friday, April 10 to raise funds to support the Burnt Lands Alvar Campaign, and an MVFN Members Night and AGM which will take place on Thursday, April 16.
MVFN Presqu’ile Provincial Park Day-Trip for the Annual Duck Migration
Experience this huge migration event of over 10,000 waterfowl, plus many land birds, which collect in the bay and off the lighthouse point around the Park on the north shore of Lake Ontario, getting ready to move inland to breed. There are usually over 20 different species of birds to be seen in, on and around the water.
Date: Saturday, March 28th
Time: Departure by 7:30 AM from Union Hall; 8:15 AM from Glen Tay Public School. Car-pooling is the order of the day.
Bring: Lunch, binoculars and spotting scopes.
Dress: Have extra clothes ready for cool, windy weather.
Details:The drive to Presqu’ile is about three hours each way, with a 15 minute pit-stop prior to the turn-off from Hwy 401. We should be back home by 6 PM.
You must pre-register for this trip
For further information and registration, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or . In case of severe weather, the trip will be cancelled. If in doubt, call Cliff before 7 AM.
MVFN group on evening bird walk. photo Howard Robinson
Thanks for participating in the MVFN Bird Walk on June 19th on the 12th Concession Line, Lanark Highlands. Below is the list of species that the entire group saw or heard starting at the Union Hall. Thanks very much to Lynda Bennett, our expert bird guide for the evening, and to Cliff Bennett and Ray Fortune who led smaller groups for part of the walk. Thanks also to Ray for letting us walk through his woods so that we could find a few more species and to Howard Robinson for sharing the attached photos. Overall Lynda and I enjoyed the walk very much and were very pleased with the number of species recorded for the evening.
Indigo bunting. photo Howard Robinson
Great Crested flycatcher
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ Birding Committee.