Dillon Cove, Parry Sound Area Report, Apr. 18 - 23.

Jean Niskanen jniskan at vianet.on.ca
Thu Apr 25 00:01:24 EDT 2002

Hi Birders

I got a chance to check out the birds in Dillon Cove and Carling Township.
(Killbear Prov. Park is part of Carling Township), northwest of the town of
Parry Sound on Georgian Bay.  The ice had gone out on Sunday, April 14 and
there was no snow left in the bush.  The temperature dropped dramatically
after April 18, with little bird song.  The frogs quit singing too as I was
doing surveys.  Besides Spring Peepers, it seemed really early to hear
American Toads and Leopard Frogs on April 18).  The temperatures went below
freezing (-5) on several nights.

Of 57 species tallied, the highlights are:

SANDHILL CRANES:  I received reports of 1 on Apr. 17 at Sand Bay (Bill Davis),
2 at a field on Dillon Road on April 18 (Carol Cascanette, Barb Davis) in the
morning.  There were none in this field in the afternoon of April 18 & 19 when
I checked but I saw them (2 adults) on Sat. April 20 at 10 am and again at
noon.  My best sighting was of a flock of 10 flying north over the
intersection of Hwy #559 and Dillon Road at 5:00 pm on April 19.  Another
report from the mouth of the Shebeshekong River nearby (Edie Verite) was that
cranes were present on Saturday, April 20 and were heard on April 21, so spent
the night there.  When I checked in the afternoon on April 21 after getting
the report, they were gone, but some were heard in the distance.  I don't know
if they were flying or on the ground.
Others have reports of Sandhill Cranes but these are the only ones that I've
accumulated so far.  Reports here are increasing every year, formerly rare.

OSPREY:  I checked on our platforms and found Osprey at three of them in the
Dillon area.
MERLIN:  I saw one at our cottage.  Other observers 2 km to the west of me and
1 km to the east of me also reported seeing and hearing them back.  One year I
had 3 nests in this small area.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS:  There are hundreds of these in my area as I am
close to breeding colonies.  They frequently fly back and forth from their
colonies to various feeding areas, including in front of our cottage at Dillon
Cove.  It was disappointing that so many of the other ducks had dispersed
after ice break-up.  I did find nice flocks in Sand Bay of 50+ RING-NECKED
DUCKS and 50+  LESSER SCAUP, plus 2 PIED-BILLED GREBES.  Common Mergansers
were present in small numbers, as were BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and
GEESE were also present but these are probably our nesting ones and not
migrating through.  MALLARDS and BLACK DUCKS were also seen.

COMMON LOON:  I saw one in its usual spot off Dillon Cove.  I did not see any
migrating flocks along the Georgian Bay coastline that others are reporting in
southern Ontario.

CASPIAN TERNS: are regular at the Dillon area in April.  Some return before
the ice goes out.  I saw 9+ on April 18 and then they fly regularly past the
cottage all day long.

I tried to get into Killbear Prov Park to check for Red-necked Grebes but
found out it is frequently picketed and the locks were changed.  I had planned
on doing the Red-shouldered hawk & Spring Woodpecker Survey (which includes
stops in the park) until I ran into these two hurdles.  If I can overcome them
and make a return trip before the deadline (May 7), then it is still a
possibility.  I did hear a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK calling near Dillon on April 23
and I saw one BROAD-WINGED HAWK  in the same spot (not migrating) on April 20
and 23.

I saw a RUFFED GROUSE on April 19, KILLDEER (1) on April 18-19, and COMMON
SNIPE (2) on April 19.

PILEATED WOODPECKER:  These are heard regularly.  I saw one excavating a nest
hole in a new pressure treated hydro pole.  The male worked very hard, not
only in the morning but also the afternoon for more than one day.  There is an
interesting story to this.  Briefly, they had made a hole in a previous pole.
The pole was weakened and replaced with a new pole for Bell and Hydro wires.
The old pole was left for the woodpeckers.  BUT they excavated their huge
holes in the new pole as well, under the supports (that they like for the nest
hole) which had been moved over from the previous pole.  This year it was
making another hole in a new pole.  I saw three fledged young in this location
last year.

Flickers are common and Sapsuckers have arrived.
Other migrants included Tree Swallow, Brown Creepers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets
(missed Golden Crowned), Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers, Tree
Sparrow (2), Chipping and Song Sparrows, Juncos but only one White-throated
Sparrow sang feebly.  Phoebes were not singing well either.

EASTERN MEADOWLARK:  I saw two on April 20
PURPLE FINCH:  2 males and 1 female showed up as soon as I put out my feeders
HOUSE FINCH:  Rare here.  One male arrived on April 20 with a male Purple
Finch at the feeder.  In this area, they move through, i.e. are migratory.

Jean Niskanen
jniskan at vianet.on.ca

"Jean Niskanen" <jniskan at vianet.on.ca>

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