Tundra Swans, GB Herons and other migrants - York Region

Ronald J. Fleming ronaldj..fleming at sympatico.ca
Sat Mar 22 14:58:49 EST 2003

Melting snow has created numerous flooded fields ideal for migrating
waterfowl to visit, so I ventured out this morning to check the north
end of Bathurst Street, which has traditionally been a good place for
migrants.  True to form, the flooded vegetable fields and sod farms
north of Queensville Sdrd. on Bathurst contained several interesting
waterfowl species, including: TUNDRA SWAN (4), one tagged TRUMPETER SWAN
(#99 or 099 from what I could see), NORTHERN PINTAIL (20), GREEN-WINGED
TEAL (6), BLACK DUCK (6), about a  hundred Mallards, and a pair each of
numerous Canada Geese, one of which had a neck tag that looked like

Back early at the heronry on the west side of the Bradford Canal were
four GREAT BLUE HERON. There was also an early EASTERN MEADOWLARK
calling from the fields on the west side of Bathurst north of Hochreiter
Rd., plus numerous HORNED LARKS, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and
robins.  There were several SONG SPARROWS and KILLDEER calling all along
Bathurst in this area.

A lingering NORTHERN SHRIKE was sitting prominently on a treetop on the
south side of the road that goes eastward into the Holland River
Marina.  The most exciting sight for the morning was a male NORTHERN
HARRIER taking runs at a juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK in the field just
north of the woods and south of the first dike on the west side of
Bathurst.  The gos eventually flew into the woods and the harrier flew
across Bathurst to patrol the marsh on the east side of the road.  I
later observed a female harrier hunting on the west side of Bathurst,
south of the dike, while a lone coyote kept an eye on all the ducks on
the north side.

Directions: Bathurst Street is the same well-known road that runs north
through Toronto, but once it reaches Davis Drive in Newmarket (Hwy. 9),
it gets interrupted.  To hook up with it again, you have to jog over to
Yonge Street and fight your way through the ever-present traffic in
north Newmarket.  Travel north out of Newmarket toward Bradford and
watch for the stoplight where Bathurst is once again indicated.  This is
just west of Holland Landing and just south of Bradford.  You have to
turn right, then an almost immediate left, at which point Bathurst turns
north again over the railway tracks.
Follow Bathurst all the way up, past Queensville Sdrd. and past
Hochreiter Rd. (which can be well worth checking if the road is not a
total quagmire) until you emerge from the trees to enter the flat lands
east of Bradford and west of River Drive Park.  The first dike trail on
the left is a good one to walk, since it takes you out into the heart of
the flooded fields and offers good views of the heronry straight west.
A scope definitely increases one's chances of seeing good birds.

"Ronald J. Fleming" <ronaldj..fleming at sympatico.ca>

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