Brewer's Blackbirds in Long Point Area

Norm Murr NORMURR at SYMPATICO.CA
Sat Mar 22 22:58:27 EST 2003


Good evening (night ?) Ontbirders.

 Today Sat., March 22, 2003 Stan Bajurny and I did our oft traveled Townsend
to Long Point trek and the stand out birds on this outing among our 56
species,(some pretty good ones) were 3 Brewer's Blackbirds.

 After many other stops we stopped at the Triple Bridge area near Port Royal
on A Concession Rd as we usually do when down that way. It was raining a
little hard so we just stopped at the western most bridge to watch and
listen and have a snack. The rain wasn't letting up so we discussed the
option of calling it a day (fat chance). We decided to drive down to and
past the 3rd or eastern most bridge and listen again as this is an area that
we some times find Tufted Titmouse, No mouse but we did find a Red-bellied,
2 Downy and a Hairy Woodpecker.

 The woods here were semi-flooded and of coarse wet with rain. I rolled down
the window and commented to Stan that I could here Rusty Blackbirds (a year
bird).  As we sat there it was clear that there were 2 or 3 hundred
blackbirds in the woods here, almost all on the ground, but they were very
vocal. After seeing Rusty and Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds
and Common Grackles we were ready to go but Stan drew my attention to 3
Blackbirds that flew up from the ground hesitated for a minute or two and
then flew across the road. Stan mentioned that the female (there were 2
males and 1 female) had a brown eye and that the males sure looked
different. As we were viewing these birds through the rain splattered
windshield I got out and approached them and they flew back across the road
to the exact spot that Stan had discovered them in and gave me great 30 feet
away looks at  2 unmistakable male and 1 female Brewer's Blackbirds. The
Colour differences compared to the side by side Rusty Blackbirds was easy to
see. The Rusties showed a subdued or lack of Greenish tinge alongside the
brighter Purple Sheen on the Brewer's. The female Rusties all showed the
bright (to me) yellowish eye. This is a bird that I had seen many times in
Alberta and in their thousands in winter in SW Texas and it was great to see
more than one at a time here in Ontario.

 The above description of the birds (Rusty and Brewer's) is to act as an aid
if anyone decides to look for them here and not a boastful thing. I must
also mention that this is not the first time that I have seen Brewer's
Blackbirds in the Long Point area and that when viewing the sometimes huge
blackbird flocks there and elsewhere that you should always check for
Brewer's and even the even rarer Yellow-headed Blackbird, they have also
been seen in the Long point area at this time in the past.

 As I finally decided that I had seen enough of the Brewer's and started to
turn away 2 male Blackbird flew up and joined them. I put my glasses up just
as a Northern Goshawk flew over and all the Blackbirds rose from the ground
and the Brewer's and their 2 new mates became one big black flock. My point
being that there may have been 4 male Brewer's, a stretch I know, but who
can say.

Blackbirds seen here - Red-winged Blackbird - 200+,  Rusty Blackbird - 75+,
Common Grackle - 200+, Brown-headed Cowbird - 25+, Brewer's Blackbird - 3
for sure and maybe 5. Doubters to contact me in private, good luck to the
others.

PS - There are many Tundra Swans at and over the whole area from Townsend to
Long Point and of coarse on the ice of Inner Bay at Long Point it self.
Check the fields all over the area.

Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, ON
NORMURR at SYMPATICO.CA


TRIPLE BRIDGE AT PORT ROYAL / PORT ROWAN ON A CONCESSION

 To reach the triple bridge area you can drive south on Hwy 6 from Hamilton,
passing through Hagersville and turning right (west) in Jarvis onto Hwy 3,
drive west to Simcoe and turn left (south) on Hwy 24 and follow this to Hwy
59, turn left (south) on Hwy 59 and drive right down about 7 km to A
Concession Road (just before the golf coarse on your right and just south of
the OPP station on your left.

Turn right (west) here and follow the road to Big Creek. You will come to 3
bridges only a couple hundred yards apart.

Or you can drive past A Concession Road to Lakeshore Rd at the putting
coarse. Turn right (west) here and drive past Lee Brown Conservation Area to
the next road which is West 1/4 Line EXT. Turn right (north here and drive
about 2km to A Concession Road. Turn right (east) and drive about 1 km to
the bridges.



LONG POINT & CAUSEWAY MARSH

Long Point is southwest of Hamilton, directly south of Port Rowan. To reach
it you can drive south on Hwy 6 from Hamilton, passing through Hagersville
and turning right, west in Jarvis onto Hwy 3, drive to Simcoe and turn left,
south on Hwy 24 and follow this to Hwy 59, ( it curves to the west south of
town) turn left, south on Hwy 59 and drive right down about 8 km and past
the golf coarse and you will be on the causeway. The causeway mud flats will
be immediately on your right.

There are small parking areas on the north side of the road at the start of
the causeway and at the bridge further along the road.

Be careful of the traffic along this road at all seasons (but especially
during cottage season) as this is a narrow road with narrow shoulders and a
high traffic volume.

Drive a little further on across the bridge and you will see a small parking
area on the right, this the start of the Big Creek Marsh trail and it leads
to a viewing platform.

You can also get to Long Point by driving south from Hwy 403 at Brantford
and driving south down Hwy 24 through Simcoe.

"Norm Murr" <NORMURR at SYMPATICO.CA>



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