[Ontbirds]York Region Birds

Ronald J. Fleming "ronaldj..fleming" at sympatico.ca
Tue Jul 13 09:00:33 EDT 2004


There is justifiable concern during breeding season to keep disturbances

to a minimum.  Many birders do no post their sightings as a result.
Respect
for birds and landowners is essential at any time of the year, but
during
nesting season this is especially the case. Trusting that birders will
use
sound judgement, here are a few birding notes from just north of
Toronto.

Atlassing in York Region over the last few weeks has yielded some
interesting birds, at least by local standards.  In the scrubby fields
southeast of Hwy. 48 and Bloomington Road there are, among numerous
other field species, at least two CLAY-COLOURED SPARROWS.  Please
note, however, that this is private property, so you have to listen for
them
from Bloomington Road, which is difficult to do if you get there after
the
morning traffic starts up.  At the best of times, you are more likely to
hear
than see them.

Just south of Musselman’s Lake on Ninth Line there is a good little pond
on
the west side of the road.  There are currently two families of
PIED-BILLED
GREBES, a pair of MARSH WRENS (again, more often heard than seen) and
a family of WOOD DUCKS in this pond.  An OSPREY can often be seen in
this area as well, though where it is nesting I have yet to discover.
The grebes and ducks
birds are usually easy to see from the roadside, especially by scoping
the
shoreline and having some patience.

A pair of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS can be heard and sometimes seen in
the open field just west of where St. John’s Sideroad comes to a T-stop
at
McCowan Road (a few kms. north of the Aurora Road and west of Hwy.
48).  Again, this is roadside birding since the field is fenced off and
privately owned.

A few kms. south of this intersection, sitting on the east side of
McCowan, is
the Hall Tract, a good section of regional forest that hosts an elusive
(but
definitely present) RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, numerous INDIGO BUNTINGS,
at least two pairs of SCARLET TANAGERS, and several nesting species of
warblers including the ubiquitous OVENBIRD, plus PINE, BLACKBURNIAN,
CHESTNUT-SIDED,  and MOURNING WARBLER.  A small amount of pishing
usually brings a sentinel to the gates.

Perhaps the best spot to observe the latter species of warbler is in the

Dainty Tract, which is on the southwest side of McCowan and Aurora
Roads.  The middle east-west trail is best, but be forewarned: poison
ivy and mosquitos are abundant.

Further south on McCowan Road, between Vandorf and Bloomington
Roads, there is a marshy area that can be very good for GREEN HERON.
South of Bloomington is the hamlet of Lemonville, which has several
roadside ponds.  The one on the southwest corner of McCowan and
Bethesda Roads has been visited on several occasions by an adult
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON that seems to favour the southern
perimeter of the pond.

All of the areas described here are on the east side of Hwy. 404,
basically
north of Markham (which is, in turn, north of Toronto).

Ron Fleming, Newmarket



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