[Ontbirds] York Region - Tundra Swans, Fox Sparrows, E. Bluebird, etc.

RON FLEMING flemingron at rogers.com
Sun Apr 10 12:37:56 EDT 2005

There are still some waterfowl lingering in the flooded fields at the north end of Bathurst near Newmarket, though not nearly as many as last weekend and through the week. Yesterday morning Keith Dunn, Kevin Shackleton and I had 5 TUNDRA SWANS, 200 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 200 PINTAIL (down from a peak of over 400 earlier in the week), 50 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, a dozen AMERICAN WIGEON, six REDHEAD, two male NORTHERN SHOVELER, a pair of WOOD DUCKS, our first TREE SWALLOWS of the spring, and a pair of local NORTHERN HARRIERS.  The heronry visible from this area does not seem to be in use this year.  An active heronry near Schomberg (reported here earlier in the week by Jane Kirkpatrick) was checked out by Garth Baker and Sue Stam yesterday morning - they observed several GB Herons and a passing SANDHILL CRANE, among other birds.  Garth also had a lingering GREAT GRAY OWL along the 5th concession, (which runs east-west) on the east side of Hwy. 400 just south of Innisfil early yesterday.  (This
 is further north, in Simcoe country.)
Today while mountain biking and birding along Bathurst north of Green Lane in Newmarket, Mike Van den Tillaart and I had, among other birds, a flock of 12 FOX SPARROWS, two WINTER WRENS, a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, several EASTERN PHOEBES and three GREAT BLUE HERONS flying over.  (Those of you with concerns about trails being damaged can rest assured that we left our bikes hidden by the roadside and did not ride them along the muddy and vulnerable trails.) 
Nearby, on Old Bathurst Street in southwest Newmarket, Eleanor Thompson today had an EASTERN BLUEBIRD, one of the first of the spring for York region. 
Ron Fleming, Newmarket
 Newmarket is directly north of Toronto, halfway between that metropolis and Barrie, between the North-south lines of Hwys. 404 and 400.  The section of Bathurst Street described above is actually on the western edge of Holland Landing and the eastern edge of Bradford.  It is accessible by turning north from Yonge Street on the stretch of road that runs north out of Newmarket toward Bradford.  There is a stoplight that indicates Bathurst Street north.  As soon as you turn at the light, Bathurst takes a quick jog left (west) then crosses the railway tracks and straightens out northward.  By driving past Queensville Sdrd. and past the Albert's Marina Road (which is across from the aforementioned Hochreiter Road), you can easily see the flooded fields on the west side of the road.  A scope definitely helps for identifying the sometimes distant waterfowl.  These flooded fields are can be very good for observing waterfowl during spring migration, but, with the past few days of good flying
 weather, don't be surprised if a lot of birds have left for points north.
Hochreiter Road can be a bit dicey to drive on during bad weather conditions; it is a single lane and you can only turn around when you get to the house at the far end of it, which is a good km or more down the road.

As per Jane Kirkpatrick's directions, "the heronry west of Schomberg is reached by going west on Hwy 9 from hwy 27 to the 11th concession of King Township. Turn left ( south ). Drive about 2 -3 k to just north of the 17th sideroad. House # 1565 is on the right. Across the road is the heronry."

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