[Ontbirds]Bitterns and Moorhens - Newmarket area

RON FLEMING flemingron at rogers.com
Sat Jun 23 17:00:26 EDT 2007

After running an errand to Bradford this afternoon, I made a quick detour on my way back to Newmarket, turning north from Yonge Street onto Bathurst Street in order to check Hochreiter Road for birds.  To my relief, I found the usually lunar landscape of Hochreiter freshly graded and easily driveable, making a trip to its western end downright comfy.  I did not get the Least Bittern I was looking for there, but I did squeeze in some pleasant "drive-thru" birding as I slowly drove along: Firstly, right beside the road on the south side, was a family of 11 Common Moorhens (male, female, and 9 offspring), then I flushed an American Bittern only moments later.  Marsh Wrens were singing in two places and I heard a Virginia Rail calling from the bullrushes.  Added to this was the sweet song of a White-throated Sparrow emanating from the swampy woodlot east of the rushes.
  Cruelly, this single lane road with very good marsh habitat (and excellent flooded fields for waterfowl in spring) will be seriously impacted - if not totally bulldozed - by the four-lane "Bradford Bypass" slated for construction in 2012.  This "connector" will link Hwys. 400 and 404.  Any millionaire naturalists out there interested in buying some ecologically sensitive land before its too late?
  Ron Fleming, Newmarket
  Newmarket is halfway between Toronto and Barrie.  Hochreiter Road runs west from Bathurst Street (the north part of Bathurst beyond Queensville Sdrd., I should point out).

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