[Ontbirds] Long Point to Townsend - Snow Geese, Ross's Geese, etc.
normurr at sympatico.ca
Sat Mar 14 22:32:43 EDT 2009
Today Ian Cannell and I decided on an early in the season trip to Long Point and again we made a wise decision. It will be hard for us to beat some of the personal Southern Ontario Spring records that we set today for ourselves.
At Long Point among the 22 Waterfowl species we did find were a couple of surprises. We had been talking to other birders who told us that they had observed some Snow Geese on the Inner Bay off of Big Creek Marsh and after walking from the observation tower to Big Creek and back without spotting the Geese we decided to head for Old Cut Woods but on the way I suggested we stop at the viewing platform ( beside the marina ) over looking the Inner Bay west of the Big Creek Marsh Platform.
We scoped the 2000 or so Tundra Swans here as well as the thousands of Ducks and as we were about to leave Ian spotted 6 Snow Geese on the ice among the Swans,a nice find. Again we were about to leave as someone asked if these birds coming towards us were Geese or what ? We glassed them and to our delite we counted 46 Snow geese that came in and landed among the first 6. Once again I started to fold my tripod and Ian again spoke up but this time he said - I have a Ross's Goose and so we both looked and discovered that there were not one but two Ross's. Not a bad haul, 52 Snow and 2 Ross's Geese. All the Snow Geese were the white phase.
While watching these birds we also observed a total of 8 Juvenile Bald Eagles Cavorting :>)) over the reeds in front of us. At times all 8 were in view at the same time.
From Here we drove down Hastings Drive where we found a further 2 Juvenile bald Eagles together on the ice.
We birded a couple more areas and then headed for home stopping at the Townsend sewage lagoons. Another good move.
At the lagoons as we approache the southwest cell we put up out binoculars and another shock met us. There among the hundreds of Tundra Swans was a raft of Snow Geese that contained 85 birds, 28 of them bkue phase but that was not the only surprise. With them were3 Ross's Geese. What a nice sight.
We then started back to the car as the sky lit up with a beautiful sunset and with hundreds of Ducks ( Ring-necked Ducks, Pintail Ducks, etc and Tundra Swans ) arriving overhead.
Some of our other high lights of the day if we indeed needed more were:- Wood Ducks, thousands of Canvasbacks, Greater Scaup and Redheads, N. Shovelers, Lesser Scaup, Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Common and Hooded Mergansers, A. Coots, Turkey Vultures, 5 Sandhill Cranes, 13 Killdeer, Rough-legged Hawks, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flickers, many A. Robins, 6 Eastern Bluebirds, Horned Larks, many Pine Siskins and Song Sparrows, thousands of C. Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds as well as numerous Rusty Blackbirds, 2 Eastern Meadowlarks, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.
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 (Long Point Rd). 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.
Note:- Hastings Drive is about 1km past ( West of ) the Inner Bay viewing platform
TOWNSEND SEWAGE LAGOONS
On the way down to Long Point on Hwy 6 you will pass through Hagersville and drive towards Jarvis. Just as you approach the town of Jarvis you will see a sign indicating "TOWNSEND" at Nanticoke Creek Parkway #69. Turn right here and drive to the intersection with the stop signs, turn left on Keith Richardson Parkway and drive past some park ponds on your right. Drive ahead until you see a small children’s shelter (with an air conditioner on it) on your right at County Rd 14. This is just before you reach the abandoned railway line (tracks removed). Turn right here onto County Rd 14. and drive a few hundred yards and you will see a gate and sign indicating that this is a waste treatment area.. Park well to the side of the road, do not block the gate. If the gate is open (they are on some weekends) then do not park directly across from the gate as the larger "Honey Trucks" need the area to swing into and out of the entrance road.
These lagoons are USUALLY only accessible on the weekend or after 6pm during the week.
If asked to leave or not enter then please be respectful and comply as it seems that for now we are being tolerated.
Richmond Hill, ON
"Sils mordent, mords les"
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