[Ontbirds] Carden Alvar visit yesterday - Clay-colored Sparrow, Golden-winged Warbler, etc.

Norman Murr normurr at sympatico.ca
Fri May 22 08:06:10 EDT 2009

Good Morning

 Yesterday Ian Cannell took Peter Beesley and me up to bird the Carden Alvar area and during a nice warmish day we had some nice birds. 

PS - Peter Beesley is the English friend of Ian's who was with us on Wednesday when Ian found the Kirtland's Warbler, I had omitted his last name in my post.

 At Carden besides the common E. Kingbirds, Bobolinks, and E. Meadowlarks we found Common Loon, American Bitterns, TV's, Broad-winged Hawk, N. Harriers, Ospreys ( including nests ), Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey ( on the way home ), Virgina Rails, Soras, Common Moorhen, Sandhill Cranes, A. WoodcockS, Wilson's Snipe ( including 6 to 8 of them perched on fence posts ), Upland Sandpipers, Common Nighthawks, Y-b Sapsuckers, Least and Great Crested Flycatchers, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, Cedar Waxwings, E. Bluebirds, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, House and Winter Wrens, Horned Lark, Purple Finch, Golden-winged, Nashville, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated blue, and  Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ovenbirds, N. Waterthrushes, Swamp, White-throated, Vesper, Grasshopper, Savannah, Chipping, Field, Song and Clay-colored Sparrows, E. Towhees, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and Baltimore Orioles plus the more usual birds up there.

 We also had two very interesting sounds and sights. As soon as I opened the car door and stepped out at the Sedge Wren parking area a very loud growling Black Bear sounded off and again repeated the growl a few minutes later but that does not stop birders :>)). On the way up Wylie Rd north of the Sedge Wren Marsh Peter spotted an animal on the road ahead and after putting our binoculars on it we discovered a Red Fox coming towards us carrying a large Snowshoe Hare ( Varying Hare ) in it's jaws. The Fox came within 50 yards of the car before heading into the brush.


Wylie Road is north of Kirkfield in Victoria County and Kirkfield itself is on County Road 48 east of Highway 12 and well north of Whitby and about 130 km from Toronto if you follow the roads and not a Crow.

>From the centre of Kirkfield go north on County Road 6 passing under the Lift Lock on the Trent Canal and drive about 2 ½ km further north to where the road curves left or west. On this curve and on your right is McNamee Rd, turn right here onto McNamee and drive east for about 300 yards and you will be at Wylie Road. This road is about 9 ½ km long ending at Alvar Rd (a T intersection). Birding can be good on this road as well, either way.

The Sedge Wren Marsh is about 5 ½ km up Wylie Road, you can’t miss it as it has the only bridge along the road. Park just to the south of and overlooking the bridge and walk the road. Birding is good all along the road and I find that the best birding happens when you park and walk both ways a km or two from your auto.

This is a narrow road with little traffic but be sure to park in such a way as to not block the road as you don’t want to rile up the locals. This is all private property but there really is no need to leave the road.

Other roads to check in the area are Shrike, Curl’s, Dalrymple, and Eldon Station Roads.


You may also want to drive down Rockview Rd just west of Kirkfield on your right along County Rd 48. Past the dump road (on your right) you will come to a wet wood lot that straddles the road. This is a great place for N. Waterthrush. We heard and saw 7 there on May 5/01 and May 4/02. Also along here you should find Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrow.

Continue south to Eldon Station Rd (the next road) turn right (west) and drive to Prospect Rd. Turn right (north) and drive up to a large marsh. Here you should find many Marsh Wrens along with Sora and Virginia Rail, A. Bittern and Green Heron and watch for Osprey, N. Harrier and T. Vulture. If you continue north on this road you will come upon another small marsh and pond just short of County Rd 48. Of coarse most of the roads in this and the Wylie Rd area can be very productive and it is not a stretch saying you could spend a whole day in the area, I have.


Wylie Rd south of the Sedge Wren Marsh is good for Upland Sandpiper, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrow and lots of E. Bluebirds. North of the marsh are the same birds and near the north end of the road watch and listen for Purple Finch, Golden-winged Warbler and Clay-colored Sparrow.

Norm Murr
Richmond Hill, ON

"Sils mordent, mords les"

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