[Ontbirds] Loggerhead Shrike and Carden Alvar Birds
jeaniron at sympatico.ca
Fri May 22 20:40:16 EDT 2009
Today I birded the Carden Alvar near Kirkfield. After Pelee in May,
many birders head to Carden for grassland, scrubland and wetland
specialties. I saw and heard many of the regulars today including
Upland Sandpipers in several places. Watch for them in flight when
you hear their curlew-like song. I heard and saw an early Alder
Flycatcher at the Sedge Wren Marsh. Other species easily found were
Brown Thrasher, Vesper Sparrow and Eastern Towhee among many others.
Loggerhead Shrike: Many people have been disappointed this year
because they aren't seeing shrikes at the traditional bluebird box 10
location along Wylie Road. There were a few sightings there in April
and early May, but few or none in recent weeks. This year the shrikes
are well back from the road and generally not visible. As a result,
I'm giving directions to another location where you can see a
Loggerhead Shrike from the road. The location is along McNamee Road
1.3 km east of Shrike Road. Watch for shrikes in the pasture on the
south side of the road just before the gated road going north. This
is typical shrike habitat with cattle and scattered shrubs and
perches. Park safely and scan from the road.
Yellow Rail: I haven't heard of Yellow Rails being heard at the Sedge
Wren Marsh this spring. They usually arrive during the last few days
of April. The water level in the marsh may be too high. Yellow Rails
prefer very shallow water with grasses and sedges. I've checked for
them several evenings since late April and interestingly have
encountered more Soras and Virginia Rails than in most years. Today I
heard Soras giving their whinny song several times in early afternoon.
Sedge Wren: I listened at the marsh for over an hour today without
hearing this species. Normally they're quite vocal when present. A
few should be back by now but this is a late year for some birds.
Everybody is hoping they'll be back soon.
Cuckoos and Eastern Tent Caterpillars: There is a sizable outbreak of
this defoliator with many shrubs having visible tents and larvae. The
hairy caterpillars are eaten Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos
and Baltimore Orioles so there may be increased numbers of cuckoos
and orioles in June.
Carden will be at its best over the next 4-5 weeks. You can print
route directions, including the best spots to see birds, from the
link below. From the opening page, click on the two icons to print
the birding site guide and a full page route map.
Minden and Toronto ON
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