[Ontbirds] OFO Carden Trip

Dan Bone dan.bone at xplornet.com
Mon Jun 15 07:49:32 EDT 2009

(Apologies for the late posting. My internet service was down last night)

More than 40 Ontario Field Ornithologist members, some from as far afield as Ottawa and Woodstock, birded the Carden Area today in hot (for this year), sunny weather . Despite a relatively late start at 9 a.m. we recorded 75 species including most of the must-have birds. We had decent views of Eastern Loggerhead Shrike through scopes; some good chances at Sedge Wren and Wilson's Snipe and excellent views of Grasshopper Sparrow. We only heard Upland Sandpiper in the morning but we did much better on a return trip later ( see below). We had Field Sparrow; some of us heard Vesper Sparrow but no one heard or saw a Clay-coloured Sparrow despite much effort. Eastern Towhees were calling all around us but we could only glimpse them.

After Wylie Road and lunch at the Kirkfield Locks we went north again to the Cameron Ranch to check out the new parking lot and trail. The ranch was very quiet although a distant shrike and half a Raven were spotted. We heard Sandhill Crane. We didn't have time to walk the trail- that could be a trip all by itself. Driving south to Prospect Marsh by way of Canal Lake we saw Osprey on the nest and gundog retriever trials in the small, posted wetland just south of County Road 48. Pity the poor, nesting Pied-bill Grebes. We parked in the new Prospect Marsh parking lot, a long walk from the bridge, but were rewarded with "crippling" views of a family of Virginia Rails and a very cooperative American Redstart singing and posing out in the open over the road as we made our way to the main marsh. The new parking lot could accommodate only some of our 12 cars

At the main marsh we saw a male Northern Harrier delivering food to what we assumed to be a nest out and down in the far reaches of the marsh. Most of us saw and heard Marsh Wrens; an American Bittern gave us a grand fly-by and we heard Sora and Moor Hen, two of which were seen briefly flying above the cattails ( by a lucky few). Speaking of luck, while a birder from another party was playing a recording of Least Bittern and while all eyes and ears strained in that direction a real Least Bittern flew from the marsh further up and crossed the road behind us. It was seen by only two members of our party who happened to be looking at a beaver (or something). Some of us think the Prospect birds are on to us with all our electronic gadgets that play the same bird from Louisiana singing the same song over and over.

At 3 p.m. most of our group said good-bye but some 10 or 12 die-hards agreed to return to Wylie Road to get better views of Upland Sandpiper and Golden-winged Warbler and to try again for the elusive Clay-coloured Sparrow. They were amply rewarded even though the sparrow did not show. We had excellent views of a Blue-winged Warbler and a Golden-winged Warbler plus glimpses of a Chestnut-sided Warbler and heard-only Nashville Warbler and Ovenbird. We saw 6 or seven Upland Sandpipers, some very close on posts, and someone reported the other half of the Raven.

Other good birds: Swamp Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting and Purple Finch.

Thanks to David Milsom and Eleanor Beagan who had my back the whole trip long and that fellow from Toronto whom I hope to meet again and who helped me keep the tally properly updated.

I love my new OFO hat. Thanks Wendy.

Dan Bone

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