[Ontbirds] 98 Great Egrets at the Luther Marsh roost - Grand Valley

Weseloh,Chip [Ontario] Chip.Weseloh at ec.gc.ca
Thu Jul 25 10:34:32 EDT 2013

This morning at 5:30, about a half hour before sunrise, Linda McLaren, John Brett and I were at the South Monticello Pond of the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area, north and west of Grand Valley, to observe and census the Great Egrets dispersing out from their overnight roost. From our observation post, about 200 m east of the roost, we could count  at least 91 egrets peacefully and inactively standing, at water level, in the dead shrub/tree roost in the middle of the pond.

Just before 6:00 AM, several of the egrets began to stir.....preening, walking about and engaging in some wing-flapping. Over the next 20 minutes, we counted 94 egrets fly from the roost....about half going to the north and half to the south. Many settled within 100-150m of the roost to forage. We left shortly thereafter with 4 birds still in the roost proper.....perhaps they were sleeping in a bit !!

Ontbirders are reminded to be on the lookout for egret roosts. We have been trying to locate roosts and track their activity for the last 3-4 years. In late July, adults and young-of-the-year will be leaving their breeding and natal colonies as they begin their dispersal and eventual migration from southern Ontario. I have received reports that egret roosts at Cornwall, Holiday Beach Conservation Area, Demorestville, Ottawa/Gatineau and the mouth of the Rouge River are already active. If any volunteers would like to become involved in tracking egret roosts this summer-autumn, please drop me an email personally at my return address.

They are also reminded that there is a daily user fee at Luther Marsh which is available to their Main Kiosk.


Directions: From Grand Valley, west of Orangeville, go north on Hwy 25, turn left at the sign for Luther marsh, follow that road until you must turn right (Sideroad 21-22), follow that road and go past the Main Entrance (on your left) to Luther Marsh. Continue north over a small concrete bridge. About  ½ km beyond the bridge is a small but well-marked field (gated) road on your left. You can park alongside the road there and follow a rough trail down the well-marked road that will lead to a berm that goes between the North and South Ponds of the Monticello complex. 




Chip Weseloh

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