On June 18th, 16 participants joined Jennifer Nantais and me for the Pride Bird Walk at Ojibway Park in Windsor. The outing was in partnership w/ the Essex County Field Naturalists' Club and was the second Pride Bird Walk offered by OFO after the outing led by Maxwell Matchim and John Nishikawa at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto. The walk provided an opportunity to learn about breeding birds and enjoy nature w/ members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and friends. Everyone had a great time and several participants said it was the first time they had gone birding. The walk included Ojibway Park in the morning and the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve in the afternoon.
The weather was utterly fantastic. After a week of blistering heat, things cooled off for the weekend and we had temperatures in the mid-70's for the day as well as a refreshing breeze. The wind and cool temperatures kept bugs low and it felt great to be able to wear a light jacket comfortably.
We ended up w/ 40 species of birds for the day and witnessed breeding evidence for many species. One of the first birds we saw was also one of our highlights of the day; a Yellow-billed Cuckoo perched right out in the open beside the parking lot. This was a lifer for many in the group and as one participant quipped, "It's almost like you placed it there just for this walk." Not long onto the main trail of Ojibway Park, we encountered another highlight, a singing male Scarlet Tanager. This, too, was a new bird for many. Other woodland species of interest included Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Towhee, Baltimore Oriole, and Indigo Bunting. We also heard several American Redstarts and eventually saw a female. Ojibway Park is a site that many birders visit in Essex County to reliably see Tufted Titmouse and it did not disappoint for this trip. A few members of the group were fortunate to witness an adult titmouse feeding recently fledged young.
In the afternoon, a few keen participants continued w/ me to the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve. The habitat here is long grass prairie and provided an opportunity to add a few species we didn't encounter in the forest including American Goldfinch, Field Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, and Common Yellowthroat. We also picked up several swallow species and Chimney Swift feeding over the prairie, and observed a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Thank you to members of OFO and ECFNC who helped make this Pride Bird Walk possible and special thanks to Jennifer Nantais for helping lead the event.