OFO’s 29th annual field trip to the Carden Alvar was on Sunday, 29 May 2022. Our group tallied 89 species by walking Wylie Road in the morning and visiting other birding sites in the afternoon. We saw many of Carden‘s specialty birds including great views of Wilson’s Snipe on a fence post and several displaying overhead, Common Nighthawk flying during the day, Golden-winged Warbler, Upland Sandpiper, Grasshopper, Vesper and Clay-colored Sparrows, and Loggerhead Shrike. We also found Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher, Alder Flycatcher, Least Bittern, Black-billed Cuckoo, and many Marsh Wrens but no Sedge Wrens, which were absent even at Sedge Wren Marsh. Our day started with hearing and seeing 2 Pileated Woodpeckers, OFO’s logo bird, and later seeing another fly over Sedge Wren Marsh. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker tapping loudly on a Wylie Road fence post was a delight.
Thirty years ago in 1992, Ron Pittaway led the first OFO trip to the Carden Alvar. Since then, we have come a long way in conservation. A large portion of the Alvar is now protected in Carden Alvar Provincial Park (includes Windmill and Cameron Ranches) and other protected properties owned by Couchiching Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Many thanks to co-leaders Ron Tozer, Eric Baldo, Dawn Sherman and Laura Tozer for making this a most memorable trip. Thank you to those who also willingly shared their scopes, spotted and helped everyone to hear, see and enjoy the birds. What a great team! Our day was super.