Here's an update on recent activity. The birds arrived right on schedule
but the landscape is different from what they normally see in the early
days. There are large areas of open water and little shore ice over long
stretches, limiting shoreline resting out of the water. The fields to the
north are virtually devoid of snow so all corn stubble is exposed. That
means they can go wherever they want for a meal which makes it more
challenging to find the flocks. There is nothing for them to eat on the St.
Lawrence but they return there when not feeding until other water areas
open up. The floodplains at Riceville and Navan can house birds at night. I
just watched two flocks under the light of the moon heading over Cornwall
to the river for the night.
There are multiple places to check.
RIVER RUN: Coming from the west, head east from Cardinal on cty Rd #2.
There may be birds about 2 km outside town. Next stop is the waterfront at
Iroquois, then just east of Iroquois take a right at Saver Rd, go to the
river and turn left and right.
Return to Cty Rd 2 and head east a short distance to Lakeshore Dr. Follow
that all the way to Morrisburg.
The next stop is all the way to Long Sault so the 401 will be quickest.
Check there and if none return to the 401 and head east. Exit and head
south to the river in case birds can be seen there. They have a pier
accessed from the last street in South Lancaster. Return back to the
McDonald's and head east on South Service Rd for 5 km to Westley Point. If
there are no birds there, start heading north OVER the 401 and work the
back roads. Continue on that road to the end, turn left and follow the road
north and check all of the concessions along the way up to Concession 4 or
so. If you are done by that point, head east along a concession until you
hit Cty Rd 34 and return south to Lancaster and the 401.
EAST OF OTTAWA: Fields and the floodplain between Milton Rd and Frank Kenny
Rd in Navan should be checked now. It is early but flocks may have reached
there already. The floodplain along Cty Rd #9 in Riceville north of St.
Isidore has birds now.
There are many other spots to check including fields west of Winchester,
the South Nation River area east of Chesterville, fields east of Casselman
especially south of the 417 and west of Hwy 138 and Green Valley along Cty
Rd 34. There's lots of potential spots with birds moving widely. It is rare
that they have such wide open access this early in the season so finding
some at least should be good starting now.