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BFNC Trip Report - Spring Birds in Minesing Floodlands

Spring Birds in Minesing Floodlands
Brereton Field Naturalists’ Club Field Trip Report
Trip Leader – Chris Evans 705-722-1136
5 hours meeting Apr 1, 2017 @ 7:45 AM, departing LLPpl @ 8:15 and returning @ 1:20 PM

Thank you to all who came out and made this trip fun and interesting, despite the fact that the "Floodlands" weren't very flooded! Special thanks to:
• Ruth Noland-Flores, my beautiful assistant and driver,
• Brian Backland, who did a great job as sweep for our caravan and website and email communications
• Paul Forde, for fabulous promotion and checking the meeting spots for second wave participants

I learn so much every time I lead this trip. It is wonderful to connect with so many people interested in our natural and cultural history. We had a peak of 35 people and 19 vehicles. Those starting at Little Lake Park clocked over 80 km round trip in just over 5 hours. Thank you to all who carpooled, conserving fossil fuel and minimizing our carbon footprint. As a reminder to carpool passengers, at a modest $0.50 /km, this trip cost your driver approximately $40 in vehicle expenses. The offer of an appropriate portion of this expense to the driver is a considerate and gracious thing to do.

We set off at 8:15 AM, 21 people in 8 vehicles, from as far as Toronto, Mississauga and Orillia, bound for McKinnon Road, our second meeting place. Along the way some of us saw a Belted Kingfisher S of CR90 at the 8th line of Essa.

The sun shone upon us, though the early morning cold 0 degrees C north wind greeting us at McKinnon Road @ 8:40 AM was challenging for some. Here we were joined by 14 more people in 11 cars from places like Stayner, Horseshoe Valley, New Lowell, Creemore and the hills of Mulmur. A 2nd year Bald Eagle did some low fly-overs and an aristocratic flock of Northern Pintails gave us some good views on the ground and in the air. A few distant Rusty Blackbirds added to our species diversity. There was comparatively little flooding despite the fact that the 2nd concession was flooded over. It appeared that the early spring had invited the throngs of waterfowl further north, leaving far fewer numbers and species than usual. Ervin’s feeders were not terribly productive, either. However, a fortunate few were treated to the sweet song of a Brown Creeper. Further grace lifted us all as bugling from two pair of Sandhill Cranes filled our ears and we observed them against blue sky and white clouds. The Bald Eagle gave us another fly over and we left McKinnon Road to warm up at Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s in Angus around 10:00 AM. This was a little later than planned and a busy time, but an essential stop.

Hannah and her sister had a close encounter and fortunate near miss with a Wild Turkey crossing CR10 on the way to the 6th Concession Sunnidale. Nothing of note along the 6th, but at the east end we did observe a flock of Canada Geese, a distant Red-tailed Hawk and even more distant juvenile Bald Eagle soaring above the eagle nest, which we presumed to be the same eagle we saw on McKinnon Road. We took the time to survey the wetlands as I pointed out and described the geographical features and some of the natural, geological and cultural history of the place.

Moving north on 15/16 Sdrd, east on the 7th Conc. and north again on 18/19 Sdrd we stopped to find about 36 Sandhill Cranes foraging over a km away in the barely flooded fields. In the same vicinity, a Rough-legged Hawk was observed kiting and hovering in typical Roughy fashion as befits their summer tundra hunting style. Some observers were treated to the tinkling calls and surging flight of a few Horned Larks. Sherman captured a distant Common Raven on his camera. Strongville Road yielded some good views of an American Kestrel for a few people. Highway 26 gave some drive by looks at a Red-tailed Hawk on a hydro wire at Edenvale. The only action apparent on the Notty was a flock of about 50 gulls on the bank on the NE side. Glengarry Landing Road South halfway to Marl Creek sprung a pair of American Kestrels. Another American Kestrel showed very well on Ronald Road a Fralick Road.

Another welcome bio break and refreshment stop at Four Cedars Café and Convenience in Minesing around noon. We saddled up and loped on down to the NVCA Willow Creek Canoe Corral for some good looks at Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls in their crisp breeding plumage finery. We basked gratefully in the sun, the temperature now balmy 8 degrees C! Woohoo! A pair of Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) signaled our departure as a Turkey Vulture waved us off, back to our meeting places. We were safe and sound back at Little Lake at 1:20 PM.

I didn’t diligently record every individual of a species, but I tried to record all of the species encountered.

Checklist of Birds:
Canada Goose x72
Swan sp. x10
American Black Duck x1
Mallard x31
Northern Pintail x50
Bufflehead x1
Wild Turkey x1
Rock Pigeon x2
Mourning Dove x2
Sandhill Crane x40
Killdeer x4
Herring Gull x5
Ring-billed Gull x50
Turkey Vulture x4
Bald Eagle x1, 2nd year
Red-tailed Hawk x2
Rough-legged Hawk x1
Belted Kingfisher x1
Downy Woodpecker x1
Pileated Woodpecker x2
American Kestrel x4
Eastern Phoebe x1
Blue Jay x1
American Crow x10
Common Raven x1
Horned Lark x1
Black-capped Chickadee x1
Brown Creeper x1
American Robin x5
European Starling x1
House Sparrow x1
American Goldfinch x1
Song Sparrow x1
Northern Cardinal x1
Red-winged Blackbird x2
Rusty Blackbird x3
Common Grackle x1

For a Google Map of our route and sightings, please follow this link…

Google Map of route and sightings


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