It’s been a hectic month plus since the end of migration monitoring at Ruthven. But I’ve been on the move not wanting any grass to grow….
I was feeling pretty despondent at the beginning of June watching hay fields being cut well before any grassland birds could have fledged (in fact, given the cool, wet Spring I think most species would have been sitting just on eggs) and cycling past thousands of acres of “dead” fields waiting to be planted with GM corn and/or soya beans. So, as a pick-me-up, Marg and I went up to Lion’s Head on the Bruce Peninsula to spend a couple of days with Erich and Rita Bauer. Erich is not only a “bird guy” but is expert at identifying flowers and ferns – I always learn something new when I’m out with him. And Rita is the best photographer I know – and this says a lot considering the absolutely marvellous photos that so many of you have sent my way for use on the blog.
We spent two days driving past thousands of acres of rich grasslands looking for birds, exploring forests for orchids and ferns, and checking out shorelines for whatever we could find. I saw more Bobolinks in those 2 days than I’ve seen down here in the past 10 years (a bit of an exaggeration perhaps but not by much). The road that leads into Dyer’s Bay from Highway 6 is amazing. We were cruising along it checking out Bobolinks and Sandhill Cranes and looking for an elusive American Bittern when we noticed a bird singing like crazy on the telephone lines – not one that was readily familiar. We stopped and got out of the car to take a look and discovered a Dickcissel!! When we first stopped there were NO cars around at all. But within minutes there were half a dozen other birders looking at it as well. Evidently this bird’s presence had been “announced” on OntBirds and everyone and his mother was out looking for it…..we had found it be chance.
Bruce Peninsula Photos by Rita Bauer:
Marg and I spent the last week of June at our cabin on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. My first job there was to replace some errant shingles that had blown off during the winter’s storms. Roofing….one of the few things I can do….sadly.
Once that was done I opened mist nets in the 3 net lanes that I’ve cut into the boreal forest that surrounds the cabin. The first bird I caught was a male Black-throated Green Warbler that I had banded in June, 2015! Shortly after that I got a male Black and White Warbler banded in August, 2015. I banded 11 birds including a Northern Parula, another common breeding bird in the area but a rare treat at Ruthven.
Grand Manan Photos:
Since then I have spent a couple of days at Ruthven. Amazing how quickly things move! In the past 2 days I’ve seen adult Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles feeding fledged young – just the tip of the iceberg! And two days ago Nancy and I banded the first 6 young Purple Martins of the year – so our colony, that was so hard hit by a predator last year, seems to be on the mend. (There are 2 other active nests. Interestingly, all the nests are in the gourd complex.)