Annual Duck Rally next week.

Pair of Redhead in St Thomas.

Pair of Redhead in St Thomas.

The annual Duck Rally is next Saturday, March 19th starting at Aylmer WMA at 8 am. You can call the Tundra Swan Line at 519-773-7926 for daily count of Tundra Swans. Three days with over 2000 swans have already been reported this month. We will then visit the Aylmer Lagoons around 8:45 am. Stop for coffee at Tim Horton’s in St Thomas at Talbot and Manor Road at 10 am. Click here for rest of itinerary.
The weather is quite mild and many birds are showing up earlier this year. Currently there have been 20 species of ducks seen in Elgin County since the beginning of the year. Should be a great day. If any questions please call Al Hurst 519-633-4235. Hope to see you there.

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Bob Hubert received 2015 Senior Achievement Award

Bob checking one of his many wood duck boxes.

Bob checking one of his many wood duck boxes.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario presented Bob the award in recognition of more than 50 years of service banding birds. He has constructed more than 100 wood duck nesting boxes and continues to maintain the boxes and band wood ducks. Bob also bands hawks and can be found at his banding station from early fall to early winter. Congratulation Bob for all your dedication to our natural environment.

Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 12-15th

GBBC-Poster

It is that time of year to participate in the GBBC again. For new people or as a refresher go to
instructions (4 pages). You may need to set up a new account or you can use your credentials from last year. This year eBird is tied into the GBBC so you can also use My eBird to enter the sightings. All eBird checklists submitted during GBBC weekend will count. If you travelled more than 8 kilometers, please submit your observations as separate checklists. If you participate and email me a copy of your checklists I will compile them and send to Diana for inclusion in the August newsletter. If any questions contact me and I will do my best to answer.
Best of luck birding
Al Sharpe
226-271-7018
asharpe@distributel.net

Duck Rally 2015

Pair of blue-morph snow geese at Aylmer WMA

Pair of blue-morph snow geese at Aylmer WMA

We started at 8am at Aylmer Wildlife and were met with mostly frozen water. Bright sunshine but very cold -11 with a brisk north wind. The day did warm to about -2, no mud or wet feet and the sun was nice as long as you were out of the wind. We picked up tundra swans, Canada goose, cackling goose, Ross’s goose, mallards, some blackbirds and a couple of sparrows. Ann Vance came after the group had left and added 2 snow geese (dark morph) and a bald eagle. At the Aylmer Lagoons the 1st pond was open but empty, the 2nd pond was partially open and we added bufflehead ducks and a ring-billed gull the 3rd and 4th ponds were frozen and the wind was very cold so we opted for an early stop at Tim’s.
Lake Margaret pond was of course frozen but we did find 4 woodpecker species and pine siskins in the woods including good looks at a pileated woodpecker working on ash trees. Corner’s Corners pond was frozen but we saw ring-necked duck and hooded mergansers and a mink running on the ice.
Sixteen people joined us for lunch at the Buccaneer in Port Stanley. West side of the harbour had some open water but no birds, not even gulls flying. The Port Stanley lagoons and Fingal Wildlife pond were still frozen so we finished the day at the Fingal Wildlife feeders. We added a few birds to the list including a male purple finch, white-throated sparrow and red-breasted nuthatch.
Al Sharpe and Jackie Rochefort called later in the day after a stop at Saunders Pond area near Union and added kingfisher, great blue heron, wood ducks, bluebirds and wild turkey.
Overall despite the lack of open water and cold wind we still had a great day. A total of 19 people joined us for all or part of the day and with the call in birds a total of 48 species were recorded.
Canada goose, cackling goose (split from Canada Goose in 2004), snow goose, Ross’s goose, tundra swan, mallard duck, black duck, ring-necked duck, wood duck, hooded merganser, ring-billed gull, great blue heron, wild turkey, turkey vulture, cooper’s hawk, red-tailed hawk, downy – hairy – red-bellied – pileated woodpeckers, flicker, red and white-breasted nuthatch, mourning dove, rock pigeon, crow, blue jay, cardinal, red-winged blackbird, grackle, cowbird, starling, robin, horned lark, tree – song – white-throated – house sparrow, house – purple finch, chickadee, killdeer, bald eagle
Thanks to all who came out and hopefully next year will be warmer with more open water.

Al and Eva Hurst

TTLT winter walk around Lusty Family Tract

View of Lusty Family Tract

The Thames Talbot Land Trust will be having a winter walking tour on February 1st at 1 pm to show off this new purchase opportunity. The property is 1 kilometre east of Tanager tract on Queens Line. It is 53 acres of Carolinian swamp forest, which would be great to walk in the cold winter. The Thames Talbot Land Trust currently owns 12 properties. As a side note the Lawrence Station breakfast is on that Sunday, a great way to start the drive to Lusty family tract walkabout.

Grade 5 and 6 students enjoy hawks at the cliff

Our Lady of Lourdes students enjoying the close up of red-tailed hawk.

Our Lady of Lourdes students enjoying the close up of red-tailed hawk.

Al is explaining the hawk migration to the students from Our Lady of Lourdes school in Delaware. They got to see first year sharp-shinned, coopers and a red-tailed hawk. The students were attentative and really enjoyed seeing the birds up close. Thanks to Russ, Al, Bob and Jim members of the Hawk Cliff raptor banders for capturing the hawks for the presentation.

The students giving a big thank you to Al for the great presentation.

The students giving a big thank you to Al for the great presentation.