Tag Archives: Aylmer WMA

Duck Rally 2016

Pied-billed Grebe
We scheduled one week earlier this year to avoid Easter and were blessed with good weather. We started at 8 am at Aylmer WMA with clear skies, north winds of about 15 km/h and temperature of -five. It did warm up to just above zero so the weather was pretty mild with no mud. There was still some ice on the pond but mostly open water. No ice at the rest of the stops. Highlights here were the Tundra Swans, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Bluebird.
At the Aylmer lagoons we saw several duck species including an Eurasian Wigeon. There was some discussion as the bird’s head was lighter and more tan than others I had seen before. It may have been a hybrid or just the way the sun was hitting it across the pond. Another highlight here was Dave d’Entremont sighting of a Rusty Blackbird. He first identified it by sound then we had a good look at it through the scope.
A few people took a detour on the way to coffee to get the Red-headed Woodpecker on Helkaa Line just west of Springwater Road. Our stop at Lake Margaret added both Pied-billed and Horned Grebes.  At Corner’s Corner we added Belted Kingfisher and Wood Duck.
Lunch was once again at the Buccaneer in Port Stanley and even though there were 26 of us, service was fast and tasty. Due to construction at harbour in Port we went on to the Port Stanley lagoons where we picked up several duck species, Cooper’s Hawk and Tufted Titmouse calling from the woods.
On to the Fingal WMA for a stop at the feeders. We found several feeder birds including Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. As the group broke up some travelled back to St Thomas with a stop at the heronry at Bush Line and Mill Road. We had several good views of Great Blue Herons, especially as a Red-tailed Hawk lazily harassed them and they had to keep jumping off their nests. Overall we had 28 people join us for all or part of the day. Gord Longhurst helped compile the list of birds. A total of 57 species were seen.

Thanks to all
Al Hurst
List of birds seen on STFN 2016 Duck Rally.

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.

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