2017 was an unprecedented year for them in Ontario, and the southwestern municipalities of Essex, Chatham-Kent and Lambton had the vast majority. Members of the Ontario Field Ornithologists will be aware of the article I wrote in the April, 2018 issue of Ontario Birds discussing the 2017 influx of Dickcissel in Ontario. One of the questions I posed near the end of the article was whether any would return in 2018. The Dickcissel population in the heart of its range had been expanding slowly north and northeast for a few years, and if birds have successfully bred in their newly expanded territory, there would be a good chance they will return the following year. We haven't had the same types of weather yet that 2017 experienced....sustained high winds from the west or southwest.....so any returning birds are likely the result of successful nesting in 2017.
The Dealtown Crown Land prairie (southwest of Blenheim) is another site which had as many as 11 Dickcissels in 2017. I went out a few days ago and came upon at least one and possibly two, males as well as two females. Today some birders went to the site and also saw two males and two females.
On the Monarch theme, a few days ago Marie and I noted a female Monarch busily laying eggs on some of the numerous Common Milkweeds in our yard. I thought they might have hatched by now and did some investigating. Sure enough I found my first Monarch caterpillar of the year.
I was up at the Angler Line area to see if the Cattle Egret and Yellow-headed Blackbirds were still around. They were on private property, but the landowner has graciously told me to come by any time. The Cattle Egret has apparently not been seen for several weeks now, but the Yellow-headed Blackbirds are still around at another feeder. One of these days I hope to get my kayak out to see if they are nesting in the maze of cattail islands about half a kilometre off the end of Angler Line. So although I didn't catch up with my target species, I did have the satisfaction of seeing other things.
Yesterday I was at a meeting at a private property just west of Lighthouse Cove, in Essex County. We did spend a bit of time outside, and saw some interesting critters.
An immature Bald Eagle flew by.
|No more room here!|