At McGeachy Pond I saw my first-of-year (FOY) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher near the west end parking area. These little guys are constantly on the move, often in shrubby places, so are hard to photograph. This male, although very active and getting the occasional spider as shown here, did spend a bit of time in the open for me.
At the Erieau Rail Trail nearby, I heard my FOY Virginia Rail and Sora, but neither of them showed themselves.
The main channel of Erieau had a few individual ducks, but the only thing I photographed was one of about 6 Caspian Terns that flew up from the tip of Rondeau when a Raccoon came along. Forster's Terns were also in the area.
At the Blenheim Sewage Lagoon, there were at least 80 individual shorebirds in the sprinkler cell, but only Dunlin and Pectoral Sandpiper that I could find. There were lots of Ruddy Ducks and Bonaparte's Gulls and a few other ducks....no Eared Grebe yet! I also looked for Lapland Longspurs, which sometimes are around in April and they look very impressive in their breeding plumage. Maybe next visit....
And I got my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the spring, feeding on insects which themselves were feeding on freshly opened flowers of a Silver Maple tree.
The Marsh Road looked inviting, but there is still quite a bit of snow in several places at the north end. The first couple of hundred metres or so aren't too bad, but farther along, there must be at least 3 feet or more of snow in drifts on the trail. Maybe next time.....
The Spicebush Trail was my next stop. Rusty Blackbirds, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Wood Frogs and Leopard Frogs were all seen or heard. The sapsucker shown below doesn't have its red crown, so must be a moulting young bird.
A walk along the Tuliptree Trail followed, where I was hoping that some of the sheltered sloughs there would have insect and bird activity....maybe even a Louisiana Waterthrush! There were only a couple of people that came by during the hour or more that I spent along the trail, and although one could still hear the sound of the waves in the distance along the southeast beach area, it was very still along the trail.
There were lots of Rusty Blackbirds, probably at least 30 in all, but they were spread out and moving around, so it was difficult to get a good count. They disperse readily when people are in sight, so I sat in a less conspicuous part of the boardwalk bench and waited for them to return, which some of them did, giving me some distant shots.
|Female Rusty Blackbird|
|Male Rusty Blackbird|
In the later afternoon, the light at the Visitor Center feeders is best, so I checked them out. The new pond is fully functioning, so hopefully it will be a lure for birds, even though there is currently lots of water in forest pools. American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos were all plentiful, along with a few Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches and Red-winged Blackbirds among others.
Common Grackles are, well, common. At least a lot more now than they have been for awhile. I always find their intensive stares, when looking head-on, fascinating.
As much as I enjoyed this outing....I'm already looking forward to 'next time'!