Fortunately the St. Clair NWA CBC falls within the survey period, so those waterfowl results can be used for the waterfowl survey.....it would be difficult to duplicate the survey effort again. The SCNWA CBC waterfowl results are almost always impressive. This year was fairly normal. We totalled 25983 individuals of 22 species. The year 2007 was memorable, and our best single CBC when we tallied almost 96000 individuals of 28 species.
|Redhead and scaup|
This past weekend was the time I set aside to do my waterfowl survey route. What a difference a few days of cold weather makes with strong northerly winds! The southern shore of Lake St. Clair, once you get west of the mouth of the Thames River, is not prime for waterfowl. Wetlands are almost non-existent and the waterfront is largely built up. Nonetheless there are sometimes small numbers of waterfowl to add to the overall survey.
Not so in 2017. This is what Lake St. Clair looked like from the mouth of the Thames.
This next photo was taken from the Belle River marina, looking west towards Windsor. Not a speck of open water in sight.
One of the things I did notice were several large plumes of smoke coming from the north end of the lake. These would be the marsh fires that occur almost annually at Walpole Island, where people are burning dead Phragmites which had been sprayed late in 2016, or they were clearing the cattails so they could trap muskrats. Fire has been going on there for centuries.
Having abandoned this part of my route, I returned to Chatham to check a portion of the Thames River where the warm water outlet is. As expected there was a bunch of ducks, mostly Mallards of course, with a small number of Am Black Ducks, but there is often a few others. This time it included Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser.
|Am Black Duck and Mallard|
|Female Hooded Merganser|
Yesterday I decided to go to Erieau, as I hadn't been there for several days, and with the ice build-up along the lake shore, some open water right at Erieau would likely have a few species of waterbirds there.
There were 17 species of waterbirds, not including gulls! Things like Tundra Swan, Ring-necked Duck, both scaup, Canvasback, etc., etc. Not all were in decent photo range, however. I was hoping that the Harlequin Duck might be there, but not that I saw. It has been missing in action for awhile now.
I also swung by Stefina Line, where there is a sizable pasture that is sometimes grazed, sometimes not. When it isn't grazed it sometimes attracts Short-eared Owls, but I haven't seen any reports of them there this year. One thing that is there all the time is a medium sized drainage ditch that has lots of low vegetation in it. Most winters it has some open water, and also a Wilson's Snipe hanging out. This is what it looks like from the road....there is a WISN in there.