Andrew’s Posting for April 26th to April 28th

A Very Loony Lake Watch Indeed!

Hi everyone, the past few days weather was dominated by cool North winds and rain. Banding was slow even when the nets were open but there were tons of birds around madly trying to get to their breeding grounds.

On the 26th we were rained out in the morning and we were unable to open nets. Census produced 35 species including: Northern Shoveler a great find on the Wingfield Basin, Rusty Blackbird and many, many Northern Flickers.  A Killdeer also flew by during census. In the morning as we were opening nets we heard the beeps and whistles of the American Woodcock across the basin displaying for their females. In the afternoon a birding road trip produced 5 Vesper Sparrows on Dyer’s Bay Rd. as well as Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel and a Green Winged Teal in a flooded area in a field.

The 27th was a loony day, we had nets open but with a strong North wind passerine activity was minimal. However an extensive lake watch on  Georgian Bay was undertaken by two eager volunteers Martin Scott and Brad Bloemendal who observed 16 species of mainly waterfowl over 3 hours. The list includes: 89 Common Loons!, 7 Red-Throated Loons!, 7 Red-Necked Grebes, 3 Horned Grebes, 16 White-Winged Scoters, 13 Long-Tailed Ducks, 4 Northern Pintails, 24 Red-Breasted Mergansers and 6 Common Mergansers, as well as 4 Tree Swallows. All together we had over 100 loons in the census area a very loony day for us. We banded a Sharp-Shinned Hawk as well as some kinglets and Myrtle Warblers. A Western Palm Warbler was also seen in the morning and a Black-Throated Green Warbler was heard singing! Pine Warbler was also observed bringing the warbler total for the station to 4! not bad for April and hopefully more of their brethren will arrive splattering the trees with their vibrant colours.  Today we also say goodbye to Brad Bloemendal a volunteer staying here for the past two weeks. Just want to say good luck looking for Darth Vader!

The 28th was another typical April day at Cabot Head. North winds didn’t prevent net opening but seemed to keep activity of the birds low. We banded Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Myrtle Warbler and others. A highlight of the day was a nice male Hooded Merganser swimming around on the basin amongst the Red-Breasted Mergansers and Common Mergansers. Also a pair of  Canada Geese along with 6 of their goslings grazed on the grass around Wingfield Cottage. Raptor migration was minimal but the resident Merlins and Bald Eagles were active and hunting. As we sat down for dinner we watched a Bald Eagle drop on top of a Ring-Billed Gull hammering the gull with it’s colossal razor-sharp talons! The gull seemed unscathed and floated happily along as the eagle sat in a nearby fir tree looking out at the basin. Later a volunteer watched as a Merlin nailed a Red Squirrel in a birch tree knocking it to the ground the squirrel was startled and quickly ran off into the forest! All bird have to eat but both predators went hungry thus evening and the race between predator and prey continues as is the cycle of life.