Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Signs of Things to Come

On Sunday (March 10) the dam finally broke and birds poured into Southern Ontario. From now until the end of May there will be new stuff to see all the time: frogs, waterfowl, snakes, butterflies, sparrows, swallows, wildflowers, warblers, dragonflies, flycatchers, I can't wait!

I spent most of the daylight hours outside on Sunday and had some cool sightings to ring in spring.

Tundra Swans - if there's one sound I had to associate with spring this would be it:
Incidentally, my second choice for the sound of spring would the "Conk-a-reee!" of Red-winged Blackbirds, which can be heard several times in this video. This flock passed right over my yard, and is one of two small flocks I had over the day.

Northern Shrike - for only the second time ever I heard one singing, and it did so continuously for the entire 20 minutes I was nearby. The video isn't great due to wind noise, but here it is if you're interested:
This bird was a migrant, as it was in a small area I've checked numerous times over the winter without see it until now.

Blackbirds have arrived in decent numbers, although only a taste of things to come. I had about 120 Red-winged Blackbird and 60 Common Grackle, as well as 1 Brown-headed Cowbird by the end of the day. Most of the blackbirds were in one large flock with starlings just before dusk, presumably getting ready to continue migrating in the mild south winds overnight.

Lots of other stuff was moving overhead during the day.1 Lapland Longspur was the rarest sighting of the day, and Horned Larks, American Crows, American Robins, Ring-billed Gulls, Canada Geese and European Starlings were all apparent.

A sleepy porcupine from last week to close things off:

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