Friday, April 11, 2014


Things are really starting to happen in Southern Ontario just since last week. I've been seeing new birds for the year nearly every day, and the first herps and butterflies are out.

Blackbirds continue to move through the area. Each evening I've been seeing large flocks flying by, and a few days ago I inadvertently discovered where they're going. Below is a fraction of the 1200 birds I estimated being present before they descended to roost in some dense cedar forest.

What's really cool about the whole thing is that several nights later I found myself walking the trails through their roost area well after dark with a few friends while looking for herps (more on that below), and it was obvious that large numbers of blackbirds were present as when we heard them flushing and their wings hitting off branches. It would have been an extremely spooky experience if we didn't know what they were!

There have been lots of new migrants showing up (among others, Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Savannah, Chipping, Field and Fox Sparrows, Tree Swallows, Eastern Phoebes and Rusty Blackbirds), but the most notable was this Caspian Tern sitting on the ice at the still-frozen Correctional Ponds. Although this is right on time for this species to arrive, it is not a bird I ever would associate with snow and ice!

My first Field Sparrow of the year

I've gone out on the three nights this week with rain and reasonably warm temperatures, but last night was the first time we had much success in finding herps. Things are still slow - in about an hour and half of looking the five of us found less than 15 amphibians between us - but it's great to see them again! There is still quite a lot of snow in the woods which is likely keeping amphibians from migrating to their breeding ponds in large numbers.

Blue-spotted Salamander

Wood Frog

Spring Peeper

The next few days are looking really good, and luckily I have lots of time to enjoy them!

No comments:

Post a Comment