The last days of Winter are upon us, and Tundra Swans are on the move.
They are on their way from Chesapeake Bay to the shores of
the Arctic Ocean to begin their nesting season. We are lucky enough to be on their flyway, and have the privilege of sharing in their stopovers every March. Grand Bend hosted thousands of Tundra Swans this year, and these Swans-in-flight photos were taken over Greenway Road on March 10.
Small flocks of Tundra Swans were sighted in many areas this Spring. These beauties were resting and feeding in a field at the corner of Sawmill Road and Weebly Road near St. Jacobs.
2 of the Tundra Swans were having a lively discussion....
Other birds are returning to our area for longer visits. Many migrants spend their Summers in Ontario, in the hope that they will find an abundance of food and suitable nesting areas.
The Mallard, common though it is, is stunningly beautiful in its Spring plumage. This pair was standing on the almost-melted ice along the Mill Race in St. Jacobs.
Pretty little White-throated Sparrows are beginning to show up on their way through to Northern nesting sites.
Song Sparrows are starting to sing their distinctive Spring songs; we banded this one on March 26.
Hungry for small birds, a Northern Shrike brazenly attacked our ground traps during “Bunting banding”. When it couldn’t catch anything through the wires, it retired to the top of the Birch tree and waited for another chance.
An American Kestrel had better luck: it managed to grab a Junco (I think) from the feeders.
A Barred Owl is spending time along the Mill Race, and has frequently been viewed sleeping or preening in close proximity to the walking trail. Unfortunately, there have been people who have been approaching the Owl far too closely in order to get photos. It remains to be seen whether or not this lack of respect for the Barred Owl will have an effect on its desire to stick around!
(These photos were taken from a distance, and cropped.)
There have been less Snowy Owls this year than over the past 2 years. Sightings have been few and far between along "the 4th”.
Common Redpolls continue to feed here, and we have banded 74 on the farm..
Soon they will be on their way to the Northern Boreal Forests, but for now they feed with the returning Redwings, Robins and Grackles. The discriminating Redpolls have expensive taste; they are particularly fond of finely chipped Sunflower seeds.
Ah well.....I will cater to them for as long as they stay around. Who knows how many years it will be before they decide to grace us with their presence again?
And so we come to the end of a long cold Winter season, and look forward to all that Spring will offer in the next few months. Piping Plovers usually storm in around the end of April.... only a few short weeks from now!