Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Migration: It's On!

I intended to write this post 2-3 weeks ago when I noticed migration getting rolling, and I even wrote most of a post on the 'blogger app' on my phone, but it appears to have grown wings and flown away(bird pun, lame!). There's a lesson learned once again about trusting phone apps to work.

Anyway, I'm sure everyone is well aware that migration is under way! There are Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles (I hadn't seen a single grackle all winter until about 4 weeks ago) singing on nearly every tree or fence post in the Pelee area! Okay, maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but there are surely thousands of blackbirds in the area. I've seen a good handful of Rusty Blackbirds among mixed flocks too, which look and sound really neat. They're sort-of one of the ugliest bird species in my opinion but their ugliness has a certain simple artistic beauty (sorry to get so deep there haha). I read recently that Rusty Blackbirds have faced a population decline of about 85-99% in the last 40 years :0. That explains why I have such a hard time seeing many! I blame the starlings (or the people who brought starlings here); even if this isn't their fault, lots of other things are. Hopefully the RUBL do alright in the future. I have also seen quite a few American Robins in the area, which were extremely scarce through the winter months.

My friend Chris who I mentioned in my last post, was asking me 2 weeks ago about differences between Semi-palmated Plovers and Killdeer (the main difference is neck/chest bands: SPPL has 1 and KILL has 2) and the very next day he told me he saw one of these species! I hadn't seen more than a small handful of Killdeer all winter so I headed to that area to see what was cooking: I found 5 Killdeer in one field, and have been seeing them scattered around the Leamington/Essex County area since. Awesome, more migration!

Many new ducks have shown up at Hillman Marsh (and are currently present) in the last 2 weeks, including Northern Pintails, Gadwall, American Wigeons, Green-winged Teal, American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Bufflehead, and Ring-necked Ducks. I love ducks! Also on the marsh there were 2 Sandhill Cranes last Monday, March 4 . My girlfriend Nadia and I saw one fly away and heard another making that awesome dinosaur sound they make. I'll have to try to post a nice audio/video clip of one croaking if I find a good chance to film it.

The last bird I'll include in my migration report is one of my favourites, and I'm not even too sure if this counts as migration, but I have been keeping an eye out for these and have not seen one in 2 months: Brown Creeper! I was most delighted to see one on a tree near the bird feeders at Ojibway Park in Windsor just over a week ago. I just think they're so cool, the way they disguise so well and shift side to side on trees while acting like woodpeckers. Because of their stealthy ways, there were many times in the fall I would hear their calls surround me out of no where, then move to a different area as quickly as they came, without even seeing the birds. Also, their spring mating songs sound awesome (which I look forward to hearing for my first time soon). I like to think it sounds sort-of like "I am the brown creeper!"

I will probably get back to this post to add photos and videos sometime soon. Hopefully my next report on migration isn't so delayed. Hope you enjoyed!

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