Duck Rally 2016

Pied-billed Grebe
We scheduled one week earlier this year to avoid Easter and were blessed with good weather. We started at 8 am at Aylmer WMA with clear skies, north winds of about 15 km/h and temperature of -five. It did warm up to just above zero so the weather was pretty mild with no mud. There was still some ice on the pond but mostly open water. No ice at the rest of the stops. Highlights here were the Tundra Swans, Eastern Meadowlark and Eastern Bluebird.
At the Aylmer lagoons we saw several duck species including an Eurasian Wigeon. There was some discussion as the bird’s head was lighter and more tan than others I had seen before. It may have been a hybrid or just the way the sun was hitting it across the pond. Another highlight here was Dave d’Entremont sighting of a Rusty Blackbird. He first identified it by sound then we had a good look at it through the scope.
A few people took a detour on the way to coffee to get the Red-headed Woodpecker on Helkaa Line just west of Springwater Road. Our stop at Lake Margaret added both Pied-billed and Horned Grebes.  At Corner’s Corner we added Belted Kingfisher and Wood Duck.
Lunch was once again at the Buccaneer in Port Stanley and even though there were 26 of us, service was fast and tasty. Due to construction at harbour in Port we went on to the Port Stanley lagoons where we picked up several duck species, Cooper’s Hawk and Tufted Titmouse calling from the woods.
On to the Fingal WMA for a stop at the feeders. We found several feeder birds including Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. As the group broke up some travelled back to St Thomas with a stop at the heronry at Bush Line and Mill Road. We had several good views of Great Blue Herons, especially as a Red-tailed Hawk lazily harassed them and they had to keep jumping off their nests. Overall we had 28 people join us for all or part of the day. Gord Longhurst helped compile the list of birds. A total of 57 species were seen.

Thanks to all
Al Hurst
List of birds seen on STFN 2016 Duck Rally.