mm

Hawk Cliff is recognized as one of the prime fall migration hawk watching destinations in all North America.

 

Every year hundreds of birders (and non-birders!) from Canada, the U.S. and other countries visit Hawk Cliff. Birders can normally expect to see 15 different raptor species, with typical count totals reaching several thousand birds per day. On a few exceptional occasions lucky visitors have witnessed the amazing spectacle of over 100,000 raptors of various species migrating past Hawk Cliff in a single day!

Others come to enjoy the many song birds and Monarchs that also pass Hawk Cliff on their journey to warmer climes, or to walk the beautiful trails of Hawk Cliff Woods. This is a stunning 230 acre property and is one of the most significant deep interior forests in Elgin County. Hawk Cliff Woods is a maple-beech forest with many Carolinian specialties, including the Tulip-tree and Pignut Hickory as well as the Endangered Butternut and American Chestnut.   Rare birds such as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Wood Thrush thrive in the deep woods.

Please Contact Roberta Buchanan at roberta.buchanan@icloud.com or by phone 519-864-1475.

Date:  September 22, 2018

Place:  Lambton Mall parking lot – Carpooling is an option as it is an 80 minute drive.

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  (bring your lunch or visit nearby Port Stanley for lunch)

Daily Live-bird Demos at 11a.m. and 2 p.m.

What to Bring:  water, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen, lawn chair, binoculars, lunch

Thursday, May 10 to Sunday, May 13, 2018

Camping and birding at its best. We have great fun camping and exploring all the island’s birding hotspots.

Learn more by reading Richard Wilson’s review of the 2016 trip or contact Richard Wilson for more details.

Book your ferry ride early and sign up soon. Limited camping spots available.

Contact: Dick Wilson wrkawilson@cogeco.ca

mm

It has been an amazing couple of weeks with the return of Red-winged Blackbirds, Killdeer, Turkey Vultures, Common Grackles, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Sandhill Cranes.  We have been lucky enough to see all of these returnees and it makes us think of spring!

We saw our first Killdeers, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Turkey Vultures in mid-February.  On February 26 we were lucky enough to see three male Eastern Bluebirds looking to scout out the best habitat.

On March 1 we saw a pair of Eastern Meadowlarks – in full breeding colours – and they stayed around for three days!  Their beautiful flute-like songs certainly made it seem like spring had arrived even though they were singing in the snow!

Also migrating through are the Tundra Swans and the Sandhill Cranes on their way to their summer breeding grounds.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the returning birds – spring is just around the corner!

mm

Young Naturalist and Jr. Conservationist Event – ages 6-16 – Parental supervision required.  

An introduction to the mysterious lives of Ontario’s owls. Most owl prowls typically take place late at night or early in the morning. This owl prowl hopes to take advantage of afternoon light to hike through owl habitat, learning about their behavior and adaptations along the way. Finish off by relocating by car to a nearby spot to scout for owls in the setting sun. 

Meet at Perch Creek Management Area park lot at 3pm before hiking some trails. Finish off by driving to another location along Blackwell Side Road where we will hope to see owls out at dusk. Finish by 6pm.

Be prepared to dress for wet, cold and slippery conditions and bring a flashlight/headlamp and binoculars if you have them. For those interested, snowshoes are available to rent from Sarnia public library. To reserve a pair visit: https://catalogue.lclibrary.ca/iguana/www.main.cls?v=c97386a2-914a-40c2-bd8d-df4c273175e6&p=8f1c53f0-41ad-4c28-8d9e-57e8288b0ac6#navigation 

Please RSVP and any cancellations to this event by emailing the names and ages of participants and whether they will be accompanied by a parent or guardian to m.kent@lambtonwildlife.com.   

mm

Larry Cornelis giving introductory talk

If you plant it, they will come…

LWI members were privileged to be invited to visit the Enbridge Solar Farm, in Sarnia, on June 21st to observe how the restored tall grass prairie habitat has attracted rare bird species.  Resident expert Larry Cornelis led this 3-hour outing.  28 members, including Larry, participated. The group included novice through to very experienced birders.  Weather was ideal: clear, sunny but not too hot.

Savannah Sparrow

The Enbridge Solar farm is the largest in Canada and has a total of 257 hectares covered with 1,300,000 solar panels, enough to power 12,000 homes on a sunny day.  Due to electrical grid limitations there will be no more panels installed on this site.  The remaining 188 hectares of the Enbridge property have been designated for conversion to tall grass prairie and these areas were the subject of our visit.  The very secure property is normally inaccessible to visitors so this was a unique opportunity to see these large grassland areas close-up.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

The highlights of the outing were multiple sightings of Grasshopper and Clay-colored Sparrows. Both rare species were observed in the tallgrass prairie rehabilitated areas and these birds are evidence that restoring habitat does have the positive outcomes expected.  Other bird species observed were: Killdeer, Brown-headed Cow Bird, Willow Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Savannah Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Eastern Kingbird, Turkey Vulture, Cedar Waxwing, Meadowlark, American Crow, Yellow Warbler, Field Sparrow, Hairy Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron, Grasshopper Sparrow (3), Clay-coloured Sparrow (7), Mourning Dove, Common Yellowthroat, Starling, Common Grackle, Northern Flicker, Catbird, Indigo Bunting, Red-tailed Hawk, Robin, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Clay-coloured Sparrow

Clay-coloured Sparrow on cup plant

Kudos to Larry for organizing and leading this activity, it really was an awesome day!  A special thank you to Enbridge for allowing us to visit the property and for planting this habitat.  Indeed it is encouraging for all naturalists to see the relatively short term effects of planting tall grass prairie.  Imagine what might be possible when other land areas are restored in this manner.

Goldfinch enjoying the natural habitat

Camping and birding at its best. We have tons of fun on what has become a favourite outing for many club members. We will explore all of the islands birding hot spots in pursuit of spring migrants such as warblers and thrushes.

Learn more by reading Richard Wilson’s review of the 2016 trip or contact Richard Wilson for more details.

Book your ferry ride early and sign up soon. Limited camping spots available.

Watch for other posts about Pelee Island to be added to the blog in the weeks and months before the event.

Join us for our 3 Wednesday walks in Canatara Park.

View resident and migrant birds.

Each spring, migrant birds move through Canatara Park on their way to their nesting grounds. Walk with an expert birder to view resident and migrant birds.

The walk leader is Eric Marcum (519-332-6122).  Eric is a long time birder with experience in the NE United States, northern Canada and many hours in and around Sarnia.  Eric’s experience in hearing and identifying bird songs adds to the experience.

There are three walks scheduled starting on May 3 and continuing May 10 and May 17, 2017.  Start time at 6:00 PM. 

The walk, beginning at the main entrance to Tarzan Land (south-west corner of Christina St and Cathcart Blvd), is an easy one over flat chip covered paths and sidewalks.

The walk is open to everyone without charge.  Binoculars are most useful.  Photo opportunities exist throughout the tour.

See the Tourism Sarnia-Lambton web-site www.tourismsarnialambton.com/listing for more information about Canatara Park.

Photo Credit: Richard Wilson

Photo Credit: Richard Wilson

Last year I attended the Birding Course put on by Lambton Wildlife over the course of several weeks. Many presenters shared their wisdom and experience on identifying, locating, and photographing birds, as well as the equipment and references needed to succeed as a birder.

The last part of the event was a morning walk through Canatara Park on a beautiful morning, April 30th, 2016. Many of the course attendees showed up with their binoculars and their new found enthusiasm to identify birds by sight and sound.

Larry Cornelis and Deryl Nethercott were two of the course’s presenters and they pointed out various birds that they heard or spotted during the walk.

There were about 30 people on the walk at any given time, although the group didn’t always stay together. The walk started on the southwest side of Lake Chipican, near the Animal Farm.

Ducks were spotted out on the inland lake, as well as some other waterfowl.

Experienced members helped point out birds in the canopy, which could be easily seen since the trees were still bare.

A common sight during bird outtings – many people pointing their binoculars in a general direction in hopes of spotting the bird everyone else has already seen. 

Birders of all levels took part in the stroll and enjoyed talking with each other about the bird course and birds they have since been able to easily identify.

Lake Chipican looked beautiful on this calm, sunny spring day.

Seeing as I only brought my 24-105mm lens, the only bird photographs I was able to take were of this tame mallard duck.

Dame’s Rockets were already blooming in the park and other plants were starting to poke out from under their leafy winter blankets.

Gorgeous reflection of the bird box in the side part of the lake. Soon those floating logs will be sporting painted turtles.

mm

I hope you enjoyed my earlier post about Pelee Island.  This latest post focuses on bird photos.

As you may know, thousands of birds migrate through this area every spring.  Pelee Island is a stopover for many interesting species, and attracts avid birders.  Having access to some very experienced and knowledgeable LWI birders who attend this event makes the trip especially worthwhile.    For some competitive birders, Pelee Island offers the annual Botham Cup.  This event is a bird “race” taking place over a 24 hour period from Friday noon until Saturday noon.  Teams try and sight as many bird species as possible.  Two teams of LWI members entered the event; one competing in the “green” category which means restricting your movement around the island to walking or bicycling.  The other team used their car.  Both teams placed well, and earned a mention at the culminating banquet held at Pelee Island Winery and hosted by author Margaret Atwood (an island resident in the summer).

Anyway, take a look at the photos and if you enjoy birdwatching and have never been to Pelee Island, you may want to plan to attend the LWI camping trip in 2017.

mm

Every spring for many years now, LWI holds a group camping outing on Pelee Island.  2016 was the first year for myself and Roberta attending.  Pelee Island is an easy 1 hour and 30 minute ferry ride from Leamington.  The campground is located only a few kilometers from the ferry dock and is well situated for making forays to the various corners of the island.

By late Thursday the LWI group camping site was well populated with tents, dining shelters, pop-up camper vans and one truck camper.  Some members come as early as Tuesday, with most departing back to the mainland on the Sunday.  A total of 21 campers attended, with ages ranging from elementary school up to ??  Most campers in the group brought bicycles, as the island is relatively small and quite flat.  For some outings we did choose to drive, in order to facilitate moving to other locations depending on bird concentrations or lack thereof. We enjoyed group hikes, campfires, late night owling (successfully calling in screech owls!) and great camaraderie.  The atmosphere at the campsite was very relaxed and driving on the island is slow and easy; everyone waves at other vehicles.

The island is a mix of agricultural land, vineyards, and protected conservation lands, each with its own unique habitat.  I thought the best way to describe the nature aspects of the trip was to show some photos.  2016 was a record turnout for this popular LWI outing and we hope 2017 will be even better.  I have split my photos into two posts; the first will be general nature photos, and the second post will focus on bird photos.   Enjoy!