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Thirty-eight people gathered on a cold Sunday morning in February to enjoy the many waterfowl that visit the St. Clair River during the winter months.  Our first stop was at the Bluewater Bridge where we were treated to a good view of the peregrine falcon that flew past and landed on the bridge.  Our scopes came in handy and some of the participants had great success with “digiscoping” (using your camera/cellphone to take a photo through the scope).  We saw a pair of cackling geese which was the highlight of this first stop!

Can you spot the pair of peregrines like likes to hangout at one of Sarnia’s most iconic spots?

Can you pick out the pair of cackling geese from Canada geese in this flock?

Here’s a closer look. Hint: Cackling geese can be distinguished from their Canada counterpart by their smaller size.

I think the funniest event at this stop was when two walkers stopped to ask our large group, with scopes and binoculars pointed out toward the lake, “What is coming?”  My response was met with the most incredulous look I have ever witnessed … as my response was “we are looking at ducks”.  At this point he paused and said “What?”  I said again “we are looking at ducks … and geese.”  He replied with a chuckle and said “Well, there are lots here.” And continued his walk.  I guess it takes some getting used to the idea that a group of people are willing to brave the cold wind to stand and look at ducks and geese!

Further down the river we stopped at Guthrie park to observe the dabbling and diving ducks around the warm water outflows, the ice-taxiing gulls, and eagles staging their hunt at the head of Stag Island. Then, without warning, thousands of birds took to the air from their water rafts to put on an aerial orchestra. Was it an eagle or a boat that caused the commotion? We weren’t sure, but the fleeting moment was spectacular!

The flocks were estimated to contain over 8,000 birds.

Here’s a portion of the flock. Can you identify any by their shape?

We continued to enjoy the day with several stops along the river, ending at a great little restaurant in Sombra.  Although we saw bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, swans, and lots of waterfowl I think from the reactions of the participants I would have to say the highlight of the day was the lesser black-backed gulls!

Can you identify the different gulls in this picture?

 A big thanks to Paul Carter for leading the group and making sure everyone had the opportunity to see the different birds and explaining what to look for when identifying different species.

Here is a partial list of bird species we enjoyed throughout the morning:

  • Peregrine Falcons
  • Cackling Geese
  • Hundreds of Long-tailed Ducks
  • Mallards
  • Buffleheads
  • Herring Gulls
  • Crows
  • Starlings
  • Northern Cardinals
  • Canada Geese
  • Hooded Mergansers
  • Bald Eagle
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Merganser
  • Lesser Black-backed Gulls
  • Greater Black-backed gulls
  • Red-tailed hawks
  • Canvasbacks
  • Redheads
  • Mute Swans
  • American Black Ducks

The winter bird survey at the Sarnia Solar site will be held Monday, January 2, 2017.  Meet 9:00 AM at the Sarnia Solar Site located on Churchill Line.  Larry Cornelis will provide instructions and will coordinate the event.  All are invited to participate; dress according to weather conditions.

Contact: Larry Cornelis (519 339-8785; larry.cornelis@gmail.com)

Join Lambton Wildlife at the Lorne C. Henderson Conservation Area to experience nature at night. Take a walk around the park with only the moon as your light while Donica Abbinett helps you learn how to use all of your senses in the nocturnal world around you.

The moon will be 99% full that evening and hopefully it will be clear or only partly cloudy.

Wear appropriate clothes and shoes and the leader of the event has since decided that participants should bring their flashlights!

See you there no later than 7:30pm on Sunday, November 13th.
For more information, please check out the event on our Event Calendar.

Join Justin Nicol as he takes you on a guided tour of Rock Glen this Sunday. Learn to identify trees and other plants during this fall afternoon walk.

Rock Glen Conservation Area is located in Arkona and offers scenic, historic and geologic diversity. While you are there, check out the fossils, mussels, birds and other artifacts at the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

Admission is $4.00 per person and you can come early and stay late.

Bring your camera and binoculars.

We hope to see you there!

Check out the event on the Calendar of Events.

Rock Glen Conservation Area brochure.

Enjoy an early summer walk to see and learn about the interesting flora, including wild lupines and porcupine grass, of the Howard Watson Nature Trail. Bring your binoculars and a camera. You never know what you’ll see.

Meet at the Modeland Road parking lot by Cathcart Boulevard.