Monday, April 15, 2013

One last St. Clair Spring Visit

There's quite a bit to catch up on in the next couple of posts!  I've finally gotten internet in my new Toronto place, which means finally the chance to catch up!  Before I moved to Toronto I wanted to have one last visit to St. Clair NWA. Especially as now that I leave, birds migrating in will be a little more diverse than just waterfowl!  This little adventure consisted of myself, my good friend from Highschool Kurtis Baute and his brother Greg (both firs-time birders!) and Chris Law, who I met while on a Herping trip to Snake Road in Illinois.  We started by amazingly seeing our first 3 Great Egrets of the year, they were stunning as we watched then fly over us. Coots, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads (first time seeing them here!), hooded mergansers, and black ducks were the first birds to be seen.  Suddenly from the back of the NWA, I noticed a Bald Eagle take flight.  This caused quite the commotion as then dozens of waterfowl took flight startled.  I noticed that it was the Juvenile I had been seeing the past two weeks.  As I was pointing it out to my friends, a mature bald eagle also took flight!  It was the perfect opportunity to compare the mature to the juvenile bald eagle.

Mature Bald Eagle in flight
We then walked along the main trail we saw many Canadian Geese and Mallards.  Red-tailed hawk, and even more Coots were seen. We were actually astonished to need to place an X instead of a number for our Coot count here!  

Looking out onto the Marsh
While up in the viewing tower, Chris suddenly spotted two amazing Sandhill Cranes.  I was SO happy that they were still in the area as they were a particular bird that I thought Kurtis and his brother would love to see...and hear!  They were in such close distance that I was too overwhelmed to open my camera, so unfortunately the shot is of them further away.  We didn't stay too, too long up in the visitor's tower as the wind had plans other than warming up!
Pair of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead
After finishing the trail we ended up walking back along Baldoon Road.  Here we managed to see another few species such as Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downey Woodpecker, Northern Harrier, Greater Scaup, and the first Song Sparrow of the season!  Overall it was a pretty amazing day with 24 species in total. 

Ebird Checklist link:

I hope that the guys had just as much of a great time as I did!