Saturday, April 11, 2015

Birding Windsor's Oakwood Park in Early April

A favorite bird - Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

I signed my 5-year old son up for a soccer camp at Oakwood Community Center here in Windsor, and it dawned on me as I arrived that there is a decent little forest - which is part of the Ojibway Complex behind the building. The soccer coach instructed us parents to "leave for the hour" so I figured ... Why not check out the forest? One of my target species for this walk was a Carolina Wren, which I'm pretty sure should be common in this little forest.

As I walked through the parking lot to the adjacent forest, I was pleasantly surprised to see an American Kestrel perch in a nearby tree.  Just as I walked into the forest a little, I noted a small grove of Poplars (or Aspens???) which have historically hosted Yellow bellied Sapsucker at this time of year. Sure enough, I believe two males were foraging in the area and I got some great looks at them in the afternoon sunlight. Its a great pleasure to see these birds in migration... or on their breeding territory at Carden or Algonquin.


A family walk at Ojibway had a nice view of an Eastern Screech Owl in a nest box. Do you find anything weird about this nest box? Its about 12 feet up in the air... but it seems to have a weather-proof electrical outlet attached to it. What could it be for??? Do owls want to charge their smartphones during their daytime naps? Owls these days are so spoiled.
I'm thinking of attending a birding event at Shawnee State Forest in Southern Ohio (Ohio Ornithological Society Spring Conference) during the last weekend of April.  Some birds that are pretty common there include: Ruffed Grouse, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Carolina Chickadee - which would all be lifers [Ebird Chart for Shawnee State Forest]. I've never seen a female Cerulean Warbler and that would be an awesome bird to see for me as well. There are 20+ butterfly species in late April there as well (many of which would be lifers as well).  I'll see if I can get permission to go... ;-p  ...

Good birding!

Dunlin & Green winged Teal

Carden Alvar Flashback .....

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Would You Fight For a Tree?

The huge Sycamore on the left of the picture was minutes away from being cut down. [Photo from Google Maps]

All this talk of great trees lately made me think of a story that took place two or three years ago here in Windsor. The story goes that a tree trimming truck showed up to a lot to cut down a giant, majestic Sycamore (pictured above on the left) near Roseland Golf Course in South Windsor. 

Neighbors quickly noticed, and a confrontation took place between the tree cutters with chainsaws and the neighbors. One of the workers supposedly got his foot run over by a man in a car, and the driver may have gotten in some trouble for doing that... But, the tree still stands today. 

Another hero is made known in this story. A local entrepreneur brokered a deal between the landowner and the city to not cut the tree down. I'm not sure if the details were published but I think its a pretty amazing story. Who among us would physically confront men with chainsaws? I think all involved with this story are great people. The neighbors that stood up for the tree, the workers who stepped back after being confronted, the landowner for keeping the tree even though he could make more money by severing his lot and selling it on the real estate market. A local entrepreneur deserves thanks as well for helping to find an ongoing solution to the problem. 

More reading...


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1st Birding - No Fooling!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day today in Windsor and with recent reports of some new migrants showing up, I couldn't help but go for a walk at Black Oak Heritage Park & Ojibway Park's Tallgrass Prairie in Windsor. It was exciting to see an Eastern Phoebe along with lots of Mourning Cloak and Eastern Comma Butterflies - All first of season! At Ojibway Park, I also heard Western Chorus Frogs and walked through some habitat that is good for viewing American Woodcocks. I enjoyed listening to Song Sparrows calling this afternoon as well.

At one point, I noticed a nice male Eastern Bluebird foraging in the dead leaves at Ojibway and was treat with some great views of this beautiful bird in some nice afternoon sunlight. A female was nearby as well.

I was also able to hear the call of the Western Chorus Frog this afternoon. Its hard to see them but last year at about this time, I was able to take some video footage of them singing at Ojibway Park. See video below and turn on your speakers!

Carolina Wren Query -
I've once heard that Carolina Wrens are found mainly in the SE US, but their northern range dips up into SW Ontario which is a Carolinian Deciduous Zone. I've heard that their populations increase in years where we have mild winters, then after harsh winters, their populations are cut back as they can't tolerate extremely cold winters. These temperature restrictions on birds are called "isotherms" if I'm not mistaken - The average temperature over a winter season in which a bird species can tolerate and survive in. If you look up Carolina Wren under Ebirds' Species Maps, with "this year" as the date argument and Essex County as the location argument - You can see that a few reports of Carolina Wrens have been made in 2015 --- A good sign that some have survived!

News: Preserved Wetland at Cameron Woodlot in Windsor Ontario

There is a small woodlot in Windsor (very close to where I live) that has recently been in the news. This woodlot and some surround land have been deemed as environmentally significant forest and wetlands.

Read more and perhaps, if you would like, leave a positive comment! 

This embedded google map is showing the location of this small urban forest that is surrounded by residential development on all sides and is continually being eroded  --- Acre by Acre. I feel that it is a great thing that the province and city are doing, but at the same time, I think any private landowners that owned land for future development should be fairly compensated for their land. I would imagine undeveloped land in Windsor is worth $80K/Acre.


Ohio Law Proposed To Reduce Algae Booms in Lake Erie

Free ABA Birding E-Magazine

Click Here to download the PDF. There is an interesting article about Birding Tawas Point in Michigan.... I just might have to go there an check it out this May!   Also, I couldn't help but notice that Windsor's Ojibway Park had a 1/2 page advertisement in this guide (see screenshot below).
Does this bird look like a Tufted Titmouse?

Found on page 25 of the ABA's birding magazine for March 2015
Good Birding,

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rondeau Redpoll Run

The last two months have been really busy, but amazingly, I've still birded quite a bit. I just haven't seen much that was noteworthy! On top of work and night school, I decided a few months ago that it would be a good idea to do the electrical installation for the new house that my wife and I are having built. I haven't posted a blog posting in 6 weeks, but today's Redpoll citing along with an a generous gift from a reader prompted me get back into the swing of things. Its funny but readers who are birders in Ontario might not realize that the Common Redpoll just does not show up in Windsor. It seems to not be seen much south of Rondeau (see range map). I've only seen this bird twice before today and those looks were fleeting. So this is my third look at a Common Redpoll in my five years of birding!

Late January - went to Rondeau to see Redpolls that were report, I missed them but did get a chance to bird the park a little with Blake. I did see some Pine Siskens at the feeder.

February -Seeing a Belted Kingfisher around Feb 8th was pretty exciting. Considering how cold it got, I hope this little fella made it through the Winter. I guess an Eastern Phoebe was seen at Ojibway Park in Mid February...  It was so cold... I cant even imagine how it was surviving. It must have been a Frozen Phoebe! I saw a Long-tailed Duck, - a rarity at the Detroit River but common an hour north in the Sarnia River. Unfortunately, my car was so full of electrical equipment, I didn't have my camera.

A few weeks ago, Blake mentioned to me in an email that a birder in the Chatham area who enjoys reading my blog wanted to give me some of her old field guides and books related to birding. He mentioned that he would just keep the donated books in his trunk till the next time we meet. So I couldn't resist the opportunity to see Redpolls and obtain these donated books today. On the way to Rondeau I noticed about 10 hawks, 8 were Redtails but I think I saw one or two Rough legged Hawks. My first for the year!

Seeing a Rough legged Hawk is always fun. The plumage details found in its dark "mittens" and belly band are diagnostic. But what caught my attention was how it perches on the tips of the thinnest outer branches of the tree that it perches in. Something a Red-tailed hawk does not do. How many people stop along the highway to see this stuff?

First of Season White Crowned Sparrow

I've had several friends, family and co-workers just give me books about birding! One co-worker gave me both the "Golden" field guide (1966) and the Audubon bird Guide - Eastern Land Birds (1946) as well as Audubon Prints! Today I obtained two boxes of birding books, botany field guides, OFO Journals, "Birding Point Pelee" by Henrietta Oneil, the complete Audubon Collection of birds and Mammals. My birding library is growing!! Thanks to Irene for the kind and thoughtful gift. I'm going to read every book you sent!

Good birding!



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