Much to my own chagrin, I woke up this past Sunday morning at 5am and drove out to Skunk's Misery. (For all the non-birders out there... don't laugh!). What would make a sane person do such a thing? The chance to see a Pilleated Woodpecker. Or almost as incredible, to see a Cerulean Warbler. The Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) had a group trip planned so I figured I would join them.
The trip started at 7am and the group leaders gave abit of history and geography of the local area. The leaders then asked if there were any species of interest, and promptly stated "Pilleated Woodpecker"... the leader then stated that I was in luck, I've already seen one then pointed at his hat... (Wah - Whannn).
We then drove for a few minutes in a birders cavalcade to a tract of forest and we stopped to look at wild turkeys. They eluded us, but off in the distance of the forest we heard several young Pilleated woodpeckers calling. I really wish we could have went to see them, but the group leader stopped moving through the forest when we encountered a man made ditch that was not easily passable.
One clearing of forest offered views of:
Chestnut Sided Warbler
We then went to look for a Broad Winged Hawk nest but we could not find it. A racoon may have gotten to it. Next we visited another tract that was most promising to see Cerulean Warbler and the endangered Acadian Flycatcher. Both were heard by our group leader, but the Cerulean was making itself a little more present by singing from the tops of very high and densely leaved trees. One pishing session at this point attracted a loud and curious Tufted Titmouse.
Regarding my life list, I can`t really add a bird that I heard... So I will save the Pilleated & Cerulean for another time. I heard there was a breeding pair at the Pinery but of course, if I go next week, they will be gone. (speaking of my life list, I have moved from about 80 species in 2009 to 174 (Total) in 2010 so far. That's pretty incredible. All 174 on my life list are decently photographed as well.
One of the last tracts of forest that we walked through gave some nice views of a Scarlet Tanager and an Eastern Wood Peewee.
At about 11:30AM, I decided to head home. I had not really eaten breakfast... I was exhausted. Somehow though, I figured I might have a faint chance of seeing a bittern at St Clair NWA. So, I drove into that strange area of land (Pain Court Ontario) ... but I was just too tired to go beyond the bridge on their ``Nature Path``. I just saw your typical RW Blackbirds, I saw one GB Heron and an Eastern Kingbird.
For all the driving and effort I made, I was hoping to see a little more, but that's how birding goes. Somedays you get to see alot, other times ... not so much.