Eastern Meadowlark was incredible to see as well. I was not expecting to see one. I've never seen an Eastern Meadowlark outside of the state of Florida. I'm blown away they were breeding just minutes from my home in Windsor!
And just as I was about to leave, I noticed a sparrow on a small fence and took a closer look... Savannah Sparrow. Lots of beautiful grassland species to behold. I can't believe it. It took me over two years to see a Bobolink in breeding plumage. I've never heard the call of a Bobolink until today... Just awesome.
Seeing the four grassland species this week (Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Dickcissel and Savannah Sparrow) has been incredible. My friend told me that this field has tall grass because it was raining too much to cut it earlier. *I would hate for machines to go through and cut the grass with all these birds nesting in it! Here is a great article about the burden of conservation in Ontario. Its a great, thought-provoking read... http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2774059&archive=true.
*I wrote this comment on Tuesday June 28th. I've added a second part of this posting below wrote on Wed June 29th, with a sad followup:
The posting above was from the 28th of June. Not even 24 hours after my initial visit to this site, I attempted to go back for some better photos only to realize the field had been cut. It was only 1/2 cut so I approached the man driving the tractor (he was taking a break) and mentioned that there were ground-nesting species that were endangered in Ontario. Of course, I was polite and we had a polite and civil converstation, but he stated he had to cut the field, but in the future, he would be willing to work with people to have a better outcome for these birds. He also mentioned if I can mark where the nests are, he would go around them. He then went on his way cutting the field.
Yesterday, I must have seen about 10 Eastern Meadowlarks flying around, hovering low over the grassy field as seen below:
This hints that Eastern Meadowlarks were nesting, sadly, on the ground in waist-high grass.
Today, I returned to the site to take better photos, but I did not see one Meadowlark in over 1 hour. Some Bobolink were still around, as well as Savannah Sparrow. It was sad though, you would see Bobolink and Savannah Sparrows on the freshly cut hay mounds, and you couldn't help but wonder if that was where their nest was.
This was a birding-related example of how human interests conflict with our ecosystem's interests and the human interests typically win. This might be why this species is
As I walked back to my car, I looked along the ground for broken egg shells or evidence of nests but did not see any. Hopefully, some breeding success will come of this. The farmer stated that the grass should have been cut weeks ago, but it was too wet.
CREWS BETTE JEAN, "Bobolink protection needs more than farmers", Barrie Examiner, Obtained June: 28th, 2011, Web, Oct 2010, http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2774059&archive=true