Monday, April 15, 2013

Birds and Butterflies of Devonwood Forest


This last week or two has been a little quieter bird-wise for me. Since my last major birding trip to Col Sam Smith park, I have tried to bird closer to home. I haven't even been to Pelee! After work, I would go to local parks like Ojibway's Black Oak Heritage Park or Malden Park.  Jeremy Bensette had done a tour at Devonwood ERCA forest in mid-Windsor and mentioned it had tonnes of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and other seasonal migrants. This forest is in the middle of Windsor, and is a major magnet during migration (oasis effect). One local birder birded this forest last May in peak migration season after a midnight rain storm to find one of the best passerine fallouts he had experienced. Devonwood boasts the highest Oak species count of any woodlot in Canada (8 species).

A few days ago at Devonwood, I had 4 or so different Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers, but probably many more were present, it seems like I had heard 10 or so while walking. While walking with my family at one point, I was blasted by the song of a Winter Wren... I had never heard it so clearly in my short birding career. I didn't have my camera that day, so I did not bother to try to pish it into view.

Devonwood has many of the seasonal migrants such as Hermit Thrush, Eastern Phoebe, both Kinglets and more.

Today, after work, I went to Devonwood again, and was greeted not to far from the parking lot with an Eastern Comma (first of season) and then moments later, a Mourning Cloak butterfly... Harbingers of Spring! (A butterfly flew by me on April 7th at Turkey Point, but I did not really get a chance to ID it... Probably a Mourning Cloak as it was 'dark'). I didn't see or hear YBSS today, but I did see several breeding plumaged Yellow-rumped Warblers! It would have been nice to see Louisiana Waterthrush (there is lots of wet mossy flooded areas in this forest).

I actually E-birded a recent walk ( and the weird thing about this posting is that if I look up Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in Essex for this year, this posting does not come up on the map, but a query for Ruby-crowned Kinglets does.

I think if one was to record a species list in a notebook, entering a trip's list into ebird would be less painful. I generally don't keep notes, and really on memory which is probably a bad idea. Any thoughts on improving one's ebird workflow?

Good birding,

PS: I had a little writeup this week that discussed a recent oil spill in the US and the lack of coverage in the media.  Its a little off topic but I've added it in the Post Script of this posting.

{Start rant} While watching Nightly News with Brian Williams a few days ago, there was a brief mention of an oil spill in Arkansas. I've heard nothing about it since, so tonight I googled "Arkansas oil spill" and was amazed at the lack of media coverage. None of the major media outlets covered this story... The websites that have articles on this story are like:,, ??? has a story (one paragraph?!?!) posted one day ago here:

Where is the media attention on this? One commenter wrote in the CNN comment stream:


smokinbluebear • a day ago

THREE OIL LEAKS in the U.S. last week and CNN finally squeaks out a PARAGRAPH...Pulitzer-worthy material--deep, probing...asking the questions that need to be answered...thanks for NOTHING, cnn!!!!


I'm not against oil, but it makes one curious about the lack of media coverage on the matter. These companies make billions in profits yet can't seem to afford to maintain their infrastructure. Fewer and fewer media outlets are corporate owned and may have a conflict of interest in reporting environmental catastrophes, because that may sway the voter base and popular opinions on topics related to say, building a giant oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas.

I came across this video documentary about the BP Oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago. It seems to be well-made and delves into the topic of how these oil corporations are 'influencing' American politics and media. It could be biased or factually incorrect, but its still very interesting. Its a long video, but I recommend skimming through it at least.

Two final thoughts in closing...

1- On occasion, I read in the Canadian media about how "Canada's Keystone XL Pipeline" is being debated in the US etc... Its funny how the media frames this project as "Canada's"...I personally think its a horrible idea to develop this pipeline, and it bothers me that the media tells me that its 'my' project.

2- If gas in Canada costs $1.30/L and in the US, it costs $3.50/Gallon (1gal = 3.785L) ... That would imply (assuming parity of the dollar) that the US would pay $4.92/Gallon of gas. But... I doubt the price of gas would go up in the US as supply is increased, so wouldn't it be ironic selling a natural resource to another country for less than we pay? Its a complicated topic, because Canadian and US governments have different tax policies to help pay for social initiatives like health care  or defense spending and the like. 

... So did the media cover this oil spill as good as it could have? Probably not. Could it have anything to do with the politics and public view of the Keystone XL pipeline that is being pushed on us by big oil? Probably.

{end rant}


  1. Hey Dwayne... I think you have some insulted Great Horned Owl chicks on your post. :) I might actually have plans in the works to visit Peele in a couple weeks. I might be making a day trip to Sarnia. Any chance I can bump into you?

  2. Brian, lol... Those owls did look upset, but I swear they were 20m up in a tree directly over a jogging path at Malden Park. Two dog-walkers and a runner went by me in the minute I spent observing them.



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