Sunday, June 9, 2013

Skunk's Misery OFO Trip

This posting is about the Skunk's Misery OFO Trip that took place on June 2nd, 2013. I'm a week late posting about this trip, but it just so happened that my Rondeau Trip the following day (Monday June 3rd, 2013) was a little more blog-worthy. Skunks Misery [map] is a one of the largest remaining tracts of Carolinean Forest in southwestern Ontario. According to Thames Talbot Land Trust: "The heart of Skunk's Misery is a 1200-ha complex of old-growth hardwood forest and swamp in Middlesex County, connected by wooded ravines to the Thames Canadian Heritage River to the south."(TTLT)

Our group met up at the Newbury Hospital and quickly proceeded to the first Skunks Misery forest path (Near Concession Dr and Sassafras Rd). Our first hour seemed to be the most productive. Some highlight birds seen were:

Chestnut sided Warbler
Golden winged  Warbler
Blue winged  Warbler
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Eastern Towhee
Indigo Bunting
Ruby-throated Humingbird
Black billed Cuckoo
Yellow billed Cuckoo (heard)

Scarlet Tanager
Hooded Warbler
Mourning Warbler (heard)
Red eyed Vireos
Pileated Woodpecker (flyover)
Acadian Flycatcher (heard, but not seen)


Our group did not see a Cerulean Warbler this year.  We heard but did not see an Acadian Flycatcher, although I ended up seeing one the following day at Rondeau.

I had a chance to meet two birders on this OFO trip:

Paul Nicholson, who writes columns for the London Free Press:

And Tianna Burke who expertly found a Tree Wood Frog and showed the OFO group. She was mentioning that she has a blog. Check it out! . I was pretty amazed to hear that both Paul and Tianna were fans of Nerdy for Birdy!

Out-of-focus Tree Wood Frog
After the Skunks Misery walk, the group went on to Ridgetown and Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. I believe they saw White winged Scoters which was really late and out of place for that species. Blake and I agreed to break away from the group to try and find some grassland species from an area near Strathroy Ontario, just 20 minutes northwest of Newbury.  We were hoping to find Upland Sandpipers and Grasshopper Sparrows, but no such luck on this trip.

Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlard, Horned Lark, Eastern Kingbirds, and lots of Rock Pigeons were around. I was hoping to see Grasshopper Sparrows, but no such luck this time. I must have looked at 100+ sparrows through my binoculars or scope... But this is how birding goes...There are no guarantees. If you want guarantees, you need to go to the zoo or an aviary. :-)

There were thousands of Rock Pigeons around... I wonder why?

Our group leader had a summary report mentioning about 75 species seen during the afternoon. A good day with some great birders! Be sure to read Paul's Writeup on this trip, and Blakes!

Good birding!

TTLT, "Skunks Misery", Thames Talbot Land Trust, ND, WEB, June 9, 2013,


  1. Hi Dwayne,

    The photo of the frog is actually a Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus).

  2. Sounds like you had a great outing! I'm curious on the origin of the interesting name?

  3. Dwayne,

    I think you mean Blue-winged Warbler at the start! We did not have a Golden, which is now rare. There was also a Mourning Warbler.
    Tianna's frog is a Wood Frog!

  4. Great re-cap Dwayne!! Thanks for mentioning me, I'm just in the midst of writing up mine now too! At the Sewage Lagoons we actually saw a Surf Scoter! And it was fantastic meeting you, always so awesome to see who's on the otherside of the blog. Hopefully we run into eachother again!



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