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Saturday, August 15, 2015
Lots of great birding and nature-watching in Perth County these days...
I headed down to the Dolan this morning for the first time in many weeks. I thought it very much a longshot, but recent eBird reports from other parts of the province had me thinking "Olive-sided Flycatcher" -- a species I still need for my fundraising "Big Year" for Carolinian Canada. Well, lo and behold, just five minutes in from the John Street parking lot there was a proud-looking Olive-sided Flycatcher perched at the tip of a branch atop one of the two large dead trees on the south side of the path. That's species #268 of my goal of 270 for the Carolinian Life Zone of southern Ontario.
Other sightings amongst the 34 species at Dolan this morning included a Great Crested Flycatcher, a couple of Eastern Wood-Pewees, two Great Blue Herons, a Spotted Sandpiper and a Blackburnian Warbler. A Beaver appears to be embarking on a major watershed management project just upstream from the O'Loane bridge, and there was a big Snapping Turtle just west of the John Street bridge.
West Perth Wetlands in Mitchell have been hopping for the past couple of weeks, with ideal conditions in the first cell near the parking lot. Amongst the 11 species of shorebird on Wednesday, August 12, was a Wilson's Phalarope (photo: https://flic.kr/p/x1GZj1) and a long-staying Stilt Sandpiper. Also present were four Great Egrets and a Caspian Tern. There have also been several recent sightings by other birders of an immature Peregrine Falcon, and on August 5 there was a Baird's Sandpiper (#267 for my Big Year).
Merlins attempted to nest in an old crow's nest above our driveway, but abandoned it during a day of noisy nearby construction in late May. The good news is that they moved down the street, and at least one fledged young was bombing around our neighbourhood in early August.
Other local sightings have included a dead Opossum on Romeo Street across from the dump a couple of weeks ago. The same day there was a female Hooded Merganser at the City of Stratford Stormwater Ponds, as well as a Caspian Tern, a few Least Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs.
And a female/immature Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited our blooming Cardinal Flowers last week -- a new bird for our downtown garden.
And fall migration has barely just begun!