June 19, 2009
Carden Plain... WoW!
Thursday June 18th had us going up to the Carden Plain area which is up past Sutton and near the town of Kirkfield. The weather sure wasn't looking promising, even as we got in the van shortly after 7am. It was agreed that we were going unless a monsoon, hurricane or tornado struck.
Carden Plain is deemed an important area for birds and over 200 species migrate and nest to this very large piece of land. I must add that this area is not a conservation area; it is all privately owned land. There are small roads you follow and can easily view birds about the fields and forests. Very few vehicles travel these roads so it's not too big of a deal to pull over and get out to have a look. Most of the properties are fenced and signed, asking the curious to please respect their property and not tread on it. You should make yourself aware of what "Poison Ivy" looks like as it grows in abundance in the area and much of it is right off the side of the road.
We spent over 9 hours in the area and most of it was along one lengthy stretch of road. My last count had me seeing 32 species of birds and more than half were all new to me. Binoculars sure helped my experience as the camera couldn't get everything and many of the birds do not co-operate in allowing me to photograph them by staying still or moving in close. The dark skies of the day didn't help my lighting situation. I got so many silohuettes of birds missing their colors.
The species list for us included Eastern Meadowlark, Boblink, numerous Eastern Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warblers, Chestnut Sided Warbler, Common Yellow-Throat, Savannah Sparrows, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Turkey Vultures, American Gold Finches, Common Snipe, Red Wing Black Birds, Brown Headed Cowbirds, Clay Colored Sparrow, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Jays, Phoebes, Northern Flicker, Upland Sandpiper, Gray Catbird, House Wrens, Grouse, Blue Heron, Black Capped Chickadees, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Common Grackles, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, and a massive Osprey nest. I have a number of mystery birds too, even in pics and have yet to identify. Lastly we saw a pure black bird, about the size of a RWBB but it had no markings of any sort... just black black black, be it beak, wings, crest, breast, back, whatever. It was too far off to get a shot.
I now would like to share some of the photos I got, showing the birds I saw... and I plan to make Carden Plain a yearly, if not more, visit. It's not that far off from Toronto.
Enjoy! Clicking on the individual photo should blow it up to a very large size for better viewing.
The Brown Thrasher!
A pair of Eastern Bluebirds
Great Crested Flycatcher
Osprey and nest... the male wasn't impressed with me getting out of the van to take their picture. I am just glad he didn't swoop down and tear my face off. They nest right on top of a light pole at the side of the highway... wow!
Next time I do plan on a search for the Loggerhead Shrike. A small bird of prey who has unique ways of killing since it does not have talons. It will eat small birds but also grasshoppers and larger insects. Here is a photo is one that I did not take. They are a rare species of bird with declining numbers.