Two Spring Birding Outings

By Angus Inksetter

Saugeen Nature members generally undertake two outings in the spring to seek migrants returning to our area. The first of these usually takes us north of Scone to the flooded fields along the Sauble River in the Grimston flats area and north of Grey Road 5. This year, just for a change, we decided to look along the Rankin River system at Isaac Lake and where Bruce Road 13 crosses the Rankin. Eleven people made the trip on April 30th, including one from Owen Sound Field Naturalists and one from Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, and had a most enjoyable day. Highlights included two active osprey nests, one of which was occupied by three adult birds, eight duck species, a very late lingering rough-legged hawk, and a pair of Caspian terns as we were leaving Isaac Lake. Birds were not exactly thick on the ground (or on the water) but the expansive wetlands along the river combine with the open fields and woodlands bordering it to make a great variety of habitats to explore.

On the drive home I travelled through the areas north of Scone where we usually have gone on this outing and realized what a fortuitous decision it was to try the Rankin system this year; there was almost no flood in any of the normally flooded areas, and migrating waterfowl and shore birds were absent. There was one small piece of water in a large flat field north of Grey Road 5 where, in past years, there was always a big shallow lake full of birds. There we saw a handful of ducks, one great blue heron, and a greater yellowlegs, the only migrants we saw along that whole long ride down the county line.

May 14th, 2022, was the second outing, this time to the Kincardine sewage lagoons in search of warblers. The Kincardine lagoons are known locally as “Pelee North”, and this outing truly showed the reason for the name. It was one of those special occasions when the birds were numerous and active; searching was hardly necessary, although we did walk the trail, because one could stay in one place and see all the birds as they came through. Six club members were joined by James Turland, a birder renowned for his expertise. James knew all the bird songs and calls as well as their field marks. It was a great help in finding and identifying the small creatures flitting about in the branches. We spent two or three hours there and it was a magical time. For anyone with an interest in the spring migration of the songbirds this area is one you should be sure to visit. If the time and weather co-operate it is an experience to remember.

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