PAUL ROEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Wildlife and Nature Photography

Good Birding Report: London, Ontario
March 6-13, 2015

Eastern Chipmunk emerging form the snow.

Warmer temperatures this past week had several first of year species present across the city, including this Eastern Chipmunk.

The abundance of waterfowl present on the Thames River continues to be what area birders are drawn to and talking about. Thanks to this week’s warmer temperatures, most of the previously ice covered sections of river are now flowing. While this has resulted in a decrease in the concentration of ducks, the variety of species remains impressive. This week I added to my growing list of waterfowl observed this year on the Thames River with: a pair of Wood Ducks, a pair of American Wigeon, a lone Ring-necked Duck, and several American Coots. Although they are more spread out, all of the diving ducks mentioned in previous posts are still present.

Male and female Northern Pintail.

The variety of dabbling ducks increased on the Thames River this past week. Among the dabblers present are Northern Pintails.

A complete list of waterfowl I observed this past week is as follows:

  • American Black Duck
  • American Coot
  • American Wigeon

    Female Common Goldeneye taking a break from the strong current of the Thames River.

    Female Common Goldeneye.

  • Bufflehead
  • Canada Goose
  • Canvasback
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Merganser
  • Greater Scaup
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Northern Pintail
  • Mallard
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Redhead
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • White-winged Scoter
  • Wood Duck
Male Harlequin Duck flying up the Thames River London, Ontario.

Male Harlequin Duck in flight.

For birders along the Thames River, the Harlequin Duck continues to be the big attraction. Everyday as I walk the river, fellow birders can be heard asking each other if they have seen the duck. My last sighting of the Harlequin Duck was Thursday afternoon, upstream of the foot bridge to Thames Valley Golf Course. This bird slowly made his way upriver all week from where it spent so much time previously, downstream from the old pump house. Despite walking the entire stretch of river from the outflow at Greenway Park to the Sanatorium Road bridge on Friday, I was unsuccessful at locating the Harlequin Duck. The last report to eBird, at the time of writing this, had him present in front of the London Canoe Club late Thursday.

American Coot swimming on the Thames River.

American Coots are among the variety of waterfowl present on the Thames River.

With warm temperatures and south winds, I expected to see more migrants show up this past week. Although I did read reported sightings in our area, I was surprised not to personally observe any Red-winged Blackbirds or Common Grackles. We should see increased numbers of blackbirds in the coming weeks. While scanning the Thames River for waterfowl at the old pump house, I heard the distinct call of a Killdeer. Looking out over the water I observed the bird fly across and set down on the recently thawed sand bar on the far bank. Watching through binoculars, I could see the Killdeer foraging in the wet sand. I also observed my first Eastern Chipmunks of the year this past week, one in my backyard and two in Springbank Park.

Early spring is an excellent time to get out birding. With so many resident species, plus the overlapping of incoming and outgoing migrants, the variety of birds around at this time of year can be quite impressive. Also, the increased temperatures we are experiencing have made birding conditions more comfortable. Next week is March Break, a great time to get outdoors with kids and introduce them to nature. For those of you not heading south, get out and enjoy the remaining overwintering birds that can be found across the city, and those returning from their wintering grounds.

Good birding,
Paul

 

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2 Responses to “Good Birding Report: London, Ontario <br> March 6-13, 2015”

  1. Gillian

    Hi Paul, I was surprised not to see any blackbirds in Ottawa this week either, what with the warmer temperatures and southerly winds mid-week. Nor have there been any eBird reports so it’s not just me! The only migrant I have seen is Ring-billed Gull – they disappear in January and February and return with the first mild days of spring. Yeah, they only go as far south as the St. Lawrence, but it’s still a sign of spring!

    The forecast doesn’t look too promising over the next week, but hopefully the gradual increase in temperatures will bring in some new birds!

  2. Paul Roedding

    Hi Gillian,

    I agree, the forecast does not look the best for the coming week. I have heard several reports of large numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds in Lambton County, so they are not too far away. Still plenty of great waterfowl on the local river to enjoy and more dabblers showing up almost daily.

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