Thursday, 25 May 2017

Tuesday Rambles with David - West Perth Wetland, Mitchell, ON

23 May 2017

     Not having visited Mitchell for a few months we decided to make that our destination for our regular Tuesday walk. All the regulars were present, except for Judy, and for this outing we were joined by John Pringle, an avid and highly accomplished bird photographer from Britain, a friend of Kevin Grundy with whom he is visiting.

     As you can see, John has a lens bigger than most people's ambitions!
     Our old friend Curtiss MacDonald was visiting the West Perth Wetland that day and joined our group too.
     Originally a sewage treatment plant, this area has been transformed into a wetland which attracts a wide range of birds, and features a substantial shorebird presence during spring and fall migration.

     Most of the northbound shorebird migration has already occurred and the southward movement has not yet started, but John managed to capture these stunning images of  a lingering Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla.

     One quickly appreciates what a skilled photographer with the right equipment and a full complement of patience and skill can do.
     John was no less successful with this male Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas. 

     Francine had never had a really good look at a Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis so we felt it our bounden duty to serve one up for her.

     Red-winged Blackbirds Agelaius phoenicius were seen and heard wherever we walked, males defending their harems.....

     ..............and females gathering nesting material and in some cases already feeding young.


     It was a pleasant surprise to see three Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis in one of the ponds.

     There were many, many Canada Geese Branta canadensis with young - always a delightful spectacle.

     Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia, as might be expected, was ubiquitous.

     Of the three species of swallow we observed Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor was far and away the most common.

     Near the end of our walk we saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheuticus ludovicianus.

     Eastern Kingbird Tyannus tyrannus  was the default flycatcher for the day.

    Miriam heard a Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii and John was able to get a picture.

     Francine captured a picture of our group.......

     ........ and it's not hard to see that we all have fun on these weekly outings. Mary was back with us for the first time in a few weeks and we were all delighted to welcome her back into the fold.
     I haven't decided where we will go next week, but I can assure you that we will have a wonderful time together.

All species: Canada Goose, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Kildeer, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Downy Woodpecker, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch.  Total: 30.


  1. How wonderful to be part of such a lovely, friendly group. The bird photos are wonderful and have to say I am a tad envious of those wonderfully long lens'.

  2. What a delight to see smiling faces, happy bunch.
    The birds are just magic. Photos are great.

  3. Hello David,
    You could photograph beautiful different birds.
    It must be great to get along with this grope.
    Best regards, Irma

  4. What a wonderful set-up you have there with your group, David. I get the impression that most birders in UK aren't quite so gregarious - and perhaps a bit too competetive - for it to work on a weekly bais here. Years ago I used to join in with a small group led by one of the most knowledgeable birders I've ever met. Sadly he started leading us places that I was finding difficult to manage because of the number of fences and gates he had us climbing over. I gave up after I ripped my jeans climbing over one barbed-wire fence. I still miss those sessions, however.

    Love and best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

  5. David,every time I see your wonderful post,makes us thinking about doing another trip,this post like all your post is mouth watering brilliant.

    1. Hi John:
      When you come to visit we will make you an honorary member of the group.

  6. Wow what a fabulous day out and some great photos. I love that little Song Sparrow it is cute but some of the other birds are more colourful. Have a great weekend Diane

  7. Tuesday's outings are one of the best part of my week! Thank you for being so tenacious in looking for the Savannah Sparrow for me! Beautiful bird! Now I can add it to the list of sparrows I can identify! I am learning so much, and having so much fun with this group!

    1. It sure is fun to have you along, Francine. See you shortly at SpruceHaven!

  8. Beautiful park with many different birds.

    Beautiful series that made David.
    Greetings Tinie

  9. Don't those Brits just have the biggest ever David? Nice to see many of your birds now in prime condition eg. Savannah Sparrow, far froma little brown job. And of course the Common Yellowthroat. Nice list you had for that outing - keep it up.

  10. I thought you were in Australia when I saw the post title........

  11. Hi Both, firstly your Barn Owls have four Owlets and still one egg to hatch, brilliant. Wondered as to where you were visiting upon seeing the board and such a wonderful array of birds for us to see, particularly like the Common Yellow throat and the Red winged Blackbird. Super post, All the best John

  12. What a wonderful collection of photo's.
    Lovely to see all the smiling faces in the group photo ... but the birds were magnificent!

    All the best Jan

  13. You have fun on those 'rambles' and you see birds everywhere! Lucky friends. Those reclaimed wetlands are so wonderful; I am so grateful for them.

  14. A wetland that already seeing the first panoramic photo of the place one imagines that will be very promising. The images of various species confirm this, very interesting variety of species you saw that day