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2012Sightings in the Windsor Area

Ojibway's current weather is available anytime on the Internet at two sites: Current Weather at Weatherlink and a more comprehensive report at Weather Underground.

You can follow latest news through @OjibwayPark on Visit OjibwayPark on Twitter

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hatch year Saw-whet Owl under a black light © Paul Pratt Saturday, November 17: I have been tardy in updating this page so I have added feeds for Ojibway Park's recent postings to Twitter and eBird postings for all of Essex County. The latter still has some bugs if you are using Microsoft Explorer as your browser (try Firefox or Chrome).

Today's field trip to Holiday Beach C.A. had beautiful weather but a slow raptor flight. Fortunately there were lots of other birds to make up the difference. The Big Creek marsh held thousands of waterfowl including a dozen lingering Wood Ducks and a small flock of Ruddy Ducks. White-winged Crossbill, Red Crossbill, Common Redpoll, American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin were moving along the lakeshore and we manged some great looks at several close White-winged Crossbills feeding on spruce cones. Five Long-eared Owls and a Northern Shrike were other highlights from this morning's outing.

The fall weather has been mostly dry and mild to date. Common Buckeye and Mourning Cloak butterflies were seen up to October 24 and Willow-leaved Aster was still flowering on October 31. Winter finches have been making an appearance at the nature centre feeders with Pine Siskins starting November 2, Evening Grosbeak on November 6 and Purple Finch Novemver 7. A Red Crossbill (type 3) appeared in the front yard of the centre back on September 5 and this was a new species for the Ojibway area. Norther Saw-whet Owls are moving through this area in the largest numbers since the fall of 2007. Over 400 owls have been banded at Holiday Beach C.A. since early October.

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The Birder September: The Birder was being filmed in Windsor this month and the Ojibway Nature Centre and Ojibway Park were shooting locations for this feature comedy film. You might even see park staff in the film!

Ron Spencer, a mild-mannered high-school teacher and devoted birder is thrown into a tailspin of despair after his long sought after position as "Head of Ornithology" at the local Birding Park is given to the young and flashy Floyd Hawkins (Starring Tom Cavanagh, Mark Rendall, Cassidy Renee, Jamie Spilchuk, Tommie-Amber Pirie, with Graham Greene and Fred Willard). Visit the The Birder facebook page for more information.

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Tuesday, August 7: The numer of Great Egrets roosting at Holiday Beach continues to rise. Chip Weseloh and Claude Radley tallied an amazing count of 721 egrets flying into the roost this evening.

Saturday, July 28: Cindy Cartwright counted 664 Great Egrets entering the roost at Holiday Beach Conservation Area between 7 & 9 pm today. She also observed: 400+ Great Blue Herons, 150+ Black-crowned Night Herons, 10+ Green Herons, 4 White Pelicans, and 1 Peregrine Falcon. The egrets were first noted roosting in the large trees along the Lake Erie shore by Kory Renaud the week before. The best views are from the hawk tower looking west.

Saturday, July 7: The results of today's Windsor Butterfly County are posted on our butterfly page. 56 species were recorded and five species were added to the all-time count! We now have a summary table of all 19 counts.

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Blackburnian Warbler photo © Paul Pratt Thursday, May 3: Spring migrants have been flooding back in Ontario over the past couple of days. The woods around the nature centre was full of song this morning from birds such as Gray Catbird, White-throated Sparrow, House Wren, Baltimore Oriole, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo and several warblers such as Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green and Northern Parula.

Spring wildflowers started early this year. Ruth Hart had the following species flowering in the provincial nature reserve on April 20: Early Sweet Blueberry, Yellow Star-grass, Blue-eyed Grass, Hoary Puccoon, Arrow-leaved Violet, Wood Anemone, Merrybells, Bastard Toadflax, Wild Geranium, Wood Betony, Spring Beauty and Balsam Ragwort.

Silver Maple keys are faliing everywhere today. Our Black Cherry tree by the centre is in full bloom while our Pawpaw has dropped almost all its flowers.

Red Admiral butterflies continue to be the most common butterfly observed at Ojibway. Our field trip to Point Pelee on April 25 had eleven species of butterfly including Red Admiral, Question Mark, American Painted Lady, Variegated Fritillary (2), Spring Azure, Eastern tailed Blue, and Black Swallowtail. Birds on the field trip included +60 Surf Scoters flying by the tip, 94 Horned Grebes and 2 Eared Grebes along the east side of the tip. Later that afternoon a Common Raven was observed flying over the park at two locations.

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star magnolia in bloom on March 20, 2012 photo © Paul Pratt

Thursday, March 29: About 14 ha of oak woodland was burned today at Black Oak Heritage Park by Lands and Forests Consulting. This is the earliest date we have ever had a prescribed burn.

Tuesday, March 27: The first dandelions began to bloom on March 21. We also had our first sightings of Louisiana Waterthrush (Black Oak Heritage Park, Tom Preney) and Six-spotted Tiger Beetles.

Unfortunately the first wood ticks of the year were picked up on March 22. Our quince shrub by the nature centre started blooming the same day. By the 25th there were pears, cloudberries, cherries and many other ornamentals in bloom on city streets. A brief stop at the For The Birds Woodlot near Harrow revealed Cut-leaved Toothworts, Spring Beauties, Wild Geranium and Yellow Trout Lily in bloom.

The evening of the 26th was clear and temperatures finally dropped to below freezing. At dusk there was a striking alignment in the western sky with the cresent moon located beside a brilliant Venus and Jupiter directly underneath (photo below).

Tuesday, March 20: The incredible warm spell has continued (28C today) and this first day of spring looks more like a day in early May. Star Magnolia trees and Forsythias are blooming in front yards, daffodils are everywhere, early flowering bulbs such as snow drops and crocus have finished flowering, many trees are in flower or breaking bud. Native species such as Bloodroot started flowering today and Spicebush started on March 18.

Over 50 turtles were up basking in front of the nature centre on March 15. Chorus Frogs continue to call, now joined by Northern Leopard Frogs. Numerous Common Toads were first heard March 14 (April 10 would be an average date for singing toads). The first calling Green Frog was heard today (Tom Preney).

Butterflies that hibernate overwinter such as Mourning Cloaks and Eastern Commas are the first to be seen each spring. In addition to numerous sighting of these butterflies we have had Cabbage Butterflies starting March 17, and Question Mark, Juvenal's Duskywing and Spring Azure Butterflies March 19 (Jeff Larson, Ian Woodfield). There were mating Common Green Darners at our pond this afternoon which is another record early date (Tom Preney).

Wednesday, March 7: Temperatures reached +19C today. A few American Hazel shrubs bagan to flower today and spikes of Skunk Cabbage were spotted. Killdeer and Turkey Vulture were seen flying over the nature centre while American Robins are becoming much more numerous. A presumed pair of Cooper's Hawks were doing their floppy display flights over the woods. Eastern Meadowlark was reported and the first calling Western Chorus Frogs were heard just yesterday.

Thursday, March 1: No snow, no ice and 7C outside, March arrived like a lamb this year. Our first Groundhog was spotted two days ago and Eastern Chipmunks are out foraging. Canada Geese have paired up on the pond and Red-winged Blackbirds are singing everywhere along roadside ditches. Some Silver Maples have been in flower over a week and the rest have fat buds while Snowdrops are blooming in gardens. The first Red-eared Slider was seen yesterday. Snowfall this winter has only been about 40 percent of last year's total.

evening sky on March 26, 2012 photo © Paul Pratt

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Great Gray Owl image. photo © Paul Pratt

Saturday, February 4: Ojibway's birding trip today to Point Pelee felt more like a spring excursion. We had singing Horned Larks over the fields, Red-winged Blackbirds singing from the roadside and Killdeer calling overhead. Other signs of the extremely mild winter included two Turkey Vultures that were seen at the tip along with a Big Brown Bat and Silver-haired Bat. Other notable sightings included Northern Mockingbird, Merlin, Common Redpoll, Long-eared Owl and Snowy Owl. The Snowy was roaming along and east of Road 19 from Concession C north almost to Mersea Road 1.

Friday, February 3: A Ross's Goose was present in the River Canard yesterday along Canard Drive, just downstream from N Townline Road. Cackling Geese were reported here a couple of weeks ago. Large numbers of Canada Geese roost along the river as it has remained ice free for most of the winter.

Here at Ojibway we are starting to hear a few birds sing on the warmer days including Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, House Finch and Carolina Wren. The wrens have been singing all winter unlike most inhabitants of Ojibway.

David D'hondt reported the first Killdeer of the year over Windsor.

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Tuesday, January 31: The temperature rose to 14C (58F) today! Area waterways are largely open due to the mild winter and waterfowl numbers are exceptionally high. Hundreds of Tundra Swans and Canada Geese have been feeding in corn stubble fields south of LaSalle and the open waters of Canard River are packed each evening with roosting Canada Geese. A family group of five Trumpeter Swans was seen on January 21 in the Detroit River (at Lauzon Road) and over two thousand puddle ducks were present in the Big Creek marsh on January 25-28, mostly Mallards but many American Black Ducks and Northern Pintails were also present.

Winter finches have been very scarce. A flock of Common Redpolls were present briefly in LaSalle on January 21 and 12 White-winged Crossbills visited the nature centre on January 26.

Wednesday, January 11: A Great Gray Owl has been present near Kingsville since December 23 (photo above). This is the first great Gray ever to be documented in Essex County and it is receiving lots of attention. Visitors from throughout southern Ontatio, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New Hampshire and Florida have bee flocking to the site along Road #2 just west of town. Great Gray Owl is the largest owl in North America, with a wing span of over 1.3 metres and height of 75 cm (30 inches).

Although the owl appears to be undisturbed by the presence of large numbers of people along the roadside it is important not to disturb the bird or its hunting for food. Please keep well back from the bird if you plan to go out and look for it.

Sunday, January 1: The Detroit River Christmas Bird Count was held today and included the Ojibway areea. Conditions were very wet and the complete lack of snow and ice made finding land birds a challenge. Highlights from the 54 species recorded on the Ontario side of the count included Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, 8 Eastern Bluebirds, 38 American Robins, 3 Northern Mockingbirds and Eastern Towhee.

Canada Goose 474
Mute Swan 7
Gadwall 3
Mallard 100
Canvasback 77
Lesser Scaup 5
Bufflehead 3
Common Goldeneye 27
Common Merganser 191
Red-breasted Merganser 5
Ring-necked Pheasant 2
Wild Turkey - count week only
Great Blue Heron 1
Bald Eagle 2 adults
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Cooper's Hawk 4
Red-tailed Hawk 22
American Kestrel 5
Bonaparte's Gull 37
Ring-billed Gull 389
Herring Gull 8
-large gull species 28
Rock Dove 1378
Mourning Dove 236
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 14
Downy Woodpecker 52
Hairy Woodpecker 5
Northern Flicker 3
Blue Jay 150
American Crow 11
Horned Lark 1
Black-capped Chickadee 72
Tufted Titmouse 17
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 23
Brown Creeper 1
Carolina Wren 9
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 8
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 38
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 523
Eastern Towhee 1
American Tree Sparrow 57
White-throated Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 14
Dark-eyed Junco 202
Northern Cardinal 73
Red-winged Blackbird 42
House Finch 91
American Goldfinch 102
House Sparrow 374

The wet past year smashed the previous record for annual precipitation in Windsor by 341 millimetres, setting a new record of 1,568.6 millimetres in 2011.

 



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Department of Parks & Recreation   
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