Saturday, May 28, 2022

ALMONTE ONTARIO

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Diana’s Quiz — May 28 2022

QUESTIONS 1.  In which shipyard was the HMS...

STEM & VR summer camps at the Library

Exciting STEM & VR Summer Camps at...

Multi-Household Garage Sale, May 29

SUNDAY, May 29 8:00 a.m. to...
Science & NatureRare blackbird spotted at Almonte lagoons

Rare blackbird spotted at Almonte lagoons

The Almonte Lagoon and Nature trail, across from Auld Kirk cemetery on Ramsay Concession 8, has been the recipient of several rare birds over the past few years. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) Potvin Observation Tower provides a platform with views across the lagoons.

Photo 1 1427772_960_720
A female Yellow-headed blackbird. Photo source: Free stock photo provided by Akiroq Brust to https://pixabay.com/en/female-yellow-headed-blackbird-1427772/

On Saturday morning, August 13th, a Western bird, a juvenile male yellow-headed blackbird was spotted by noted Ottawa birder Mark Gawn, feeding on the exposed mudflats and hiding in the cattails. Immediately the signal went out over the birding networks and area birders began pouring in to get a glimpse of this rarity. At one point in the morning, a peregrine falcon zoomed in over the lagoon like a marauding spitfire and scared all of the shorebirds and the blackbird away, but within half an hour, the rare visitor returned, much to the delight of those who came to observe the bird and log the sighting in their records.

Photo 2
A juvenile male yellow-headed blackbird photographed August 13th from the observation tower. The bird was in the distance on the mudflats; a positive ID was later made. Photo by Mark Gawn.

The yellow-headed blackbird has a range across the west from Lake Michigan, with a few coming into the Point Peele area around Windsor. An inch larger than our most familiar red-winged blackbird, the adult male is all black with a brilliant yellow head and chest. Most distinctive is a white wing patch. The adult female has a more mottled yellow head and chest and does not show a wing patch.

The Almonte lagoon and Nature Trail sports an observation tower overlooking the fence and berm. The tower, named for its donor Al Potvin, was erected by MVFN several years ago and the nature trail leading to the tower is maintained regularly by MVFN members.

Having this excellent site and access trail in our area is of great value to local birders and others, and also has value for the local economy. In an economic study of the facility done in 2015 by MVFN member Cliff Bennett, a questionnaire was sent out all across Ontario through the ONTBIRDS network to gauge the dollar value of this magnetic draw of rare shorebirds and other birds coming in to rest and feed during migration. The results showed that during the year, 88 people had visited the lagoon, making a total of 265 visits. While in town, they spent over $4000 on gasoline, food and other shopping.  Today, the Lagoon and nature trail is regularly visited and reported on by the Ottawa birding network as well as local birders.

If you have not yet visited this facility, watch for MVFN’s series of September Open Houses at the Potvin Observation Tower. These will be held on four Wednesdays in September, i.e. Sept 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2016. From 3 to 5 P.M. on each of these days, an expert birder will be on site with a spotting scope to help you identify the lagoon’s visitors.

Submitted by Cliff Bennett, MVFN Past-President

Photo 3
Nearly a week later (August 19), rain has flooded the area; but on August 13th the exposed mudflats at the Almonte Lagoons were teeming with birds, including the rare yellow-headed blackbird. Photo Pauline Donaldson
Photo 4
A platform provides views across the berm, and a place to set up a tripod or spotting scope. Photo Pauline Donaldson

 

 

 

Related

FOLLOW US

Latest

From the Archives