Sarnia Bound

With the break in the weather and feeling a little cabin-feverish after a couple of weeks of lousy colds, we decided to head to Sarnia. We were hoping to see some Snowy Owls. We decided to take #402 after Ailsa Craig and saw many hawks, some dark morph Rough Legged and some Red-tailed. And we noticed a number in pairs sitting in trees as well.
We walked along the waterfront at Sarnia by the bridge and were delighted to get the chance to see the huge numbers of  Long-tailed Ducks wintering there. There were definitely thousands of them!

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You can get an idea of the numbers if you glance beyond the ice!

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It was hilarious to watch them landing in the water. They looked very clumsy, almost as though they were doing belly flops.

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There were also a few Red Breasted Merganzers swimming and fishing nearby.

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We decided to drive home along the Blackwell SideRoad and made note of the extensive walking trail there for another trip. We didn’t see any other birds until we hit the roundabout on the Lakeshore Road. (which, of course, we ended up going around about four times to get a nice shot. Naturally, the first one was the best!)

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We were disappointed not to have spotted any Snowy Owls and headed back from the lake near Exeter. It was a lovely sunny afternoon with cloudy periods. And just before dusk our constant field and telephone pole and fence post scanning rewarded us with the sight of not one, but three Snowy Owls.

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The first was sitting on Mount Carmel Road on a telephone pole beside the road and then flew off to a pole across the field.

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We drove along for about another ten minutes when we saw a second, smaller Snowy Owl again on a telephone pole beside the Thames Road. However as we stopped to take a look it flew across the highway to perch on top of an old windmill.

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It sat there for about 5 minutes and then turned and flew low along the field behind the Windmill. As we watched it from the nearby sideroad another bird flew towards us! At first we thought it was a huge gull, but no, it was a third Snowy Owl! It seemed to be flying right at the car, but finally it swooped up and into the tree directly above us!

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It was the first time we had seen one of the Snowies in a tree and it seemed to be having some difficulty staying on its perch as the wind was picking up. However it was still there when we left.

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This brings our total count of Snowy Owls to five for this year! (The one that I saw from the highway coming home from Toronto is iffy so we won’t count that one.) So the Snowy Owl irruption is really making for a lot of sightings in Southern Ontario!

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