It has been a busy week so far, so I’m just getting to posting the weekends’ birding events! Although the weather is still feeling wintery, it was time to go out in search of the Tundra Swans returning to the Arctic. It’s has been an annual event for us to pack up the car and the kids and drive to the cornfields outside of Grand Bend to see them. And it’s a tradition we still continue even though the kids no longer join us.
As we were driving along we caught sight of a Snowy Owl, 19th sighting this year! We might have driven right past, it was so well camouflaged, except for the fact that our eyes were drawn to the 3 crows that had been harassing it. Along the way we noted dozens of Horned Larks still loitering on the roadsides and in the fields.
We finally started seeing signs of Tundra Swans descending into the fields as we got close to the lake. We did not see as many as we had in previous years, only a few hundred at this point. There did seem to be a lot of water in the fields even though Lake Huron and many of the rivers were still ice covered.
While the fields near Lake Huron were thawing out and the snow had been disappearing, the lake itself was still frozen and there are still snowy dunes covering the beach. We noticed a coyote way out on the ice.
We also spotted a Bald Eagle that was flying toward the lake and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks and Wild Turkeys in the fields as well as quite a few Turkey Vultures. And on the trip home we spotted our first Northern Shrike. The pictures are a little blurry because it was quite distant but it’s still clearly identifiable.