BIRDWATCH: Naturalists excited for upcoming Pembroke Marina/Waterfront Walk

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The next Pembroke Area Field Naturalists’ excursion is the Pembroke Marina/Waterfront Walk to be held on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8 a.m. It is hoped that the water damage to the walkway and area during the spring will not be too detrimental in finding birds on the walk.

Normally, this is a good walk to enjoy migrant bird life along the Pembroke waterfront. There are usually terns, gulls, ducks, shorebirds, and several songbirds such as Vireos, Warblers, Sparrows, and Finches. As well, the odd surprise bird occasionally shows up.

It should be noted that the route from the marina will be the same as last year. This year, we will look around the marina then walk or travel by car and park near the new washrooms close to the bandshell area. From here, we will follow the bottom of the old railway tracks to the far corner of the Algonquin College parking lot, continue along the back trail, and then reconnect with the Kiwanis trail. Then, back to our cars. These areas are usually good for fall warblers and song birds.

If you are interested in attending this event, please meet me at the Pembroke Marina at the mouth of the Muskrat River at 8 a.m. It is a great walk for meeting fellow birders, and usually, to see or hear a variety of fall birds. After a couple of years with low sighting numbers, last year was a good year for finding birds; perhaps this year we will break the marina record of 58 bird species. For more information, please call me at 613-735-4430.

Elsewhere on the local scene, the fall migration should be starting for our resident warblers, songbirds and sparrows when they will begin to form small pockets in the woods and along the river edges. Some of the warblers will be changing into their confusing fall plumage soon, making them more difficult to identify. The Yellow Warblers will be one of the first species to migrate south sometime towards the end of August or the first week of September. On the Marina Walk, we are hoping to find some of these pockets of birds with northern migrating warblers, vireos, and sparrows.

We also hope to find some migrating shorebirds. The shorebird migration started a few weeks ago across Ontario. While the shorebird activity has been very slow in our area, parts of southern Ontario as well as Ottawa have been quite busy with the sightings of Least and Semi-palmeated Sandpipers, Killdeer, Semi-palmeated Plovers, Dowitchers and Black-bellied Plovers. I am hoping that on this year’s Marina Walk, the river may be low and some of these bird species will be spotted on the sandpits at the mouth of the Muskrat River.

Back on July 16, Jay and Linda McLaren of Mountainview Road in Pembroke were quite excited to find a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree close to their house. Nice sighting, Jay!

The next day, Lucas Amyotte spotted a Northern Bobwhite in the Chalk River area. This is probably an escapee or released bird, as these birds are not natural for our area nor do they migrate. Every two or three years, one or two of these birds are sighted and often near human dwellings. Sometimes other game birds like Chukar and Pheasants are also found around this time. This may suggest a private release or private game hunt somewhere in the county.

On July 19, Nancy Thomas of Osceola sighted a family of Green Herons in a tree in her yard beside the Snake River. These birds have been very prolific this year, and large numbers have been sighted in various parts of the county.

Lawrence and Lorna Thomas of the Eganville area have recently spoted Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Eastern Bluebirds and Upland Sandpipers. The Upland Sandpiper, formerly known as the Upland Plover, is becoming quite scarce in our County.

On July 23, Lynn Romhild of B-line Road informed me that she has three Merlins nesting near her cottage. She relates that they are quite active and very noisy. These small falcons appear to be doing quite well in our area.

On July 25, Shirley Jones of Clement Street was quite excited to see a Peregrine Falcon sitting in a tree beside her home. This bird must have been hunting Pigeons in the neighbourhood. Nice sighting!

Finally, this is a great time to catch up on the provincial rare bird sightings for the month of July. These included American White Pelican (Ottawa), Northern Mockingbird (Pembroke), Snowy Egret (Wallaceburg), Loggerhead Shrike (Napanee), Orchard Oriole (Amherst Island), Cerulean Warbler (Canoe Lake), Piping Plover (Presqu’ile), Eurasian Collared Dove (Hamilton), Fish Crow (Hamilton), American White Pelican (London), Cattle Egret (Bruce County) and the best a Cinnamon Teal in Fort Francis.

Please call me with your bird sightings and reports at 613-735-4430, or email me at hooles@bell.net . For more information on upcoming nature events and other links to nature, just Google the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists’ website or like us on Facebook.

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