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March 2010 Sightings in the Windsor Area

chorus frog photo by Russ Jones
Chorus Frog

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Monday, March 29: Here is a summary of spring arrivals over the past two weeks: HERPS: Northern Brownsnake (Ojibway) by K. Fawdry and Butler's Gartersnake on March 18 by R. Jones.
Midland Painted Turtle (March 16, T. Preney) and Red-eared Slider (March 11, T. Preney).
American Toad (seen March 28 but not calling) by P. Pratt.

BIRDS (reports by Fred Urie unless otherwise noted) Yellow-belled Sapsucker (March 8, Malden Park), Winter Wren (March 10, Tallgrass Prairie hertiage Park), Eastern Bluebird (March 10, Tallgrass Prairie hertiage Park), American Woodcock (March 13 by Brad Hamel), Fox Sparrow (March 14, Ojibway Nature Centre by K. Fawdry), Eastern Phoebe (March 17, Malden Park), Tree Swallow (March 18, Spring Garden Natural Area), Hooded Merganser (March 18, Malden Park), Eastern Meadowlark (2 on March 24, by Brad Hamel), Golden-crownd Kinglet (12 on March 27 at Spring Garden), Eastern Towhee (2 on March 28 at Spring Garden), Fox Sparrow (6 on March 28 at Spring Garden).

WILDFLOWERS: Flowering species include a few Skunk Cabbage at Ojibway and Malden Park, American Hazel shrubs, Pussy Willows, Red and Silver Maples. Betty learmouth reported Harbinger-of-Spring in bloom along River Canard on March 25.

Monday, March 15: Ojibway's birding trip to Hillman Marsh on Saturday was dominated by large numbers of waterfowl. We had 22 species of ducks, geese and swans. The open waters of Hillman Marsh held large numbers of Common Mergansers and wet corn stubble fields hosted Canada Geese, Tundra Swans and large numbers of puddle Ducks. A small temporary pond at the east end of Concession D held a Sandhill Crane and 12 species of waterfowl including Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Redhead and Canvasback.

Saturday, March 13: Brad Hamel found a Gray Catbird yesterday along the Turkey Creek bike path (either an overwintering bird or an extremely early migrant). Thursday Dan Loncke had an Eastern Meadowlark at Point Pelee and there were several Turkey Vultures seen flying over Ojibway. American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds are now widespread. The first Western Chorus Frogs were singing in the nature reserve Thursday, and today we lost the last patch of ice from the pond in front of the nature centre. On March 9 we had both Mourning Cloak and Eastern Comma butterflies reported (John Beneteau, Brad Hamel).

Monday, March 08: Another warm sunny day today and the snow continues to disappear. The pond is still frozen but should be starting to open up soon. We have had numerous reports of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles appearing over the weekend (Dan Loncke, Tom Preney, Paul Pratt), first Killdeer on Saturday (Mark Hamel), our first Eastern Chipmunk sightings on Sunday (Tom Preney) and first batch of baby Grey Squirrels (nesting in an owl box). Pussy Willows are showing nicely and Tom Preney photographed Skunk Cabbage over the weekend.

Wednesday, March 03: Despite the snow covered ground thare are signs of spring beginning to appear. Two Pine Siskins were present at the nature centre's feeders today. These are likely returning migrants. Yesterday a dozen American Robins flew over the centre, our first spring migrants. On Monday park visitors discovered an Eastern Gartersnake curled up on a small patch of bare ground, surrounded by snow in all directions.

Monday, March 01: Galileo published Sidereal Messanger 400 years ago today and forever changed how we look at the universe. These were the first published telescopic observations of the solar system. Visit SkyNews magazine for upcoming celestial events and early spring observing tips.

Whirlpool Galaxy, image taken at Windsor's Hallam Observatory

 

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