Last week, I took a trip home to Leamington for the Easter Weekend and, without much effort, saw some good spring birds there. The highlight by far were the high numbers of Tundra Swans in the onion fields north of Pelee (Concession D) and also flying over at various locations. Also along Concession D were Northern Pintails, new for my year list, and a few of the usual suspects. I tried Wheatley Harbour for Canvasback and a pink-billed Greater Scaup Marianne told me about but all were MIA. I was also pleased to get out to the countryside to see good numbers of Grackles (not Boat-tailed as a poor Ontbirds poster accidentally reported!), Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins, Killdeer, Horned Lark, and a few others, all of which are virtually absent within Toronto. This weekend, I'm probably going to try to find some Bohemian Waxwings flocks that are being reported frequently from Leslie Street.
On a personal note, last Monday marked the anniversary of my grandpa's passing last year. Although he was suffering from dementia in his last few years, I could always count on him immediately asking if I had seen any good birds every time I visited him. When he was still at home and I had to call from Guelph, he would tell me what birds he had at his feeder, always with excitement in his voice. Above all though, his favourite bird was the Purple Martin and he maintained martin houses for years. He took me birding quite a few times when I was younger to Wheatley Harbour, Hillman Marsh, and Holiday Harbour. I could tell he enjoyed the trips as much as I did.
My Grandma, Mom, and I visited his resting place in the early afternoon on Monday. As we were getting out of the car, a large flock of Tundra Swans in 'V' formation flew over the graveyard singing their melancholy notes. It's the kind of moment we used to love sharing together. When you simply have to stop, forget everything around you, and admire the flock in silence.