Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Currie Tract

Last Friday, as a result of the considerable kindness of a fellow TOC member, Mark Field, I was able to visit a new birding destination in the GTA (Milton to be exact). As always, I get so swept up in the busyness of this city that when I finally get a day to go birding, it's always a great experience (relaxing, rewarding, refreshing...*insert other 'r' words that apply*).

The Currie Tract requires a vehicle to get to so I was at the mercy of my host who had visited the area a few times in the last couple months in hopes of finding the Prairie Warbler that has been reported there frequently this spring/summer. We didn't find it of course, but we did get some other goodies along the way.

Before I get to that though, I'll describe the park a bit first. From what I could gather, the area is connected to a conservation area and consists of a primarily deciduous forest next to a prairie-like, grassy habitat that stretches along for quite some distance underneath enormous hydro poles. The hydro poles constantly emit a humming energy that somewhat alarmed me at first but Mark assured me that you get used to it. Eventually I forgot the pressure in my ears but every once in a while I would think about it again or look up and feel like I was being microwaved.

It was all worth it though as we ended up getting some really good sightings in. The highlights included a singing Mourning Warbler, missed by me in spring, that was sickeningly cooperative. As we were listening to it sing, I suddenly remarked that there were two birds! To our disappointment, it ended up being a Tilly-hat toting dude with a tape player, relentlessly playing the song of the Mourning Warbler and getting it to close in on the trail.

Next up was a singing Blue-winged Warbler even though I was now wary of any songs as they could have just been a machine instead of the real thing. However, we eventually spotted the bird; another extremely cooperative fellow that showed off for quite some time.

I'm happy to have discovered the area and hope to get back there again sometime (next time, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and food are musts).

Day List (counting the moment we started to drive to the moment I was dropped off):

Canada Goose
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo (seen and heard)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
American Redstart
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Total Species: 47