Opinion Column

BIRDWATCH: Annual Lake Dore event slated for Halloween morning

Ken Hooles

By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

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The next Pembroke Area Field Naturalists' excursion is the annual Lake Dore event. This will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, at 9 a.m. The focus of this trip is waterfowl, but an occasional songbird is sometimes seen along the brushy shoreline. Some of the exciting species that have been seen in the past on this excursion include Red-throated Loons, Tundra Swan, Brant Geese, American Coots, the three members of the Grebe and Scoter families, and both Common and Red-breasted Mergansers.

If you are interested in attending this event, please meet your trip leaders, Christian Renault and Rob Cunningham, at the Wilberforce Township beach and picnic area. To get there, travel south on Highway 41 over the Snake River bridge and then take the immediate next right into the park. For more information, please feel free to contact Rob at 613-732-8402.

Elsewhere on the local scene, the fall migration continues with the arrival of several of the birds that were still up north. These included Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Winter Wrens, Hermit Thrush, and early Dark-eyed Juncos. The next arrivals should include White-crowned and American Tree Sparrows and some of our winter birds like Snow Buntings, Pine Siskin, and Northern Shrikes. We are also getting inundated with Canada Geese as well as the odd Snow Goose, and with some luck, the odd flock of Brant Geese. There are also several flocks of Sandhill Cranes passing through our area. The American Pipits are just arriving and will soon dominate our plowed fields along with Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs.

On our lakes and rivers, there are large numbers of Common Loon and Horned and Red-necked Grebes arriving from the North. In the next few days, there will be more duck species from the North, and hopefully, a few more late shorebirds and perhaps some Tundra Swans.

At your feeders you should be seeing several of the regular winter birds now such as Black-capped Chickadees, both Nuthatches, both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and of course Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, and Finches. This is also a good time to start filling your bird feeders if you haven't begun already, as there is always the possibility of a rare bird at this time of year. For example, in the past we have had Varied Thrush, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Summer Tanager, Western Kingbird, and other exciting finds. It is a great time to be birding!

On Oct. 8, Rob Cunningham and I were very fortunate to spot a rare Hudsonian Godwit feeding along the Westmeath Park shoreline. This large shorebird only passes through our area and Ontario during a short period of time in October. Most years, it is not seen in our area as it generally passes through during the night. It is only the third time I have ever seen this bird.

On Oct. 11 Ron Bertrand of Pembroke observed eight American Pipits sitting on a wire in the Cobden Lake area. The best place to observe these birds is along our beaches, and eventually, in plowed fields. Nice find, Ron!

Finally, on Oct. 12, Allan Mills of Elizabeth Street informed me that several White-throated Sparrows have arrived in his back yard. He also has several of our regular fall and winter birds including Black-capped Chickadees, Common Grackles, Mourning Doves, White-breasted Nuthatches, and House Finches. This is a nice variety of birds.

Please call me with your bird sightings and feeder activity at 613-735-4430, or email me at hooles@bell.net. For more information on future club events and related nature links, I refer you to the Pembroke Field Naturalists' website at www.pafn.ca.