Opinion Column

BIRDWATCH: Many sightings at Lake Dore

Ken Hooles

By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

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This year, the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists' Lake Dore excursion held on Saturday, Oct. 31, was successful in terms of weather, participants and birds. This had to be the mildest weather that I have ever experienced on this walk. Though cloudy, the temperatures were reasonable and there was no wind, making for a very calm, wave-free surface on the lake. Twelve individuals participated on the excursion and were rewarded with the sighting of 30 bird species. This is about the average normally found on this late October excursion.

As this trip concentrates mainly on waterfowl as well as on those birds that can be found along the edges of the lake, the group was able to identify an amazing 16 waterfowl species. These included Canada Geese, Mallards, Pied-billed Grebe, both Red-necked and Horned Grebes, both Common and Hooded Mergansers, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, White-winged and Black Scoters, Bufflehead Ducks, Common Loon, Wood Duck and Redheads. The group also identified three Gull species including Herring, Ring-billed and Bonaparte Gulls.

The main highlights of the excursion were the sighting of Redheads, American Bald Eagle, Bohemian Waxwings and both Black and White-winged Scoters.

Other interesting sightings included a late Green Heron, Wild Turkeys, Pileated Woodpecker and some late Robins.

Notably absent were any of the rare waterfowl like Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-throated Loons and Long-tailed Ducks. Other absent birds included any late warblers, shorebirds, and Northern migrants like Pine Siskin, Snow Buntings and Common Redpoll.

In all, the Lake Dore excursion was a successful event in terms of the weather during the excursion, the excellent number of bird species and the good nature of those who participated. This excursion remains one of the club's more challenging events. The Pembroke Area Field Naturalists would like to thank Christian Renault and Rob Cunningham for leading this event.

On the local scene, the fall migration is still in process with the main activity now on our lakes and in our fields, as evident from the many waterfowl species seen on the outing. In the fields, the inclement weather brought down many Geese, but I have not received any reports of Brant Geese or recent sightings of Snow Geese. There are also several Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks now passing through our area.

We are still awaiting the arrival of many of the Northern migrants. Lake Dore is obviously a great place to bird watch as many of the Northern ducks and Grebes have arrived. I have also received some reports of small groups of Snow Buntings, Dark-eyed Juncos, American Tree Sparrows and some early Bohemian Waxwings in the area. We still await the arrival of Common Redpoll, more Pine Siskin, White-winged Crossbills and both Evening and Pine Grosbeaks.

In addition, we have not received any reports of Northern Shrikes or Northern Owls yet. Expect the arrival of some of our Northern Gulls at the local landfill site.

On Oct. 27, Vince Agnesi of Sheenboro observed a flock of Snow Buntings and the area's first fall report of American Coot in his area. Nice sighting Vince!

On Oct. 31, Manson Fleguel informed me that he too spotted a flock of Snow Buntings around the Palmer Rapids area and on this same day, he also sighted a flock of 250 Sandhill Cranes in the Lapasse area.

Finally, on this same date after the completion of the Lake Dore Excursion, Rob Cunningham of Barron Canyon Road observed a male Barrow's Goldeneye on Lake Dore. This duck is quite rare for our area and is only found in the fall. Nice find, Rob!

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