A Day of Frustration - 02 Jan 2022


I kicked myself for not chasing the Greater White-fronted Geese at Crosswinds Marsh yesterday. So, when they were refound this morning I decided to make a run to look for them. 

I first stopped at Sigler Rd. where 93 GWFG were reported yesterday. I found a flock of Tundra Swans at the location but nothing else. I did not expect them to still be around, but was hopeful. It was now time to turn around and head to Crosswinds Marsh.

Taking Sigler Rd. to Exeter I needed to drive with care as last night's snow (2") created ice-covered roads. Approaching Oakville-Waltz Rd. brought a flock of American Tree Sparrows, but little else. I parked at the corner of Exeter and O-W Rd. and scanned the SE corner of the landfill but saw no evidence of the Snowy Owl that was also seen yesterday. 

The fields east of Clark Rd. were empty. Yesterday there were hundreds of Canada Geese and the Greater White-fronts. Another flock of American Tree Sparrows flooded across the road in front of me, and a male Northern Harrier floated across the road in the opposite direction. I could only watch it drift off to the east as the lighting was poor this morning (light flurries and 25F).

The Arkona Rd. marsh was bustling with hundreds of Mallard and Canada Geese, but no GWFG. I took solace in seeing a dozen Northern Pintail but was disappointed, nonetheless. Continuing on Arkona to Haggerty I stopped long enough to count 8 Bald Eagles floating over the closed landfill.

American Crows were the only highlight of the drive down Haggerty Rd. Twenty-two birds were roosting in the trees on the passenger-side of the car. Deciding to make another loop around the landfill I drove back Oakville-Waltz to Clark and headed back around. No geese. I headed home feeling defeated.

After lunch a post came across What's App that the geese were refound near Arkona and Clark. I decided to go back. Driving down Clark from Willow Road I scanned the fields to the east but saw no sign of life. Worse, the marsh at Arkona Rd. was now near-empty with only a couple of Canada Geese, Mallard and a pair of Mute Swans

The American Crow flock had now grown to 60 birds so I took a few pics of the roosting birds. I'd get home and find that my camera was somehow reset to ISO 64 so everything was blurry as I shot at 1/25 sec at 600mm. 

To make things worse I drove down Clark Rd. and saw Bonny P. standing in the road with her camera. I pulled up to her only to learn that I had flushed the Northern Shrike she was trying to photograph. Crap. Never saw the bird. Time to head home. I'm so sorry, Bonny. :(

Seeing a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a wire I was able to pull over and take some photos from inside the car. Again though, the ISO was at 64 so all of my images were soft. I managed to recover a couple of frames, though. 

I'd go home to learn of Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings and Cedar Waxwings being reported in the same area I had just come from. Oh, well.  When it rains, it pours...

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