The day after the BioBlitz, I visited a place I hadn’t been to in a long time: the marsh on Moodie Drive near Nortel. It’s a good spot to find Willow Flycatchers, Marsh Wrens, Least Bitterns (though I personally have never seen or heard one here), Alder Flycatchers and rails. So far I haven’t even heard a Sora yet this year, let alone seen one, and I was hoping to find one at the marsh.
It was a bit cool when I left, with a couple of light showers passing through; I thought I might have to turn around and go home, but fortunately the rain had moved on by the time I reached the parking lot on Corkstown Road.
On June 11, 2011, I participated in a BioBlitz in Russell, and spent the morning surveying an area which has been proposed for a new landfill. The people who organized the BioBlitz, many of whom live nearby, were interested in finding out how many different species of flora and fauna are present, and whether any are considered at risk. This area is mostly agricultural, with some forested areas and open, grassy fields. Bobolinks inhabit the grasslands and were of particular interest. This species, which nests primarily in hayfields, pastures, and wet prairies, has been declining in recent years because of loss of habitat, pesticides, climate change and farming practices. Farmers are cutting and mowing hayfields earlier in the season, and as a result, mowing-induced nest mortality has increased dramatically over the past 50 years.