I went back to Petrie Island the following day, July 3, 2011, to look for Blue Dashers and conduct a count. I started at the marshy area along the west side of the causeway where I observed two male Blue Dashers perching on vegetation above the water, occasionally flying out to chase another insect. I also heard a pair of Virginia Rails calling from among the cattails, and managed to coax one out into the open by playing a recording of its song. I wish that all of the rails were so easy to see! A Great Blue Heron and a single Wood Duck were also present, and again I saw a Green Heron flying to the back of the marsh. There was no sign of the Black Tern I had seen the previous day.
The weather has been terrible this month. Until Saturday, I had only been able to get out birdwatching once so far, back on March 1st when I spent a short lunch hour at Hurdman. Since then, two storms have dropped a combined total of about two and half feet of snow on Ottawa, and the most recent storm was followed by a day’s worth of rain which has left the city a soggy, sodden mess. Then I was hit with a sinus cold which left me without the energy to go anywhere even on the rare few days when the sun came out.
When I woke up on Saturday, the sky was still gray and gloomy, but I was tired of being cooped up inside and wanted to get out and work on my March list, which stood at a paltry 19 species. Since I still wasn’t completely over my cold, I figured I would stay out just long enough to add another 10 common species to my month list. If I could find a few of the Red-winged Blackbirds that had been reported, so much the better, but I was sure I could come up with at least 10 birds in the agricultural area between Kanata and Richmond, with a stop at Jack Pine Trail as necessary.