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April 17 2022, Carden Alvar

The Pipits: April 17 2022, Carden Alvar 21 Apr 2022 12:52 PM Colleen Reilly (Administrator) Seven Pipits made the journey out to the Carden Alvar, outside of Orillia, on Sunday morning. Five of us travelled up from home well before dawn, driving through a snow storm north of Toronto that was so thick we literally could not see the road. Scary drive, but the destination was worth it!

We arrived at Prospect Marsh before dawn broke. It was lovely... but quite cold. We did hear an American Bittern out in the marsh, saw a pair of Ospreys leave the nest for their first morning flight...as well as a pair of Kingfishers flying around perching nicely for some photos! And one of our eagle eyed members spotted a Porcupine up a tree near the road so of course we walked close and had good views.

The drive up Wylie Road was lovely, with several Savannah Sparrows posing well for us. Up the road past Sedge Wren Marsh we saw movement, and I forgot the "don't leave the car" rule... and as I got out flushed 5 Wilson's Snipes!

We tried at 3 different times through the day to find Loggerhead Shrikes, which had been seen a number of times in the days before our trip, unsuccessfully unfortunately. Well, there was a bird hunkered down in a shrub in the area where Shrike are often seen, and I could just barely see it's back... black feathers blowing in the wind. Not enough of a sighting to call a species but I have a feeling... a Shrike feeling!

And then off we went to the Kirkfield Lift Lock to use the facilities - which were NOT open. Sigh. We are a pack of rugged birders, not a problem. After lunch we headed off to Cameron Ranch for a cold windy hike. No flowers were coming up yet, but we did manage to spot 2 Brown Thrashers that quickly disappeared over the hills in the scrub.

We took a trip up Curls Road as well, which was beautiful. And back to Wylie Road where we still did not see Shrike. But on our way out I received a text from the car that had gone before us - Wilson's Snipe on a post! By the time we arrived, the Snipe had crossed the road and was foraging around very close to the road. Lovely!

All in all, although not very birdy, this was a wonderful adventure, with adventure, scenery, and good company. Thanks all for coming out and making it so much fun!

Note - anyone have ideas on walkie talkies for these car outings? It's challenging for the folks in following cars to know what the leading car is seeing, and not always possible to get out and share the details... I wonder if these might be helpful.

Click here for the eBird Trip Report.

Click here for the Google Photo Album.

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