Friday 10 November 2023

Zion Road Raptors and Birding

 Last week I had the pleasure of heading down to Zion Road near Wheatley for a day of birding.  I picked a day that had strong northwest winds, with hopes it would funnel birds to the lake shore and right over my head.  The weather was forecast to be clear at my destination, and I set out from Fergus at 430am.  I ran into some wicked snow squalls near London, but nonetheless made it to my destination for just before sunrise.  To look at this location you might not expect to see many birds, it is just like any other dead end road that meets the Lake Erie coast, but when the winds are just right, magic can happen along the shoreline!  

As I arrived, massive flocks of blackbirds zipped overhead, with many other song birds interspersed.  If I had to give an estimate I would say there may have been somewhere around 25-50,000 blackbirds (mostly redwings and grackles) that passed me by during the morning.

The first raptors to start flying were Sharp-shinned Hawks that liked to hug the edge of the bluff and the odd Northern Harrier, as well as 2 Short-eared Owls!  Around 1030am the raptor flight began in earnest, with a constant conveyor belt of hawks, vultures, and eagles going over.  Other highlights included 2 different Golden Eagles!  Below are some of my favourite shots of the day:

Short-eared Owl

Eastern Bluebird


Yellow-rumped Warbler

Cedar Waxwing

American Pipit

Greater Yellowlegs

Horned Lark and Lapland Longspur

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Bald Eagle in the clouds over the lake

Red-tailed Hawk

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk

Golden Eagle #1

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Sjarp-shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Golden Eagle #2

Cooper's Hawk and crows

Cooper's Hawk and pesky crow

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