Sunday, 24 May 2015


I’ve made mention of Tiny Marsh on occasion in various of my postings and writings. It’s a place that I used to haunt for inspiration, walking and sketching in all kinds of weather. The good old days as I like to call them.

I should explain that Tiny Marsh is so named because it is located in the township of Tiny, Simcoe County, in Ontario. It is not a tiny marsh, nor is it huge, but should you wish to walk and hike around it be prepared to spend several hours doing so.

Views of Tiny Marsh
Nowadays, just as soon as the ice cover retreats, we travel out to the marsh to catch the first glimpse of the spring bird migration. First come the mated Canada Geese, even before the ice has gone off of the marsh. Competition for nesting sites is fierce. It’s first come, first served. Then come the waterfowl, and just as they’re leaving to head further north and just as the trees come into flower, the first of many species of songbirds arrive. Everything takes place within a few weeks so, during that short period of time, we race about from Tiny Marsh to nearby Awenda Provincial Park to identify the various bird species as they migrate through our area. Only a few species will decide to stay and nest. Most will migrate through our area on their way to Canada’s Northern and Boreal Forests.

Spring this year was late in coming, and even into May the cold continued slowing the flowering of the trees, which had the effect of slowing the migration. As a consequence the number of species that we were able to identify was down considerably from previous years. Still, we managed a respectable number…..

Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, American Bittern, Coots, Pied-billed Grebe, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Wood Ducks, Ring-neck Scaup, Gadwall, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Ring-billed Gull, Common Loon, Common Tern, Killdeer, Lesser Yellow-legs, Spotted Sandpiper, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawke, Northern Goshawk, Marsh Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Broad-winged Hawk, Horned Owl, Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Pewee, Phoebe, Least Flycatcher, Tree Swallow, Crow, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, American Robin, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Veery, Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Solitary Vireo, Northern Parula Warbler, Blck-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rump Warbler, Canada Warbler, American Redstart, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellow-throat Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Oven Bird, Red-winged Blackbird Rusty Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Starling, Northern Oriole, Northern Junco, Cardinal, Purple Finch, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Rose-breasted Grossbeak, White-throated Sparrow, White-crownde Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, ……

It’s May 23rd as I write this. The migration is all but over. It would seem that the birds came and travelled through our area in the night despite the cold weather. The selection of mates and nesting sites is well underway. We’ll continue to add to our list as the summer goes on, but in comparison to past years the songbird migration seemed pretty sparse. Weather, urban development, changes in farming practices would seem to be taking their toll on our songbirds. Genetically engineered crops designed to kill insects, and over-spraying of pesticides as the insects develop resistance, does not spell good things for birds, and we animals alike. Hard to believe that three months from now the migration south will begin. Time does gallop........

AUNTS & UNCLES - Canada Geese     Hand-coloured Etching

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