Friday, February 8, 2013

A Visit to Desjardins Canal

I had two really great lunch trips to Desjardin Canal in Dundas this week.  Tipped off by Joanne Redwood in Hamilton Birders Group that there were American Wigeon and Redhead ducks there, I decided to try a trip there in my limited lunch hour.

Desjardins Canal freezes very late, often never.  I am quite sure that this phenomenon is connected to the Dundas waste-water treatment plant located just northwest of the end of the canal and I'm sure outlets here.  The sections of the canal still there today are remnants of what put Dundas on the map and made it prosperous, initially much more affluent than Hamilton for a time.  It extended from Hamilton Harbour's York Street high bridge all the way into Dundas through Coote's Paradise, completed in 1837.

But this is isn't a history blog :).  My first lunch trip on Wednesday didn't seem to be very successful at first.  There were a pair of Hooded Mergansers nicely swimming in tandem, a great shot for someone with a further reaching lens than mine for a nice shot though.  Lighting was a challenge, the sun shining brightly, for the most part, from across the canal.

Mallard and Hooded Merganser pairs.

I walked some of the canal shore, and sent hundreds of Canadian Geese skyward.  Notice all the birds in the distance of the first shot that are all gone in the second.  Because of the scrub in front of me, I couldn't really capture the size of the flock in the sky.  Needless to say, it was very noisy for the next 15 minutes while they all slowly circled and then finally landed in small groups again!

100's of Canada Geese sent aloft by me. 
Here are a few shots of geese as they did flyby's before landing again.

Canada Goose symmetry.

I did finally spot some other birds beside the many geese including a Double-crested Cormorant, 

There were some Common Goldeneyes there, and what I think was a first winter bird along with a more mature one.

first winter Common Goldeneye?

I did finally get to see one new bird though (life bird #109) though - a Pied-billed Grebe.  They are very cute little diving bird and in a large raft of geese and ducks, is easily missed even though they are easily distinguished by their small size and unique shape.  This was the best shot I could get, as it's quite shy and again, the lighting was not good.

Pied-billed Grebe
I bumped into Barry Cherriere (sp?) for the second time in half year and despite his search for me, could not turn up the Wigeons or Redhead for me.  He had just seen them 15 minutes before seeing me.  However, I was happy to have seen the Grebe and planned to return the next lunch to see if that would do the trick.

I'll fill you in on that visit in my next post (this one is getting too long!)

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