Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 53 of 67

52 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 Ontario's Birding Trail Blanding's, snapping, and Midland. A Gray Catbird ducking in and out of the twigs of a fallen tree is the first bird I see as we start out on the Prairie Glade Trail, one of the park's four trails. "This trail will bring you through a ma- ture Pinoche woodland", Tom says. "Some n left : Eastern Kingbird. Photo © Jenn Smith Nelson n below : Barn Swallows. Photo © Jenn Smith Nelson n The South Coast Birding Trail isn't an actual trail—it is a series of hotspots that can be explored by hiking, biking, walking, or driving. Map © John Allendorf of the trees are 150- to 200-year-old, old- growth oak trees." The smell of fresh rain fills the forest. "What's that noise?" Finn asks. "That's a Blue Jay squawking", Tom an- swers. The park is stunning with everything in full bloom. Mayapple plants that mimic little palm trees litter the forest floor along- side white-flowered woodland anemones. Interested and curious, Finn asks all sorts of questions and Tom happily re- sponds. Patient and passionate, between noting bird calls, Preney shares fun facts with Finn. Near a bridge, he points out a Blackburnian Warbler hanging out in the fork of a cottonwood tree. The warbler is followed by a Tufted Titmouse. "That bird has a mohawk!" Finn says. Preney scatters some seed, inviting the action to our level. Soon, two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a White-breasted Nuthatch, and a Black-capped Chickadee swoop down. As they gobble the seed, we all hear a splash. Bumping against the side of the bridge, I have just sent our binoculars into the water. We recover them quickly, but day one has claimed its first victim. Carry- ing on, birdsong competes with the high- pitched trills of American toads and croaks of western chorus frogs, making for a me- lodic musical backdrop. "I hear a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher," says Preney, who calls it in with a "bshhh bshhh bshhh bshhh". The gnatcatcher calls back as the zee zee zuzi zee song of a Black-throated Green Warbler nabs our attention. I'm in heaven, but Finn has slowed down. Tired from the day, he complains his legs hurt, likely from recurring grow- ing pains. A herd of white-tailed deer runs ahead of us as we finish up the rich nature experience at a pond where we find red- eared sliders, another turtle species. Arriving at our accommodations for the night, the Holiday Beach Conservation Area, Finn sees his first Northern Cardinal. "It's so red!" he exclaims.

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