Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Evening Paddle

After a day spent putting together a slide/swing set for the kids in the backyard I decided to take a short paddle after supper. The kayak was on the roof so it took 5 minutes to grab the lifejacket, paddle etc and I was on the road. I launched at the little beach on the east side of Bowmanville harbour, a five minute drive from my house. I did not bring my camera with me. I don't like chancing geting it wet and sometimes having a camera distracts you from what is going on around you. Sorry, no photos to go with this post!

The lake was quite calm with a slight swell, except when the fishermen were returning to the harbour for the night. Then for a few minutes there was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I paddled west into the setting sun and then returned back to my vehicle just before sundown. Just a quiet evening paddle but with a few little bird sightings of interest. The first was a young Trumpeter swan, with a wing tag. I first paddled past it at a distance of about twenty five feet. I assumed it was a Mute Swan as there are numerous pairs of the non native bird nesting in the West Side marshes of south Bowmanville. As I got closer I realized it wasn't and also noticed that it had been wing tagged. I could see the yellow tag but all the numbers were hidden. Later as I returned to the vehicle I saw the swan up on the shore being hand fed by some residents. Obviously the bird is fairly tame. I would be interested to know where the bird came from. I know they are nesting in various areas in Ontario such as Wye Marsh, but am not sure where the nearest area to Bowmanville is. If I could read the tag I would have reported it and found out the provenance of this bird.

The second interesting sighting was a male Oldsquaw or Long-tailed Duck. These are birds that nest on the Arctic tundra and seeing one here on the great lakes in mid July seems out of place. It may have been an injured bird incapable of flying north to the breeding grounds. It was close by to another non breeding bird, a common Loon, probably a yearling or a non mated bird as there isn't suitable nesting habitat at this end of Lake Ontario.

As I returned to the launch spot I was just about to shore and was going around a low cement structure ten feet from shore and realized that I was being watched by a Spotted Sandpiper.It was staying on the far side of the cement but was only five feet from me and never did fly. An excellent opportunity for a close up look at this little bird.

As I loaded the kayak on the roof the sun was a giant ball of red in the sky and by the time I got back to my house it had slipped below the horizon. A nice relaxing evening paddle!



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