Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Swans, eagles and construction again

Swans and geese at the Aylmer Museum viewing area

Tis the season for viewing migrating swans. The above picture was taken at the Aylmer Museum viewing area (Aylmer Museum link). There aren't usually the same number of swans there as along Greenway Drive, but because they are fed shelled corn at Aylmer, the birds tend to stay around longer.  

Speaking of Greenway Drive (Lambton Museum link), we paid it another visit on March 16, and were rewarded by the largest body of swans we've ever seen:

Here's a link to a 2-minute video with some slides and movie clips brought together. The video is a beginner effort for me, but does capture some of the noise and activity of the day. Watch the background in a couple of the video clips, you'll see masses of swans arriving to the area.  Swan Viewing link

We're also dropping in on the Bald Eagle nest periodically. The female appears to be brooding eggs still, so not visible very often. Today though while I was waiting, the female took off from the nest for a short break. I missed getting a picture of her takeoff, but got a couple of her return just a few minutes later:

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the campground near to us is working to protect their eroding shoreline. We had seen a vehicle carrying smaller rocks down that way:

There are also some larger rocks being placed individually. That's a large loader, and it only took one rock at a time:

And down at the shore, some careful placement:

Here at the Mews, the Activity Center roof is sheathed now. Construction has been a bit slow lately for various reasons, but there are bursts of activity, making progress:

Friday, March 11, 2022

Swans, Eagles, and Mews construction update

This week the migrating Tundra swans started to reach Southern Ontario in larger numbers. On Wednesday we took a drive to our regular viewing area, on Greenway Road (Info and Map link). While not yet at their peak, at least several hundred swans were in the area, resting up on their journey to the southwest.



This year one of the photographers was from CTV London:


He interviewed several people, including us. Imagine how surprised we were when people started telling us they saw us on the CTV London evening news! An associated article also included a couple of our pictures that we emailed him, at his request. I guess that's our 15 minutes of fame.  :))

We also managed to get a few more pictures of the nearby nesting Bald Eagles. They are taking turns incubating the eggs right now, so a lot of the time it looks like the nest is empty, as the incubating adult is quite low in the nest. 

At shift change though, there's more action:


Once the eggs hatch, my understanding is that the female takes on all the nest duties, while the male goes hunting and brings prey back to the nest for the female and nestlings. There is more frequent visible activity then, and the female is also more visible on the nest once she has to make room for growing eaglets.

Mews construction progressed this week. Only 3 days of activity, but roof trusses go up quickly, and change the look of the new building:

While on a walk on the nearby sideroad, we saw this unusual vehicle trundling back and forth with loads of rocks:

Clearly empty in this direction, the rocks are likely being used to help build up the shoreline at the nearby campground waterfront.





Saturday, March 5, 2022

Spring is in the air

Port Franks opening up

In the spring we look forward to seeing some of the large numbers of migrating Tundra Swans that stop over in Southern Ontario. We haven't seen any yet this year, but about mid-March is usually the peak. If you're interested in swan viewing, here are some links you might be interested in checking:

- General Tundra Swan migration information link from the Lambton County Museum: Lambdon County Swan info

- Swan sightings in the area this year: Lambton Swan calendar

- Similar Swan calendar from the Aylmer Museum: Aylmer Museum Swan info and calendar 

The Lambton Museum area is across from The Pinery Provincial Park here in Ontario. Viewing is mostly from nearby roads. The swans feed on leftover crops in the flooded fields.

The Aylmer area is near the Aylmer Police College, south of Aylmer. They feed the swans there, and have an enclosed raised viewing platform for viewing them in the large pond. 

In earlier years we've also been able to view a pair of Bald Eagles nesting and raising young, just a few minutes drive from our home. The eagles are back now, and updating their nest high up in a large tree. We can't see down into the nest at all, so don't know how far along the nesting is yet:


If you are interested in more eagle nesting information, here's a link to some interesting facts:  Eagle Nesting info

Through the winter we've enjoyed various views of the lake, some from our walks to a nearby lookout: 

And some from the Bayfield beach:

Bayfield beach and pier. Nice to see families out enjoying it.

The beach will need some restoration work again this year

Switching to Mews News- last fall the concrete base was poured for the new Activity Centre (officially the Hearthstone Project I think) here at the Bayfield Mews (Bayfield Mews link). Construction of the building started this week. Most of these pictures were taken from our living room window, with just a bit of zoom lens:

Materials arrived Monday Feb 28

3 experienced workers make fast work of framing


A bit of snow didn't slow them down much


Applying exterior insulation



By Friday, it's starting to show the final size and shape