Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Carden Alvar, near Toronto, 18 -19 July 2005,
Birders with a weekend in the Toronto area should consider a short trip north of Toronto to the Carden Alvar Important Bird Area (IBA). This area is approximately 200 km north of Toronto and has a wide range of habitat, in particular grasslands, and a very high concentration of birds.
An excellent web page covering the Carden Alvar IBA is at: www.ofo.ca/CardenAlvar
The directions in this web page are very good, as are the recommendations for specific locations where birds are likely to be seen. The only comment I can add to this information is that this region is extremely popular as a weekend retreat for Toronto residents during summer. We did not make hotel reservations because we were unsure of our final itinerary, and by Saturday mid-day we were distressed to learn that nearly all hotels in the area were fully booked. We were fortunate to locate the last room available at a small local inn near Orillia.
Our visit to Carden Alvar was short, and shorter than expected due to a delayed flight into Toronto. We ended up having only Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning in the area. Further limiting our birding was rain that began Saturday evening and continued through part of Sunday morning. Despite this limited time, we were able to see three of the target birds we were looking for (Sedge Wren, Virginia Rail, and Whippoorwill) on Saturday; partly because of the rainy conditions we did not see any of the target birds we were looking for on Sunday (Black-billed Cuckoo, Mourning Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Henslow’s Sparrow). Nonetheless, we did see a wide range of birds in the area, and more would certainly be possible under better conditions.
Because we had such a short visit, this list is only a snapshot and may not be representative of what could be seen under better conditions or a longer visit. In addition, this trip was made in mid-summer, when the birds may have been past the peak breeding period and therefore quiet and more difficult to locate.
Wood Duck (one female)
Wild Turkey (many, including six juveniles, along Alvar Road)
Virginia Rail (several along road)
Upland Sandpiper (only one)
Whippoorwill (on Alvar Road)
Eastern Kingbird (everywhere)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cedar Waxwing (several groups)
Common Yellowthroat (at Sedge Wren site)
White-throated Sparrow (along Alvar Road)
Two birds possibly seen but not solidly identified: