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Places To Bird This Month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Terry Spraque   
Jan 01, 2018 at 09:00 AM
THE STINSON BLOCK - A BIRDING WORLD ALL BY ITSELF
 
(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )
 
 
A tiny section of the Stinson Block at the base of the Bald Head Peninsula. Photo by Terry SpragueI have a friend in Trenton who regularly birds a block of land west of the village of Consecon known as “The Stinson Block” (lower right hand corner of photo) . He often comes up with a phenomenal list of birds seen in this relatively small area, and I can well understand his fondness for birding there. For many years, the Stinson Block was my assigned area for the Presquìle Park Christmas Bird Count. I got to know many of the rural residents who owned property there and enjoyed wandering over the fields in search of birds when conditions were suitable. After birding it for so many years, it wasn`t long before I became familiar with all the little nooks and crannies that produced good birds.
 
Bordered on the north side by Weller’s Bay, the west and south sides by Lake Ontario, the block of land is for the most part, typically rural. Except for its south shore, the countryside doesn’t seem to have been gobbled up by houses, and in the early morning, one can still take a leisurely drive around its perimeter and enjoy roadside birding without seeing a single vehicle, until later in the day.
 
On its west side, there is still a fair length of shoreline that has not yet seen any development, and access to the shoreline is relatively easy. If snow is not deep, there is a handy little laneway that takes you down to the Lake Ontario shore, located near at the base of the Bald Head Peninsula National Wildlife Area, a six kilometre sand spit that ultimately ends up at Barcovan. However, most of it is owned by the Canadian Wildlife Service and access is restricted due the presence of unexploded munitions when the site was once used as an experimental bombing range. The base of the spit itself near the entrance is also privately owned. But access is not needed since the sand spit is generally quite sparse in birdlife, and view of its shoreline can be had from other convenient points. It is here, if one dresses warmly, great success can be had in viewing waterfowl flying back and forth along the lakeshore. Long-tailed Ducks are generally most numerous, interspersed with common goldeneyes, buffleheads and white-winged scoters. The accompanying photo at the top of the page shows a corner of the Stinson Block near the base of the Bald Head Peninsula (depicted in lower right portion of photo) at the end of Edward Drive where there is access to Wellers Bay. This marsh, even in winter, can be productive, and I have found Swamp Sparrows, Marsh Wren and Snowy Owl there, along with a variety of diving ducks in Lake Ontario.
 Although the west shoreline of the Stinson Block can often be rather forbidding in winter, it can produce phenomenal numbers of ducks. Photo by Terry Sprague
East of there, off County Road 39, is Edward Drive. Access to two boat launches can be gained here where different areas of Weller’s Bay may be accessed. Here, if it is still open in winter, the waters are more sheltered and waterfowl can often be viewed. Both boat launches are unmarked, but easy to find. The first one is about half way along and is quite visible from Edward Drive, providing access to the bay from its west shore. At the end of Edward Drive, the quasi-launch is maintained by the Friends of Weller’s Bay, and it is here where you can find WATERFOWL enjoying the sheltered waters on the lee side of the Bald Head Peninsula sand spit.
 
Following County Road 39 to the Stinson’s Block’s, back along its south shore, the road passes between two large woodlots. On one corner, there is a roadway that ultimately leads to the lake again, but if you park your car here, great birding success can be had by walking along the roadside and enjoying the wealth of birdlife that exploits the sheltered areas. It is here where you can often find American Robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers in the thickets. Pileated Woodpeckers, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers have also been found here, along with most birds that are common to such environments. One of the most unusual birds I ever found here was a Blossom-headed Parakeet cavorting about with a flock of Blue Jays! However, its appearance wasn't a surprise since I was aware of an escapee from a home not far from there.
 
Partridge Hollow Road, farther along, offers some interesting opportunities too as it passes over a creek and through some great habitat, before coming out onto Highway 33. If you take Arthur Road which branches off from it, the road eventually dead ends at Lake Ontario, at the northern tip of North Beach Provincial Park. If the weather has been mild, North Bay may be open where waterfowl can also be found, and it is possible too, to hike on down North Beach and explore possibilities there.
 
Common Goldeneyes are apt to turn up wherever there is open water, including the mouth of Consecon Creek where it borders the solid ice. Photo by Derek Dafoe of BellevilleAnd don’t forget to park somewhere in Consecon, and wander the streets there. If you are desperate for House Sparrows, they are around, but not in the numbers they once enjoyed. You might also see a lone Belted Kingfisher surveying Consecon Creek as it meanders through the village. Further on, off Highway 33 which runs along the east side of Consecon, there is the Norris Whitney Dam which usually contains a bit of open water, and a stretch of the Millennium Trail that runs off Salem Road and in behind some houses where concentrations of feeder birds often harbour. Taking the Millennium Trail in the other direction, northwest, you have some additional viewing opportunities along Weller’s Bay before the trail starts to leave the shoreline, and head toward Blakely Road and Gardenville. Don`t overlook the mouth of Consecon Creek where it empties into Wellers Bay as the open water there can change daily as to what may be found. The best access is from either of the side streets that lead down to the water from the Main Street. Usually a few waterfowl species hanging out here in the creek and along the leading edge of ice at the mouth of the creek. 
 
Great spot for winter birding. Try it sometime. Let me know how you make out.
 
 
 
(Photo credits and descriptions of photos can be seen by "mousing over" each photo. )
 
Last Updated ( Jan 03, 2018 at 02:12 PM )
 
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February 24, 2018 2:49 am