Spring has Arrived in the Mid-West

9:29 PM

Well, I am back from the mid-west.  For the past couple of days I was in lovely Indianapolis, Indiana.  Indianapolis welcomed us with some strange weather.  Severe thunderstorms, hail (the size of golf balls in some areas) and tornadoes.  While the tornadoes didn’t touch down where we were, never before have I heard tornado sirens.  We were shuffled into the safest part of the building we were in and waited until the warnings were over and the sirens were quiet.  An interesting experience, but not one I care to have again any time soon. 

I didn’t get the chance to much birding.  In fact all my birding was done on the drive to/from Indianapolis; but there were some great sightings.  As soon as we crossed the border into Michigan it was evident that spring had arrived.  Red-wing Blackbirds and flocks Common Grackles were everywhere, this is not yet the case in Ontario.  Swans flew north overhead along with many flocks of Canadian Geese.  By far the best sightings were the Sandhill Cranes migrating overhead.  Once I got to Indy I heard Northern Cardinals and Song Sparrows singing their hearts out.  I even heard a Leopard Frog calling from a pond.  The Canadian Geese in Indianapolis were already paired off and defending their individual territories. 

I did hear about a very interesting sighting from a birder while in Indiana.  Apparently a Hooded Crane (native to Asia) recently turned up in Indiana.  The birder I spoke to saw the crane in a field with several Sandhill and Whopping Cranes.  For more details on this rarity please see the below links:

I can’t wait for spring to arrive here in Ontario!  It’s not far away I saw my first Red-wing Blackbird on territory in Vaughan and several White-crowned Sparrows at some local feeders.

The best moment in Indiana for me was a new personal sighting.  During a break along our drive I spotted several Eastern Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger).  It’s always exciting to see something new and it’s not every day that you get to add a new mammal to your life list! 

Eastern Fox Squirrel, picture courtesy of Wikipedia
Good birding!

~ Kristen Martyn

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