Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Eared and Some Notes

I started at Rondeau first thing this morning.  It was a day for getting exercise as it was dead as a doornail with regards to birds as we sometimes say!  The prevailing weekend east winds were certainly not welcome or helpful.

Birdless?

For warblers, there was a total of five Yellow-rumped in the park (two of those heard only) LOL.
The section of Harrison Trail North of Bennett had several Hermit Thrushes, a few Fox Sparrows and a few White-throated Sparrows.  It seemed to be the busiest part of the park.

Unco-operative Fox Sparrow

Pileated Woodpeckers have been quite visible and vocal in the park lately.  Probably at least four pairs around.

I had the park somewhat covered by 09:30, so I headed over to Blenheim Lagoons.  Quite a bit of stuff to sort through there.  On the way in, a Spotted Sandpiper was along the edge of the first pond to start off the shorebird list.

I picked out the first Eared Grebe of the season in pond 3.  It was too far away to get a photo though.
There may have been two Horned Grebes present, but this one came in close unlike it cousin.



The sprinklers have been decent for shorebirds with dozens of Pectoral Sandpipers and Dunlin present.  Also one Lesser Yellowlegs.


Most of the Dunlin were preening in the grass quite camouflaged:



I took a walk at some spots north of Wallaceburg this afternoon.  A pleasant day to be out in any case.  The two Yellow-rumped Warblers were still at Brander Park (they came earlier last week) so that tells you something.
I happened to find this meadow crayfish at Reid.  It seemed quite large.

Something we do not see too often anymore as all the pastures have disappeared.

Some wildflowers are starting to bloom, such as this bloodroot.


No doubt things will really get rolling by the end of this week. Yellow-throated Warbler will show up on Monday..??...

Merlin from Friday

I wonder if there has ever been a Merlin at Merlin?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Point Pelee: Quality Not Quantity

Point Pelee was today's destination where a couple of quality birds made up for lack of migrants.  The cold ENE wind early this morning did not help matters for expecting new migrants.
Firstly, I stopped briefly at De Laurier to watch birds flying overhead.  A couple of Common Loons made an appearance among other things.  It is sometimes a nice spot to stop and look first thing in the morning.

Some of us headed to the Tip.  Finally I saw a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher for this year.


After seeing very little at the Tip, I walked north with Mike Tate and Bob Cermak through the centre up to Woodland Trail. A bit after the first bridge, Mike spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler above the slough.  It was moving fast, but I did get decent looks at it.  Impossible to get a photo though!  We never saw it again after it kept moving north.

Adam Pinch joined us for a walk up to the campground and back west beach parking lot.  It was virtually birdless!  Still lots of snow on the west side and you can see all the shrubs and trees broken off due to the weight of the snow.


After a warm-up in the VC, Adam Pinch and I walked Tilden's Wood's and north to Chinquapin.  No tanagers or parts thereof were found.  Along Chinquapin, we met Josh and Kory who had just seen a Black Vulture about ten minutes previous.  It was heading south, so it was bound to head back north.  That area has been all cleared out and a few birds were around including Eastern Bluebirds.  Actually a nice spot.  
We waited, and sure enough about 20 minutes later we saw the subject vulture towards the west.

The bright morning sun made it stick out quite nicely.

Heading back south through Tilden's (another Louisiana Waterthrush was at the boardwalk area), we ended up at the VC parking lot for lunch.  Bob Cermak managed to spot the Black Vulture heading south once again.

I stopped at De Laurier after lunch and walked the small loop.  As far as I know the Henslow's Sparrow was not found today despite several people looking. It was certainly a very bright one!


On the way home, I drove by Hillman shorebird cell and spotted an immature Glaucous Gull high over the road.  There were lots of large gulls in the cell, so it may have come out of there.

Nothing else of note....I hope things improve soon!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Birding

Things are picking up, albeit slowly.  I headed down to Rondeau first thing this morning to check out what birds might be around.  I met up with Steve and we did quite a bit of walking.  Unfortunately very few birds had come in, but at least it was nice to be out to try for some.
Warblers were difficult to come by as we came up with only about a dozen Yellow-rumped and three Pine.

The sparrows that came in last week had departed, not to be replaced by a new batch.  A few more White-throated were in and dribs and drabs of other species.



By lunch time I had covered the park quite well, so there was no way that I was going home yet.  I headed over to Point Pelee to try my luck at recently-reported species.  The sun was out by now and we never got a drop of rain that was forecast all week for last night and this morning.  Par for the course again!

First stop was De Laurier.  I totally lucked out and found the Henslow's Sparrow.  I did not know it was still around and one could very easily walk by it.  Typical to its nature, it was working beneath the grasses.  I caught sight of some movement, then saw nothing at first.  I was just about to walk away thinking it was a mouse, but then I saw it.


It was there all the time but seldom seen as it crawled beneath the grass.  At one point it finally got up for a fine view as I got Dwayne Murphy and Sarah Renaud on the bird.



I next walked Tilden's Woods hoping for a Louisiana Waterthrush, but there was little to see.  Woodland Trail was the next bet and by the time I got most of the way around, I found a waterthrush beside the slough.  It came out for some pretty good photos.



I saw four species of butterflies today, including some Spring Azures on Woodland Trail.


Red Admirals were numerous.  I saw my first one last Sunday at Pelee.



The next couple of days should be good for birds coming in!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014